Dear future Summer Camper,
The world of internship seeking is dark and full of terrors. In the midst of dodgy offers and denied applications, there lies a cloud of uncertainty. However, through perseverance, you made it: you managed to find the light and are now taking your first steps into the wondrous world of the Summer Camp.
Now, you may have a million questions racing through your head; don't worry: We've been exactly where you are now and we've felt the exact same you are now feeling. Feeling uncertain about what to expect from this experience is something normal to feel, but we're here to assure you that all your fears are in vain and that your hopes will be met a thousandfold.
Ten weeks seems like a lot of time; trust us, it won't be. Therefore, take as much as you can, whenever you can. In the end, you are responsible for your own experience, so remember to stay hungry for learning, and have fun doing it.
When we first got to the Universe we were pleased to meet a lot of joyful and available people. Meeting them and the way they all presented themselves, helped our overall experience since it made us feel way more relaxed and ready to do our job.
We thought we would only be coding or designing, but that was not the case, and we're thankful for that. First, we had to work towards the planning of the product since this whole experience is for us to understand every stage a product endures before reaching the client. Since this was intended to replicate a real customer experience, it was interesting to see the difference between university assignments and an actual company project. The professionalism, the teamwork, the different fields of work applied to the same project all conducted to a better product overall.
In your summer camp journey, you'll be joining other equally hard-working individuals like yourself. Not only that, but you'll also learn how to best coordinate with them to make your team much stronger than the sum of its parts.
As we started working at full steam, we were communicating at all times to make sure each of us was informed about the stage of the product and to also give inputs. This was our best quality, teamwork. No one was left behind (nor anyone slept on the job), leading to product success. This success was achieved after hours of product planning, user testing, designing a roadmap, retrospective sessions, and the development of the product.
People will be the essence of your experience, from the team members to the users and product owner, everything will be about them and that's awesome because your ultimate goal is to make someone's life better, be it with a product, a compliment, or even some advice.
"Yes, that's nice, but you know that's not the reason I've sought an internship.". We know, you want to get technical, the nitty-gritty, to improve at your craft. Between design sprints, developing roadmaps, and sessions about best practices, you'll find plenty of challenging opportunities for you to improve how good you are. Also, the summer camp mentors will always be there to help you stay on the right track during the course of the experience.
Now that you know what to expect, we'd like to share with you some of the most important lessons we've learned throughout our Summer Camp experiences and that we'd like for you to take in as well:
- Try doing something before worrying if you can actually do it. To be faced with something you have no idea how to tackle is part of the learning experience. Don't stress about it, take a deep breath and think objectively about it.
- Sometimes, working more is working less. Know when to stop. There will be times when it will be really hard to detach from work even after the workday has already come to an end. A pesky bug you've been after for the last 5 hours, or the stress of an approaching deadline, whatever the reason might be, let yourself rest. Not only will you be sharper and more precise the next day, but you also won't be risking your health.
- Imposter syndrome is as common as the people telling you you shouldn't worry about it. You'll find people who you'll look to and think "I'll never be as good as them". These people feel the same in respect to others, it's really a never-ending spiral. Spend less time comparing yourself with others and more improving yourself.
- Don't get too stuck-up with your ideas. Not everything can be implemented, know when to fight and when to back down. There's never one way of doing something, work together, communicate and listen to what your teammates say.
- Enjoy every moment you have in the Universe. Embrace the opportunity and make the best of it. Work hard, give 110%, make sure you have time to increase your network by getting to know the people, by joining outside work events, and random talks.
All in all, you'll find the summer camp an incredible experience to both grow up professionally as well as an individual, where you are surrounded by hard-working and inspiring people.
Best of luck,
Álvaro Bezerra, Gil Afonso, João Correia, João Santos