Originally posted on Medium (www.medium.com)
Written by Krithika Vijayakumar
May 09, 2018 • 6 min read
During my internship, I wrote three articles for the company blog, but this seems to be the hardest one yet. Attempting to sum up three months of experience in one go feels quite daunting. But, at the end of it, I get to reminisce it all and truly acknowledge that it’s an internship which truly helped me become the person I am today.
As I began my internship journey, like most graduate interns my mindset was to learn some basic skills and gain a bit of experience. But during my tenure at Solarify, I was able to do a lot more. I discovered my true self, developed the ability to think out-of-the-box, experiment with the unknown, and learnt to adapt. I owe this to the work culture at the company — people work really hard and enjoy the work they do, and that’s not something we hear too often, even today, right?
I was all set to apply my engineering undergrad learnings to the real world. The reality, on the other hand, was quite different. ~ Don’t make that face. Well, face it, it’s the truth. ~ I had always believed that my foundational knowledge was strong, so I realised that I lacked the necessary skills set to act on that knowledge. My mentor at Solarify, Apoorva, went the extra mile to ensure that my basics were up to speed before introducing me to the technical aspects and design of a solar rooftop system. It’s a human tendency to take the path of least resistance. But trust me, and I couldn’t emphasise this more — get your basics right.
At work, I was always challenged to push my boundaries, to think outside-the-box and be systematic at the same time. Every single day I learnt something new and took back something positive.
It was a process, but once I was equipped with the fundamentals, it was time for me to build on it. The internship gave me an opportunity to learn design software that solar engineers use to optimise the solution for their client. AutoCAD, SketchUp Pro, and PVsyst were among the key platforms I got introduced to.
I was habituated to feeling very vulnerable when it came to asking for help or questions. This was a barrier when it came to getting things done. The entire team enabled me to gain a fresh perspective and I discovered different ways of solving the same problem. All this happened throughout the Monday morning sit-down meetings and everyday events at work. It taught me that teamwork, collaboration, and brainstorming can solve any problem at hand. This helped me come out of my shell and have better conversations with the people around me.
I am an introvert by nature. So, when it comes to talking in front of a lot of people, I get quite uneasy and I would find the smallest reason to avoid dealing with all that stress. One of the most valuable learnings I have had is realising the importance of communication, not just with my team but also the world around me.
In less than two weeks after joining Solarify, I was at Jain University for a competition, where I was invited under the pretext of it being a regular-attendee-type-scenario event. We had to pitch in our business idea (and yes, I was screaming my guts out).
Was I confident enough? No.
Did I doubt myself a million times? Hell yes.
Did I go ahead and do the presentation anyway? Fortunately, yes.
Just before the presentation, my colleague Aravind said, “In life, you will have to do a lot of talking whether you like it or not. You can either avoid the stressful situation now or you can accept and learn to face it. You should use the opportunity now or you might have to run from it your whole life.”
This, despite being a tough pill to swallow, changed my perception of public speaking for good. I somehow got through the presentation, and I was ecstatic when I found out we were placed second. Ever since I have made a conscious effort to get out of my comfort zone. It’s never easy, but I am slowly getting better at it. Baby steps y’all.
During the core segment of my internship, I interacted with clients ranging from individual house owners to apartments’ resident welfare association members. While doing so, I understood the real essence of empathy, stepping into their shoes to understand their requirement, and providing them with a solution that matched was technically and financially aligned. Working with different members of the team in solving different problems for different clients and projects broadened my perspective of customer service.
My roles were dynamic and diverse. The scope of my internship included load analysis of structures, solar energy system design, architectural drawings, shadow analysis for rooftop solar. I also gained valuable insights in aspects such as innovation, operations, marketing, sales, and social media.
If you are reading this and encouraged me by reading my other articles as well, I hope I added value to your time.
While working with Solarify, I got to observe the industry trends first hand and I learned so much about the emerging technology in the world through casual conversations with team members and friends, including discussions on big-picture questions like — Why we should take the big leap to go green?
It made me differentiate between stuff I’m not interested in from those that I’m actually passionate about. Whether it’s your first job or plan of pursuing a masters degree, an internship before that would definitely help you decide what’s best for you.
As an intern at Solarify, I wasn’t treated differently than any other team member and I was fully involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. This gave me a sense of ownership and motivated me to want to work harder to the company’s goals. It felt great to be part of an actual team. I am grateful to my colleagues for giving me an amazing learning experience.
After Solarify, I have taken up a project trainee role at National Institute of Wind Energy at Chennai. I’m working with a team on research and development in wind energy technology.
This is Krithika from Solarify, signing off!
Are you interested in CleanTech? Are you looking for an internship? This might be the calling you were looking for. Apply with us.
Originally posted on our Medium profile • May 8, 2018