My second week at Microsoft consisted of more growing-pains and getting acquainted with the code-base. I downloaded programs I would need for the summer and set-up different environments for both production and testing. During the downtimes of installation, I began watching all the required training videos discussing topics from ethics to privacy. While going through the new employee onboarding document, I slowly completed three assignments: the first had me step-through a file to understand the message flow when an encrypted mail was sent from one mailbox to another, the second had me change the subject of the email in the code, and the third was a bug check-in assigned to me by my mentor. Once we were more familiar with the existing code, message-flow, and procedure for code check-ins and code-reviews, we were ready for the first step in our project. The Explorer internship is roughly divided into 4 weeks of program management (PM) and 8 weeks of software-development (SWE). So, we met with our PM mentor, Salah, and discussed the HEART framework developed by Google. He explained to us the different metrics we need to think-about when developing our dashboard and we brainstormed some ideas. We then formalized our spec and presented our work to the entire team and relevant stake-holders. Though we were far from done, the spec would serve as an initial plan for development.
The week was also filled with fun activities. On Tuesday, I joined around 110 other interns at a completely booked-out showing of Deadpool 2. The movie was in typical Deadpool fashion and the humor was right up my alley. The highlight of the night was when every intern stayed for the credits and secret scene. I now have no doubt in my mind I picked the right internship.
On Wednesday, I joined my podmate, Cameron, and some of her UVA friends and other Microsoft interns at Alki Beach. We walked in the sand and it was so refreshing to hear the ocean. A few of us had dinner at a Mexican restaurant along the boardwalk and then we all stayed for the sunset. When it finally got dark outside (the days here are so long and it becomes dark after 8 PM), we drove up to a hill and marveled at the Seattle sky-line brightly lit-up across the water.
On Thursday, we had our inaugural Intern Game Night! In Café 34, which was thankfully right next to my building, there were hundreds of boxes of pizza and even more board games. I didn’t end up committing to a board game and instead just walked around meeting new people. Patrick and Ellie, both rising juniors at Rice, interning at ExtraHop, crashed the event and played some highly intricate card game with Jarrod and some other interns. The entire Rice squad then got dinner together at an Indian restaurant in Redmond. Then, after a productive end to the week, on Friday, my pod went to Golden Gardens (our pod-name) and took a picture together.
To continue our streak of weekend adventures, David, Jarrod, Edward, and I filled-up a full tank of gas and headed to Vancouver for the long Memorial Day weekend. We left on Saturday and it took around 2 hours to get to the border and then even longer to cross. We had grossly underestimated the amount of people leaving the U.S. for the weekend, even as early as 10 AM, so we were stuck in standstill traffic for more than 2 hours.
Vancouver deserves its own blog post because we did so much in such little time – but I’ll try my best to summarize everything here.
We finally arrived in the city around 1:30 PM and looked for lunch options. After devouring sushi, we visited Stanley Park and walked on some trails before encountering Canadian geese. We continued walking past a beach until we reached the Inukshuk monument. A little pressed for time, as street parking was capped at a maximum of 2 hours, we quickly stopped for some Rain & Shine food truck ice-cream before navigating to Surrey, where our Airbnb was located.
Our hosts were the sweetest couple and made sure we were well-taken care-of and had everything we needed. I promptly called dibs on the room with a private bathroom and balcony and collapsed on the bed. I reached out to other Microsoft interns in Vancouver and heard about a nightclub everyone was planning to hit-up. It turned out if you got on the event list online before 10 PM and showed-up to the club between 10:30 – 11:00 PM, cover was free. We planned to check-out the night-scene later that night. At the club, we saw many familiar Microsoft intern faces and we all danced and had a good time. After dropping-off some interns to their guesthouse, we were all in bed by 1 AM.
On Sunday, we woke up to a staple English/American breakfast our hosts had kindly laid out for us, complete with eggs, milk, bread, and bacon. After eating and packing sandwiches, we made our way to Grouse Mountain for the first activity of the day. It took a grueling few hours of a 45-50 degrees incline the entire way-up to reach the top of the mountain. The view was beautiful and we had a nice picnic before taking the gondola down.
By the time we had reached the bottom and started driving, it was mid-afternoon. We snaked around the Sea to Sky Highway for about 30 minutes before heading back to Vancouver proper, only to be met by a traffic-jam on the bridge. If anything has been constant this summer thus far, it has been the absurd number of cars on the roads. We finally made it to to Granville Island in the late afternoon.
Granville Island has a huge farmer/public market where you can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to fancy maple syrups and meats and flowers and handmade gifts. We each walked around and chose some snacks for a late lunch. I had a hot-dog, Edward got some clam chowder, David ate a Reuben sandwich, and Jarrod tried some bacon, cheese, and bread. The sky was super clear and there was a light breeze. Other than annoying seagulls yelling at the top of their lungs, it was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
We ended our Sunday by checking the night views from Olympic Village. We first chilled at the Craft Beer Market and Jarrod and Edward tried out some of the local beers (drinking age in Canada is 19!), while I just made faces and enjoyed my water. For the first time, we were all level with Jarrod, who at 21 could already drink back in the States. After the Craft Beer Market closed, we got a very late dinner at Tap & Barrel.
You would think the night was dying down at this point, but no - our car got towed. That in itself was an adventure. We walked to the towing-place, which was luckily open 24 hours and retrieved our car. Despite being extra careful, we had misjudged the sign saying no parking from 8 AM - 8 PM and assumed any time not in that interval was fine. We were clearly mistaken. We finally made-it back home around 1:30 AM and passed-out.
The next morning, after breakfast, we said goodbye to our hosts (who even gave us a 5-star review on Airbnb) and were on our way back to Seattle, as David had to make a flight in the evening and we weren't sure of the traffic situation at the border. It ended-up only taking 20 minutes to cross so we were back in only 3 hours. We all unpacked and got together for Game 7 of the Warriors vs. Rockets scheduled to air at 6 PM. Jarrod made some guacamole, Edward made some virgin-mojitos, and I made cheesy bacon-jalapeño fries. The food was the highlight of the game because it was a devastating loss and honestly why did the Rockets miss 27 or so threes in a row, or even take that many if the shots weren't going in? Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.
This week has been filled with so many adventures and I am looking forward to continuing this attitude of getting out and about!