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Nancy starts her summer software engineering internship with URBN.

Learning to Voice Challenges

And just like that, the month of June is over and my fourth week at URBN is complete. On the weekends I have spent my time exploring new neighborhoods and trying new restaurants. Having grown up only an hour away from Philadelphia, I can’t believe I have never given much time to explore this amazing city.

This past week, I began my intern project which consisted of building out a component library that includes all of the colors, fonts, icons, buttons, and list styles that will later be used to piece together a website. To do this, I referred to the design specifications and then showcased each style on a webpage which helped me to visualize my project’s future state.

Don’t Take it Personally

I have been learning an immense amount, however, I have also had some challenges. To preface, I admit that I have been putting too much pressure on myself to be the best I can and to get the most out of this internship.

After I complete a new style component, I commit and push my code to GitHub, then my manager reviews my pull request and comments on the work I’ve submitted. Based on my manager’s feedback I then have to make corrections or rethink how I’ve coded something before I can merge.

While reviewing the feedback and fixing my mistakes, I began to feel defeated. It is definitely easier said than done to run into errors and issues that I don’t know how to solve. However, the best solution for this is to troubleshoot, ask for help and vocalize personal struggles.

Asking for help is also worthwhile because it has helped to improve my technical communication. Questions should be thoughtful and clear.

How to Ask For Help

Spending hours on a task trying to come up with a solution before finally admitting you need help is torturous and unproductive.

Ask for help sooner rather than later.

Before I ask for help I make sure that I troubleshoot or research the issue on my own. Asking for help can be difficult and it is easy to feel incompetent or bothersome when doing so. Although, sometimes a Google search just doesn’t cut it and asking an experienced professional is necessary to get unstuck.

Asking for help is also worthwhile because it has helped to improve my technical communication. Whether I am asking my manager or someone on my team, I want to be understood. Therefore, questions should be thoughtful and clear, which makes me pause and think for a moment before I continue.

Voicing Challenges

Every Tuesday I have a ‘touch base’ chat with my manager where I inform her with announcements or updates. More importantly, it is a chance to discuss and be open with how my internship is going.

My manager recommended that I share a rose, bud, and thorn of my past week, which has proved to be a great starting point for conversation. This past Tuesday I had a very open and honest discussion and I think it was a turning point for me to overcome my challenges at work. When I told her I was feeling defeated, she told me not to take the feedback personally, the feedback is meant for the code.

Going forward instead of striving for perfection and succumbing to the pressure, I will allow myself to take a breath and take a break. Giving myself a break by taking a walk or grabbing a snack helps me to refocus and lets the creative problem-solving goodness recharge.

Nancy Hart

Nancy Hart

Nancy Hart '20 is a student at the School of Information Studies, studying Information Management & Technology with a minor in Marketing. At Syracuse, I am a Technology Consultant at Information Technology Services and a peer advisor in the iSchool.

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