Summer Summary – The Internship

I only have one more week in NOLA! The time has flown by and every moment was important to the whole summer experience. I’ve learned a lot of things in many different areas of my life – career, relationships, culture, food, music, yoga, etc. Its definitely been a thrilling roller coaster and I will look back on this summer with many fond memories. Writing has been sparse because I haven’t had time to really solidify my thoughts on a particular subject. Its been go go go ever since I returned from my fourth of July celebration in Colorado. I bought some sushi from the Fresh Market today and the box said “not all sushi made equal”… I’m confused as to why you would say that on the box. It must have been a very interesting consumer complaint or something!

In terms of work, I had my final presentation on Tuesday. All the interns presented at the same time and it was great to see how everyone’s projects turned out. We all did a fantastic job and contributed really important work to refinery operations. Some of our projects have already been implemented! That’s the best part of the job – seeing the work you do actually get used. For this last week, I’ve been refining (no pun intended) my code for my projects and writing up documentation to pass along. Just a brief overview of my two main projects… I worked on tank alarm operating envelopes and conducted an assessment on fired equipment (heaters, boilers, etc.). Everyone was a joy to work with and really treated you as an integral part of the system. Wonderful internship experience overall!

One of the biggest realizations I had while working was the importance of asking very specific questions. Even though people have been working somewhere for a long time, you can’t expect them to know what you are talking about. Formulate your questions to get exactly the information you need. Ultimately, you are the expert of your project because no one else has looked into the problem before. If you don’t know what questions to ask, have a conversation with people in that area to gain a deeper understanding of what the fundamental problem is. I jumped into my tank alarm project not truly understanding the fundamental cause of the issue. There were all these issues that were stemming from something bigger. It took a few weeks to figure out that the problem was with the operating envelopes and then everything started to make a lot more sense.

I’ll break up all of my summer learnings into a few different posts so they don’t get too long! Stay tuned.