Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's the last day of the internship, and I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on both the summer as a whole, and this week in particular.

Since I did not finish the prototype, I was working on, so I do feel a sense of failure.

On the other hand, this project has also been referred to as a "proof of concept."  A "proof of concept," to me, indicates that the project demonstrates that an idea or a direction are feasible, and do-able in a finite amount of time.  By that metric, my project succeeded.  I am certain that a knowledgeable person could have a true prototype, starting from what I've done, in a matter of two or three weeks, possibly less.

The more difficult part of this internship, has been this past week.  I hosed the boot record on my OS, after my mentors were in Seattle. This happened because I was tired, felt I should work another five minutes, and did something incredibly dumb.

I was able to retrieve the data, but did not know the easiest way to restore the system.  I settled on reinstalling,  Because I was rushing to get back to where I had been before the dumb move, I made a series of equally dumb mistakes, sent panicked emails to my mentors (they have my sympathy), and
accomplished nothing.  By the time I fixed the dumb mistakes, I had realized that my second disk, which I needed to create guests, was also hosed. 

There are many things I could have done to try to fix this, but I looked at the amount of time that was
left, and knew that once I was done, I wouldn't have any time to move the project forward.  So I
settled on documenting what I had done, and where I was heading.  In the process of writing the document, I learned the answers to all my panicked questions of last week.  (I had kept good notes, I just forgot that I'd even known certain things.)

An aside to all women reading this:  no matter how good your memory is, you will experience times in your life when it doesn't work the way you're used to.  Pregnancy, menopause, aging, as well as injuries all affect it.  Don't rely on it.  Learn other ways of keeping track of things.  At some point you'll need those skills. 

There is another way of measuring the success of this internship.  How much did I learn.  By that metric, last week was a phenomenal experience.  Everything I had done by rote, the first time, is now something I understand, with a level of depth. 

I don't see myself as a panicky person.  Last week I panicked.  One of the wonderful things about being human, and adding years to my life, is that I/we learn to compensate for weaknesses.  This experience gave me insight into a frailty I didn't know I had, and one that is relatively easy to deal with. I feel bad that my mentors. who deserve medals for their patience, were on the receiving end of some of it.  However, I'm confident that I'll be able to recognize it next time, and take evasive action, within myself.

Thanks to all for this program. 

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