Is it intimidating to intern in FAANG when you went to a public school and everyone else went to prestigious schools like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford? Yes, especially for me because I was the student who copied everyone’s homework assignments and organized study groups just to ask the smart kids questions about a million things I didn’t understand. I couldn’t rely on anyone during this internship because whether or not I receive a full-time offer at the end of the summer depended on what I could achieve alone.
I was expected to build a complete web application from scratch, something I’d never done before. I didn’t have my mentor, who taught me everything about maintaining an existing code base, to hold my hand. I felt royally screwed just a few weeks into the internship after all the excitement and novelty of being in FAANG died down. It was my first time living in CA and I was set up in a sweet apartment with other FAANG interns and I got ahead of myself thinking of all the fun activities I’d be getting into that summer…
Regrettably, I signed myself up for way too much that summer. On top of my internship, I was still the sole developer for my University’s website so I had to work after hours. Not only that, I signed up for a discrete math online course because I was behind on my requirements and didn’t want to take that class during the semester because I heard it was way too hard. So eventually I found myself bringing all my sleeping gear to the office so I could save time from the commute.
Not to call people out here but I also shared a room and bathroom with another intern who didn’t have the cleanliest of habits. I preferred the sterile environment of the company gym showers. The food on campus was better than I could cook at home too.
I would wake up at 8am before anyone got into the office, go to the gym to work out and shower, and start working around 9:30am after breakfast. During the day I would ask as many questions as possible to confirm requirements and iterate on the implementation. After most full-time employees left, I remember interns sticking it out as late as they could to prove they could put in the most hours. As if those who arrived the earliest and stayed the latest deserved to be there.
Once everyone left I’d get to work for my University, pushing bug fixes and features my boss would ask for - pretty straightforward simple asks. Once I’d closed the tickets for the day I’d get to studying right around 7pm and doing the assignments for discrete math. By 9pm I was finally ready to put in more hours into learning as much as I could to complete my intern project. It was a lot of watching tutorials on full stack web development. I would usually go to bed around 1am because office cleaning would peak around 11pm-12am when they would be cleaning the bathrooms and vaccuuming.
I eventually learned the night time cleaning schedule so I could avoid pooping while the cleaner was working in the restrooms. It was even more embarrassing because the cleaner was kind of cute, and she managed to always catch me coming out of the bathroom. None of my coworkers ever found out that I was sleeping in the office. In hind sight I’m not sure if there was anything I could’ve done to work smarter. I definitely worked really hard and I have to say it paid off because I got the offer :)