Written by Sage Corps Summer 2018 fellow, Vivian Kiniga.
One of the fellows on our Austin, Texas pilot program this summer, Vivian, an Information Science major and a Business minor from Cornell University, shares her experience as an intern in the Lone Star State:
"I live in an apartment in a student housing center that is right by the University of Texas, Austin campus. I have two roommates, one who goes to UT and one who just graduated from UT. While at the apartment I spend most of my time cooking, swimming or going to the gym. I really love going to the pool especially when it hits 100F, and I really love how the pool and the gym are literally seconds from my apartment. My house is conveniently located next to grocery stores and places to eat and shop and most importantly (and coincidentally) next to my cohort mates’ houses. I spend most of my time at my cohort mates’ houses either playing FIFA, chilling and just conversing or hot tubbing. We’ve also been to most of the restaurants near my house to just try out the different options available - one of my favorite places so far is Torchy’s Tacos that serves great fried avocado tacos."
"My commute is relatively chill. My work place, Capital Factory, is a 10-15 min drive from my apartment. I start work at 9:30am, and I carpool with 4 of the other cohort mates who also live by West Campus and work at Capital Factory. The commute is usually such a fun ride full of rants of how we need coffee, what we did the previous night, or simply how the music playing sucks/is amazing."
"I work in downtown Austin, in Capital Factory as mentioned before. Capital Factory is a co-working space for startups to work. It has amazing amenities such as a fully stocked kitchen, VR Lab, cold brew and beer on tap, mentoring services and an onsite gym. We mostly work either on the 5th floor or the 16th floor. The 5th floor is Star Wars themed while the 16th floor is music themed and has an amazing view of Austin downtown area."
"I work for two startups. JuiceBox Hero and Kinn Home. JuiceBox Hero's main goal is to help parents find the right childcare by providing a web app for the parents to help make the search experience as customized and least overwhelming as possible. Kinn Home on the other hand, aims to help people find and cultivate meaningful moments through thoughtful, well-designed and creative tableware essentials. They do this by creating an emotional buying experience that is customer centered and that helps people choose tableware appropriate for them and for their homes. For both startups I work as User Experience (UX) intern and help with user research and wire-framing.
We start every day by debriefing on what needs to be done and what the deliverables for the day are. We then end the day by discussing how far we got through the assigned tasks and what challenges we experienced while trying to achieve our goals."
"I get off work at around 5pm. I don't have a set routine after work. I sometimes head home, go to the gym, do some work and then sleep or head to a networking event. Most of the time I meet the other cohort mates and we either go for dinner or do fun activities like paddle boarding, grocery shopping together or just play board games in the apartment."
"My favorite event has been a networking event aimed at critiquing LinkedIn profiles that helped us better our own profiles. It was so cool because it was so interactive and we got a chance to look and critique real LinkedIn profiles, 2 of which belonged to two of my cohort mates. Our city managers are great. They are very understanding and easy to talk to."
"I do so much over the weekend. I have friends who live in Austin and I sometimes meet them over the weekend and just do fun activities like going for brunch, going swimming or going hiking. I spend most of my weekends with my other cohort mates. We used to watch the World Cup together a lot and we get food in different restaurants. We have a ‘ATX Bucket List’ that we came up with and we always try and tick off stuff from the list. So far we have paddle boarded, gone for a Music Concert, gone to a famous local ice-cream place (Amy’s) and so many other things. The farthest I have been from Austin is one hour away to a town known as San Marcos. We floated through downtown San Marcos on the San Marcos river."
What Surprised You Most?
"What surprised me the most was how amazing my cohort mates are. The main reason why I have been able to enjoy Austin as much as I have is because of the cohort mates, who are now my friends. They have been amazing. They are all so unique in their own way and have made my experience in Austin very wholesome.
I was also surprised by my employers. They have been so supportive and go out their way to ensure I am learning and enjoying my internship.
The locals and my friends who live here have also been so hospitable and made this whole experience worth while and full of learning opportunities."
"Time goes by so fast. So enjoy while you can, network while you can and go outside of you comfort zone and meet as many people as you can and learn from them. Almost every conversation is a learning experience, so strive to have as many conversations as you can."