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MIT blogger Joonho K. '20

work // life by Joonho K. '20

trying to figure out the balance

my first day goes roughly how i imagined it would go: all the new interns wait for someone to pick us up and take us to a welcome and orientation meeting in a conference room somewhere. we watch a prerecorded video clip of godaddy’s CEO sincerely welcoming us. then a real person goes through the company’s core values, the company mission, the several offices established around the world, the sales increases over the years, office policies, and other fun topics.

our ‘managers’ eventually pick us up, which in my case is my mentor, since my team’s manager works in cambridge. my mentor, steven, shows me to my desk and helps me set up my computer. setting up a dev environment for software development can be tricky: it seems like i have to install or clone01 in the git sense something new every day. steven introduces me to the rest of the team, which includes alex, an intern starting together with me who goes to MIT and took 6.UAT with me last semester. we02 around six of us go out for lunch, and we the interns get treated to ramen and boba03 steven tells me that almost all boba places use powdered milk and not real milk, which broke my heart a little . then it’s back to the office, and i have a 1-on-1 with steven and he gives me my first small task. steven explains one of the services that our team owns and controls, but it’s too complex and i can’t really understand it the first time, so i ask steven to explain it again and he slows down and explains it a lot better and i understand the high-level overview this time. steven babysits me for an hour, but i finally make my first pull request04 a request to make a code contribution to the main codebase before the end of the day.

getting a pr out day one felt pretty good, and i thanked last summer’s internship for that. it’s been two weeks now, and i’ve been contributing pretty consistently. i did a demo of a feature i added for the first time ever, something i never thought i would do in week one. i still ask steven at least 20 questions a day but i can feel myself being more competent than last year and having improved and that feels good. i have a defined set of goals i made with steven. the work building is by the lake, and every day after lunch i walk out to the docks and look around and it’s beautiful.

everything seems to be great: i’m learning a lot from the internship, there’s good pay, the lake is wonderful, seattle is great, the commute is an easy 15 minute walk, there’s free lunch, drinks, and snacks. i should be happy most of the time.


the routine is monotony: there’s little time to explore during the weekdays, and life seems to just be get up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, repeat.

joanna and i video called last wednesday, and we talked about our future and long distance and it was so unfair and what if it would always be this way. what if i graduate and end up somewhere else? the future was unclear. she cried. i cried. we both loved each other, but we knew long distance was too much. for us to be happier long-term, paradoxically, we needed to be friends. and so we broke up.

it’s been a sad week.

i think of what it must feel like when garnet unfuses to ruby and sapphire in steven universe, how they were a complete, fully connected whole and now they were separated, lost, having forgotten the feeling of being without the other. it’s kind of how i feel. it’s a slow process to feel okay again. 05 i need to rewatch the ruby rider episode.

this weekend, i went hiking with a group, climbing on rocks and taking pictures of waterfalls. i went to pike place with other interns and we had good chowder, ice cream, coffee, and burgers in pike place and first avenue and capitol hill. we went to amazon go06 which is insanely cool and you should go , and i bought some mike’s hard. we went to cal andersen park and sat down together on the grass on the hill and shared the mike’s and someone brought out the speaker and i queued AJR and we looked at cute dogs chase tennis balls and talked till sundown. it was a good weekend. i felt happy being comfortable around new people who grew up in different places on earth, walking from memory to memory, making new friends. maybe things will be okay.

  1. in the git sense back to text
  2. around six of us back to text
  3. steven tells me that almost all boba places use powdered milk and not real milk, which broke my heart a little back to text
  4. a request to make a code contribution to the main codebase back to text
  5. i need to rewatch the ruby rider episode. back to text
  6. which is insanely cool and you should go back to text