And so I wrap up my very last day interning at the Aerospace Corporation. I had to say goodbye to all the graduate students, post-doctoral workers, and managers I had developed such strong bonds with over the past 3 weeks. I don’t want to say I was a sopping mess at the end of it all, but if I were the type to wear mascara, it would have been running at the end of today. I brought donuts to sweeten the blow and thank everyone for allowing me to shadow them in lab, but realized that since Dr. Harmon is on an RDO (Regular Day Off, meaning she doesn’t come in every other Friday) and Geena is part time and thus only arrives on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I couldn’t bring in donuts on just one day because I would then miss the opportunity to thank one of them. Thus, much to everyone in my office’s dismay, I brought in donuts on Thursday AND Friday. Problem Solved. Donuts seemed fitting after all, since Joe left me with an interesting proverb to send off the day: Materials Science is the different between bread, a tortilla, and a donut. It’s not what each is made of that differs, but rather the process to make them all.
Sweet-talk aside, I must say I really, REALLY enjoyed my time at Aerospace. In the labs, in the office, in the cafeteria, everywhere. In school, if us students happen to not like a particular subject, we are often told to just “tough it” and grind out the work for a class, regardless of what we think of it. Well, at Aerospace, I was given something more valuable than any amount of currency or security clearance: a glimpse of the end. With a job, there is no more “toughing it out” until the next phase. You’re there. You get to do what you’re there to do. Solve problems, innovate and invent. Whatever awaits at the end of the tunnel serves as the basis of what you will be doing for the rest of your career, should you choose not to switch. Me? I’m just glad that this tunnel ends with something I enjoy, should I choose to travel down it.