I've had an idea in my head since I was 10 or 11 about what a first "real" job, a first "grown up" job should look like. In my head, it would be all getting people coffee, making copies, watching other people make decisions, and, well, just kind of sitting there.
This summer I had the opportunity to do exactly the opposite of that (and I am both very aware of how rare that is and hugely grateful). I worked with people who challenged me to work on projects I would previously have viewed as outside my skill set, projects with which many people much older than me have likely not come into contact.
I was given the opportunity to work with lots of different areas of law, in a way that most people my age (mere high school graduates, as I was reminded time and again) simply have not. The best part is that I worked with people who challenged me and actively guided, encouraged, and supported me to help me do my best. I don't think I could say thank you enough times for something as incredible as that.
I learned a whole lot this summer, about myself, about working with others, and about my intended career path. I learned that I am actually really excited about work in the field, that it interests me, and that I can see myself working on briefs and research and contracts and a whole multitude of other things that not everyone would find interesting. That seems like a critical thing to know if I'm going to pursue law throughout my college career (it's kind of a lot of work for nothing, otherwise).
Another cool thing that I got the chance to learn a bit about, though, was corporate America. For instance...
Network outages may as well be the apocalypse. Nothing will happen and people will begin to panic. If they last for more than half an hour, people will begin to go home. There is nothing left for them at work, so they are forced to take what few belongings they have and run.
Whiteboards are king. I got one at the beginning of my second month, and it really did feel like I had finally joined a club of people who constantly notify others of their location (i.e. I felt quite special. If you get a chance to hang a whiteboard outside your door, even your bedroom door, I would recommend it).
Abbreviations are second in command, the queen of the office, if you will. I didn't master WFH or OOO for a while, and I won't spoil the surprise for any of you.
If there were to be a third in command in this strange corporate court I have created (the prince?) it would probably be food brought in by other people. Donuts, cookies, bagels, chocolate, jelly beans, even cucumbers, people love it. The lesson here is that bringing food brings friends.
All jokes aside, I could go on for hours about how awesome my experience was. I really enjoyed getting to know people and getting to know their career paths; it put my own into perspective. The experience I've gained has been invaluable, and the relationships I've built have taught and given me so much. Little 10-year-old me would be very surprised to discover that she's actually going to miss her first "grown up" job, and all the people she's spent so much time with these last two and a half months.