There are certain types of people you meet that could shape your life. After interning at Oak Ridge National Lab for a month, I have met people that have shaped my goals and perceptions of the world. During orientation, a speaker said, "You never know when just listening to someone talk about their job will change what you want to do with your life." Well, I'm going to talk about those "someones." Names are being left out, because some of these descriptions fit people of all sorts, not just the ones I work with.
1. The Quiet Guy
This guy. This guy is so dedicated to his work that it inspires you. You see him working away and cranking out results on a day-to-day basis. He's well respected, but lacks some social skills. He makes you think of a "Big Bang Theory" character, or the classic mad scientist that's absorbed in his work. However, little do people know, he may be involved in really cool things outside of work: he plays in a rock band with his friends, or drives race cars, or goes hiking a lot, or runs triathlons. Whatever it is, not many people know his favorite out-of-work activity because he mostly keeps to himself. To outsiders he may seem quite strange, but once you get to know him, he's a really cool person. He's very direct in speech, which may rub people the wrong way, unbeknownst to him.
This man is like the Sam Elliott or Clint Eastwood of scientists. He doesn't say much, but when he does speak, it's of profound importance or hilarious. This type of guy makes you want to get more involved in your work and his actions alone motivate you to keep going and to keep learning.
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2. The Techie
Boy, is this guy spread thin. He is usually working on multiple projects with multiple people at any given point. He provides answers to any question one may have, but responds with clarity and assurance that "it will all work out." Providing technical support for everyone in the office can get hectic, but he handles it well. He often times has trouble saying "no" when others ask things of him, which can be troublesome. He runs on caffeine and could practically take his daily dose of it from an IV drip rather than numerous cups of coffee. The best time to catch him is about ten minutes into a fresh cup when his neurons are firing and he's on top of things. This man is well-respected and loves to help others. It is rewarding to him when people learn from him. He understands when others are busy, simply because he is busy himself. He makes the best movie and pop culture references, and has a Tumblr-esque sense of humor.
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3. The Can't-Tie-His-Own-Shoes Genius (Awkward Intern)
This guy can launch a rocket but can barely tie his own shoes. The gaps in his knowledge are astounding, but where there are not gaps, there are peaks. He loves complex ideas and can spend hours on end trying to understand something most of us would give up on after a little confusion. He is respected by his peers and coworkers for his perseverance, although he may be a little awkward. He can always provide a fresh perspective, but can come off as socially inept. He most likely tells dad jokes and has a strange talent, but is really fun to be around. You know the awkward guy in the friend group that understands big ideas but when someone talks about social conventions or concepts, that's where things get fuzzy for him? This is that guy.
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4. The Mom Figure
This woman realizes that things can get tough when you're away from friends and family for the summer, so she goes out of her way to make sure you're taken care of and mentored. She most likely always offers her help in some form, and will invite you over to dinner because she knows the value of a home-cooked meal. This lady probably has her crap together more than you could ever dream of having yours together, but does so with ease and poise. She is looked up to by her coworkers and efficiently assists everyone with their tasks. She has Band-Aids when you cut your finger, guidance when you're confused, direction when you get off track and kindness to restore your faith in humanity. This woman makes the internship worthwhile and is the Wonder Woman of your summer internship/employment, which is why she is so highly valued.
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There are many more types of people that I have met while interning this summer, but so far, these are the ones who have stood out to me the most. These types of people are everywhere, not just in national laboratories. Have you met any of these individuals or ARE you one of these individuals?