My Never-Ending Internship

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With my internship at UnifyID coming to an end, it’s a great time to look back and reflect. While it didn’t go according to plan, I don’t think it could have worked out any better.

My internship started February 2020 at UnifyID’s office in Redwood City, CA. I still remember my first day — meeting the team, setting up my desk, gawking at all of the free snacks and drinks. The first few days set a great precedent; from the get-go, I was treated as a valued and contributing member of the team. I was invited and expected to dive straight into the code and start working on features. Awesome! My first big undertaking was improving our PushAuth API written in Go. In so many ways I was in over my head, but I was learning quicker than I ever had before and was loving it.

It wasn’t long, though, before COVID came and turned everything upside down. Due to shelter-in-place orders we all had to start working from home. Within the span of one day my morning commute went from biking to the office to walking to the other side of my Airbnb room. Certainly not what I had planned for, but not all bad. Thanks to Morgan and her car, I was able to bring home all the gear I needed. UnifyID was very understanding as we adjusted to working from home and after a short amount of time we were all back up to full speed.

Although it seemed impossible at first, a new normal arose. I was still learning as much as ever while I helped to build our developer dashboard written in React. Outside of work, I became fast friends with my Airbnb host and every week looked forward to a quarantine special — yoga with Yuliia.

In a normal year, this would be the end of my internship story. I had planned to continue on to a new internship at Microsoft in the summer. However, I was given the opportunity to defer this internship, so I did. I really liked the team at UnifyID and the work I was doing and didn’t want to leave.

Eventually, it was time for me to leave California and go home to Canada. Three bizarre plane rides later, I was back home. However, Canadian law required that I strictly quarantine myself for two weeks. I wound up living in the family trailer in our backyard. To make sure that I had a good internet connection for work, my family ended up stringing 100 feet of ethernet cable through the house and backyard to wire me in. It was quite the tripping hazard. Despite working from a different country, I continued to grow closer to the team and improve my skills.

At the end of the summer it was time for me to go back to school. I definitely thought this was going to be the end of my internship story… but it wasn’t. Apparently, I just couldn’t kick the UnifyID bug. They offered for me to continue working part time with them and I accepted. Working part time over two school semesters certainly had its challenges. But, it was so rewarding. I got to work on all sorts of cool projects, which, among many others, included building a sample mobile app for one of our SDKs and writing an associated blog post.

Now, more than one year later, it is the end of my internship story. Looking back, it’s funny how the entire experience ended up working out. Thank you to Kelly and Mike for their excellent guidance and for putting up with my million and one questions. Thank you to Alan and Morgan for being there every step of the way with me and pushing all of my changes to prod. Thank you to Connie for helping to organize and administer my internship. Thanks to the rest of the team for all the other ways you made my internship great. UnifyID was a fascinating place to work with amazing people, and I’m grateful for my never-ending internship.

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