Summer 2011: In Retrospect

Wow, what an official-sounding title. Actually, just wanted to share my thoughts on the past summer, because I’m tired of telling people the same thing over and over again.

Well, maybe not. Why? Because I had one of the most enjoyable, relaxing summers that I’ve ever experienced. I just think it’s always good to put thoughts into words and share some parts of it with you guys.

This past summer, I stayed at Berkeley and interned in San Francisco. I worked full time (8 hours a day, 40 hours a week), so I didn’t take any summer classes. I basically worked the entire day, and chilled at Berk in the evening.

The company I interned for was called OpenDNS. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details of what they do, but they basically provided web security, infrastructure, and content filtering in an easy-to-set-up package, for both home users and businesses and schools.

I was the marketing intern, and instead of typical consumer-side marketing we all picture when we say marketing, I worked under my manager on business-to-business marketing.

To give you an idea of what it was like, this sort of marketing involved a lot of search engine optimization (tweaking key words and other parts of our website so we’d show higher in Google search results), starting Google AdWords campaigns (those text link ads you see on the side bar), and checking up on Google Analytics (which gives you site stat info, such as visits, popular pages, etc.).

It was definitely an eye-opening experience, and I can see this sort of online marketing as the marketing of the future – you’re actually able to see the direct results of your marketing efforts, which is impossible with traditional advertisements (think TV ads).

So a lot of interesting and relevant stuff. But what set my internship experience apart was the work environment. It was nothing like I’d experienced before. I got to see the inner workings of a successful company, sit in on the meetings, figure out the structure, and even joke around with the CEO.

Since OpenDNS was a tech firm, they placed a special emphasis on worker happiness. The kitchen was almost always fully-stocked with food and drinks, the people were friendly, and you didn’t have to clock in or out. Yet in this laid-back environment, everyone still got their work done, which impressed me and proved that there are different ways to managing a successful company.

The best part of working in San Francisco was exploring the city. I worked near the AT&T Park, so I got really familiar with the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood of SF. My manager was a big foodie, so we went out to try new (and delicious places) for lunch pretty frequently. Plus, I met up with friends who worked in the area for lunch. The possibilities were endless.

Since I didn’t have summer school, I was able to relax after work. I’d typically eat dinner at Berkeley, take an hour-long nap after dinner, play two hours of basketball at the RSF, then do some work/update my blog/surf the Internet.

This summer was also one of the most active summers I’ve had since high school. Although I bused to work, I still brought my bike since my workplace was a mile-and-a-half away from the bus station in SF. So I ended up biking a total of 5 miles a day, in addition to the two hours of basketball I played almost every night.

I also got to meet new friends, whom I met mostly through busing to work, campus fellowship groups, or playing basketball. Mostly through basketball though, since I played around the same time every night, when the same people would be playing, too.

All in all, this past summer was one of the most interesting, fun, and relaxing summers that I’ve had. It really allowed me to recharge, and I was able to learn and experience new things as well. I realize I may never experience a summer like this one again, which makes me treasure this one that much more. But I’m still very optimistic about the future, and I’m looking forward to whatever is in store for me in the coming summers!

It’s summer, summer, gotta get down at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.

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