We’re officially in July! The weather has been all over the place lately, but everyone is assuring me the true Seattle summer is just about to begin. I’m excited because the snow on many hikes and mountains (like Mt. Rainier) will slowly melt in July, allowing me to finally trek up for some magnificent views. The days will be longer than ever and I’m looking forward to 13–14 hours of sun everyday. It took a while to get used to light shining through my blinds at 5:30 AM and looking outside at the sun setting around 9:30 PM, but I’d rather have sunny days than gloomy ones. I need light outside to remain motivated and happy; otherwise, grey, rainy days have me bundled up in a blanket watching movies. July is also the month of events galore at Microsoft. We have the One Week Hackathon, Satya’s Intern Q&A, the Intern Puzzle Day/Game, and the Signature Event to look forward to! #hype

The view from Gas Works Park at around 9 PM.

In terms of work progress, this last week has been responding and fixing all the comments on my pull request. It’s a little frustrating because every time I believe I’m done, one of my reviewers gives additional feedback. It’s for the best, however — after all, checked-in code should be perfect because it goes into production. Fingers-crossed I can complete my pull request and merge my changes this week.

This week didn’t have one or two huge events. Rather, there was a little activity every day. On Monday, we had the first wave of the Intern Business Group Networking Night. It was a great opportunity to expose myself to other teams at Microsoft. Even though I’ve been networking and getting coffee with people from different teams already, the networking night was a good way to formally introduce myself.

On Tuesday, to get ready for volunteering at the upcoming Special Olympics hosted in Seattle, I attended a training session where I got my badge and uniform. Later that evening, Brian — the campus recruiter for Rice — hosted an alumni networking night. I got to meet current interns as well as alumni while decorating cupcakes. On Wednesday evening, I briefly stopped-by another Intern Spotlight Series event with Marcus Fontoura, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft. He had researched at various companies like Yahoo and Google, before coming to Microsoft to work on Bing.

Fontoura’s lecture was extremely technical and most of it went over my head, but I thought it was cool that Steve Ballmer had personally called to convince him to accept Microsoft’s offer.
Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, called Fontoura to convince him to accept Microsoft’s offer.

On Thursday, I attended a ‘lunch and learn’ with Arthur Yasinski, a Principle PM Manager on C+E APEX International. This lunch meeting was part of a brown bag series with executives around Microsoft. Yasinski was extremely engaging in his conversation with us and left us with a few takeaways.

  • Vacation days are meant to be taken. Yasinski tries to track how many vacation days are left at the end of the year across the teams he oversees because he believes it’s an important health metric.
  • Be transparent. At Microsoft, our internal review system is called the Connect and is basically a conversation about your goals and progress with your manager. Even as a Principle PM Manager, Yasinski publishes his own Connect for anyone to see. This means all feedback and comments about him are public knowledge.
  • The ability to learn is as important as what you learn. So, don’t worry too much about super intricate details and remember the big picture. If you can get good at learning and picking up new skills, you’re set for anything.
Arthur Yasinski, a Principle PM Manager on APEX International, and interns!

On Thursday evening, I went on an Argosy cruise with other Microsoft interns. We sailed around Lake Washington for about 2 hours and even passed by the houses of many rich and famous residents of Seattle, including Bill Gates! It was an otherwise gloomy day but the calmness of the water more than made up for the grey sky.

The highlight of the evening was meeting with Guillermo and Diego, of the Dream Makers song fame (Diego sang the vocals and Guillermo produced the music). Diego heads Microsoft Global University Recruiting at Microsoft and Guillermo is his close friend from Argentina, also working at Microsoft. They are both collectively writing a book called ‘From Job to Dream Job,’ talking about their personal experiences integrating their creative passions with their everyday jobs. It was truly a pleasure talking to them about their work. When I told Diego I blogged about my experiences this summer, he said we had to take a picture!

Me, Microsoft interns, Diego, and Guillermo on a cruise on Lake Washington!

After the cruise, I watched ‘Twisted Flicks’ by Jet City Improv with Jarrod, Ellie, Edward, Neha, and her roommates — Mary, Sneha, and Karen. We didn’t realize the show wasn’t typical improv with actors performing on stage. Instead, ‘Twisted Flicks’ consisted of a live dubbing of a movie. Our night, we watched RoboCop 3, which has a stunning score of 3% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Watching ‘Twisted Flicks’ at Jet City Improv with friends.

On Friday, my team went out for Indian food at lunchtime. I talked to Salah about his experiences before becoming a PM at Microsoft and got to know the rest of the team too. We discussed everything from cricket to startups to TV shows!

Indian food with most of the team.

Later that evening, Jarrod, Edward, and I went over to Patrick’s house for a small party. There were a lot of ExtraHop interns there so I got to socialize with them over some Costco pizza. Most of the ExtraHop interns this year are from Rice so it was basically a gathering of Owls in Seattle.

A personality picture of me, Ellie, Patrick, and Edward.

Saturday was a relatively lazy day. We woke up and got some fresh wood-fired bagels and honey walnut cream cheese. Then, in the afternoon, Neha and I went to watch the Sounders vs. Timbers game.

I’m conflicted on supporting the Dynamo or Sounders now.

Our seats (thanks to Microsoft) were amazing and we arrived to watch the second half, with the score level at 0:0. We were sitting right behind the Sounders’ goalkeeper and saw 3 Timbers goals a few meters from us. The second half was action packed and we got to witness a total of 5 goals, after which the final score was Timbers 3 Sounders 2.

At my first live soccer game ever!

On Sunday, I had an early start to volunteer for the Special Olympics. I had signed-up to be a general volunteer, but started off at the cheer line, giving high fives to incoming athletes. Each sponsor company had a booth outside the stadium, so I got some swag, photo-booth pictures, a customized Coke can with my name, and even a mango-pineapple smoothie I had blended by pedaling a bike.

The actual opening ceremony was super lit. I was one of 200 or so interns tasked with rushing the stage when Marshmello performed his hit song Friends.

Rushing the stage for Marshmello’s performance of ‘Friends.’

There were many speakers including some WWE superstars, Satya Nadella, politicians, and athletes. After a performance by American Idol 2018 winner, Maddie Poppe, Charlie Puth came to stage to end the ceremony. Overall, the Special Olympics was such an amazing experience and one of my most fun Sundays in Seattle yet.

This last week has been almost an event every day and the weekend was excitement and filled with life. Here’s to more sunny days and activity!