Intuit Internship Reflection, Northern California 
Silicon Valley Internship Experience 

It’s been an amazing experience interning in Mountain View this past summer. Thank you Intuit for providing such an incredible opportunity to work on the QuickBooks design team. I’ve learned so much from each and every single individual I’ve met, I’m grateful for how valued I felt working within my own experience design team, as well as many other additional teams across the QuickBooks small business group ecosystem.

From daily peer review critiques, presenting in front of the executive design team, attending early career team socials and meeting many other fellow interns from across the United States (some from Canada too!) — thank you for making my first design internship experience one to remember.

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“Powering Prosperity Around the World” – Intuit’s core mission, 8 core values pictured above: Be Bold, Be Passionate, Be Decisive, Learn Fast, Win Together, Deliver Awesome

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The QuickBooks online accountant experience design team that became my family over the summer.

From visual, interaction, content design mentorship to a better understanding of the importance of business needs and seeing things from a managerial lens through the weekly one on one talks with my manager — I’m incredibly thankful to have worked with such a talented and experienced team. (Not only was I able to get great design critique, but I appreciated the parenting advice I got for the future too!) You will all truly be missed, but this hopefully won’t be goodbye forever.

IMG_20170713_183646.jpgThe biggest takeaway out of this entire experience has honestly been to learn how to trust your gut, admittedly, I didn’t at first. Having been my first design internship experience I faced a great deal of the imposter syndrome. Never feeling good enough, taking a great deal of time to fully launch my portfolio website because it didn’t “feel ready”, avoiding applying to big company names feeling like it’d be a waste of time – I had so much hesitation in what direction I wanted to go in. But truthfully I’ve learned you’re never gonna feel ready, but you can trust along the way how much you’ll learn from at least trying.

I’m not the greatest student, I struggled a lot within my first year to the point where I almost felt I wasn’t going to get through a semester. Those feelings started to come back my third year and I felt a lot of intimidation towards applying to a few particular companies. I truly owe a lot to my good friends, mentors, designer coffee meet ups and video calls to keep me going – if it weren’t for these certain people motivating me and pushing me to not give up, I’m not sure where I would be. I can’t stress how important it is to surround yourself around the right people, break out of your comfort zone and have confidence in yourself.

Set some time aside to do what you genuinely enjoy learning, which might not always go exactly by the school books. From online TED talks, joining design meet up groups, attending hackathons, reading more, writing more, etc. – there are so many opportunities beyond school to explore. I value all these experiences that have led to meeting some incredibly passionate people and an openness to learning from new perspectives. I’ve seen growth in myself towards what I truly enjoy doing.

Being in California specifically this summer, has always been an absolute dream of mine since I was younger. I fell in love with the beautiful weather, took up more opportunities to road trip and hike on my weekends, attended design/tech events every week, but most importantly I enjoyed just being surrounded by such intelligent, driven, motivated individuals and continuously learning new things both work and non-work related.

I never thought I’d be working in the valley this summer, it’s been the most rewarding experience in my life so far – and I know this is just the beginning!

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Last Day, San Mateo County, California 
San Francisco International Airport

Flying back was so bittersweet. The four hour flight gave me a lot of time to reflect on just about everything. A mix of excitement to finally come back home and see my family, sadness having to say good byes to some amazing people but positivity towards what’s to come next.

IMG_20170823_174230.jpgIMG_20170823_175311.jpgAnd I love airports purely on the whole idea it represents – travel, adventure, new experiences, self discovery and connection. Everyone you see at an airport is on their way somewhere for some purpose – work, family, vacation, a one-way ticket to a completely new life.

IMG_20170823_180022.jpgAnd yes, I totally caught the travel bug this summer.

Last Minute Extended Stay, Berkley, California 
Visiting The University of California, Berkley

I was able to extend my trip by a couple days and check out a few more places. On the list was checking out the University of California, Berkley campus — where some new friends that I met were from!

IMG_20170820_211150.jpgIMG_20170820_190005.jpgMy friend Caroline, brought me to her sorority home, Kappa Alpha Theta just a few blocks over from campus and it was absolutely beautiful. Greek Life is a huge thing for universities all across the States, I love the sense of community it brings and though portrayed to an extreme sometimes in the movies, it was so much more welcoming in person.

 

Move Out Day, San Jose, California 
North Park Apartments

Today was my last official day at my corporate housing at the Laurels community in the Northpark apartments in North San Jose. I’m incredibly blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to work for Intuit this summer and have my living arrangements so well organized.

Living in California has always been a dream for me, getting a taste of it these past few months has made me realize so much about myself and goals I’d like to set for the future.

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Genuinely having moments this summer where I just couldn’t believe I was here

IMG_20170820_151630.jpgMy first few weeks, I attempted to wake up at five am to work out at the gym before work, which soon became a bit of a struggle because of the late weekend adventures and work schedule beginning to pick up. But I really try to aim to make time and go to the gym at least once a day for an hour ― maintaining a healthy work-life balance should always be a priority.

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I’ve also learned the importance of packing light for the future, it’s a pain having to play tetris with my belongings for a good two hours trying to fit everything together. Thankfully I met such great friends to help me with the move out!

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I am going to miss the San Jose sun and the picture perfect spots around the bay with the perfect lighting. But I’m excited to get back to Canada to catch up with my family, friends and the breezy fall weather.

I’ve learned most importantly to never forget where you came from and what shaped you to be who you are today, but also always keep an open mind to exploring new places and learning new things.

Weekend Adventure, San Francisco, California 
San Francisco Japantown

San Francisco Japantown > San Francisco Chinatown — though I could be a little biased since I’ve visited Japantown almost every other weekend I was here this summer. So much to do within this little district that takes up about six blocks.

Really good go to for —
• Variety of Asian food options (Sushi, Ramen, Udon, Korean BBQ, Teppanyaki, Boba, etc.)
• Small random shops for souvenirs, trinkets, etc.
• Karaoke
• Notebooks, stationary and writing supplies

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Bridge that crosses Geary Boulevard at Webster Street to get safely across to Japantown

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Ramen Yamadaya for really filling bowls of ramen, has a really nice seating area upstairs. Other places to consider checking out Beque BBQ Grill (KBBQ), Udon Mugizo (Udon).

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My favourite “private” version of twin peaks spot

Weekend Adventure, Sausalito, California 
Exploring Sausalito for the Day

Battery Spencer is the prime postcard photo spot that overlooks the North side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Cross the bridge and head to the beginning of the Marin Headlands.

• Parking can be a bit tricky here, but it’s free!
• There’s a main lot at the base that takes a short ten minute hike to Battery Spencer
• Watch out for the incoming bikers coming from the bridge
• Gets pretty windy regardless of the temperature so bring a jacket

IMG_20170819_155817.jpgWe must’ve spent a good hour or so taking photos at this spot! There’s plenty of room and multiple angles to take great shots. We went on a prime Saturday afternoon but there wasn’t an excessive crowd of people to block the view.

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Venturing a little further we headed towards Kirby Cove which was about a forty five minute to an hour hike or so from Battery Spencer.

Totally worth the journey and time to take in the scenic views of the San Francisco skyline (multiple photo stop opportunities) and overlook of the cove from an elevated angle.

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Making it down to the cove — we went on a fairly cloudy day but still found it just as beautiful to be by the water with an amazing view of the bridge. It felt like our own private beach as it wasn’t crowded at all.

There are designated camping grounds by this beach area, perfect mini getaway if you need to get out of the city for a weekend.

IMG_20170819_175936.jpgIMG_20170819_175535.jpgThere are so many things about California aside from palm trees and In and Out burgers. I’ve grown such an appreciation for unplugging for the day and going on hiking adventures on my weekends. Going to miss Northern California so much — but don’t worry, I’ll be back!

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Photoshoot photos will be in a separate post since there’s so many! 

Photos taken with Nexus 6P (Landscape shots), Canon Rebel T3i (Me with my friend’s Nikon)

Day Three: Exploring San Diego, San Diego, California 
Exploring La Jolla, UCSD Campus, Downtown SD

Day three of exploring San Diego with no serious itinerary, but three things I really wanted to check off my list ―

  1. Carne Asada Fries ― San Diego is well known for authentic Mexican cuisine
  2. Really nice views ― For that perfect Instagram shot of course
  3. UCSD ― For a little taste of what college is like in the US

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Vallarta Express carne asada fries are my absolute weakness ― guacamole, sour cream, carne asada, cheese and french fries. This place is also open twenty four hours a day, incredible! I totally recommend going here on an empty stomach and not additionally ordering a California burrito (guacamole, sour cream, carne asada, cheese and french fries rolled together in a burrito tortilla)

We were totally stuffed to the core after the meal and headed to La Jolla Shores a short drive away to walk it all off.

IMG_20170806_140349.jpgThe La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed spots of San Diego and definitely one of the top spots to visit. There were many different pathways to get down to the beach to visit the sea lions and seals.

I learned that the biggest difference between telling sea lions and seals apart are that sea lions are LOUD, they vocalize and bark often while seals are quiet and rarely make sounds. There are many along the cove and they don’t seem to mind people, just don’t touch them!

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Could easily spend the entire day in La Jolla, just being by the Pacific Ocean waters is so relaxing. We spent a good portion of our day here but really wanted to make the most of San Diego within the few days so we then headed towards University of San Diego turf.

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Met some royalty on the college stomping grounds, UCSD’s King Triton ― a 750 pound bronze statue right in the heart of campus.

Visiting state schools are always so interesting to me because it feels so different from Canadian schools. From the amazing architecture of the buildings to the campus life vibe.

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We ended the day with one last view of the city, the beautiful skyline of San Diego’s Downtown Gaslamp District from Altitude Sky Lounge. Twenty-two stories high overlooking the city and a great view of Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play.