This post was written by Luke Brom, one of our EduSource Apprentices and a student at Taylor University. On days when he’s not creating computer software, he entertains the possibility of hunting crocodiles.
If you read the title, I know what you’re thinking: this is a post about aliens. You’re probably excited about it. Honestly, I kind of wish this was a post about aliens, too. I actually tried very hard to tie aliens into this blog post (and it would’ve been epic) but it just wasn’t written in the stars…see what I did there? It also probably wouldn’t have gone over well with the people upstairs, or more accurately, the people five feet away from me (our office is small). I really don’t want to disappoint them by making my first EduSource blog post at my first EduSource Apprenticeship have nothing to do with EduSource. Besides, as fun as it would have been to write about aliens for the first time, I think this little diatribe gave me an even better idea.
I have experienced a lot of “firsts” working at EduSource this summer. It’s my first time living in a city with a population over six thousand, my first time signing a lease for an apartment, my first time working as a programmer, and my first time not having anyone buy my groceries for me (seriously, I really miss that). Thinking about all these firsts is making me nostalgic about my experience so far. So, for your reading pleasure, here are a few of my most memorable firsts since I came to EduSource.
I remember the first time I met my boss, Jason Beutler. He’s a tall dude and kind of intimidating (until you get to know him). He’s the kind of guy who walks into a room and you immediately know that he is in charge… except I didn’t immediately know. When I saw him for the first time I offered a sweaty hand for him to shake and asked him the first question that popped into my head: “how long have you worked at EduSource?”
The room went silent for a split second before Jason smiled and said “actually I own this company.”
Oops. Maybe next time I should find out more about the company I want to work at so badly. At least the first time meeting my team leader went better. I met Trick on the first day of the apprenticeship during some team building exercises. We played a tower-building game where I was only allowed to communicate with hand motions to Trick, who then had to tell Johnny and Tim what type of tower to build. Trick and I communicated really well, despite having never met before, and our team completely nailed it (we beat every team, every time). I had a fun time getting to know Trick and my other teammates that day and the only common factor between that and meeting Jason was the sweaty hands (it’s summer, don’t judge).
This apprenticeship also landed me in a meeting for the first time. I just recently had to spend my first whole morning in meetings (seriously, a whole morning, just gone), so I have a rather jaded opinion of them. I would say that meetings can be, well, platitudinous, but that’s just because you have to cover the nitty gritty of the whole day. Really, despite the platitude, the nitty gritty is what I have ultimately learned to appreciate about meetings. It has helped me to understand more about how business works. Speaking of which, this summer was also the first time I’ve been exposed to the inner workings of business. Jason once talked for over an hour about a lot of business jargon that went mostly over my head, and while I do not pretend to understand everything, it definitely made me appreciate the complexity that goes into making the proverbial wheels go ‘round.
Since this is a technical apprenticeship, it would be a crime not to recount some of my first encounters with technology. At the very moment that I am writing this post, I just finished trying to use Angular Translate for the first time. Let’s just say that it hasn’t been going quite as planned. Speaking of Angular, I spent my first week of the apprenticeship watching tutorial videos about Angular. The particular videos I watched had an opening theme song that was equal parts catchy and repugnant. The tutorial itself was fine: I would liken it to trying to become a crocodile hunter by visiting the zoo. When you see a crocodile in the zoo, you think it is super cool and you could definitely handle it (Editor’s note: Whether anyone but Luke thinks this when at the zoo is up for debate). But then, when you actually see a crocodile in the wild, you don’t really know what to do—seeing it in the zoo doesn’t qualify you to become a crocodile hunter. This analogy is scarily analogous to the first time I tried to use Angular after doing the tutorial.
Do you know what does qualify you to be a crocodile hunter? Many years of study and practice. In a tech company like EduSource, that really applies to everything. Since you can’t be an expert in everything (no one has that many years to dedicate to crocodiles after all), first encounters are going to be a common thing. The field of technology is constantly expanding and changing—you may have first encounters every day. That’s why it is good to learn how to handle first encounters well.
EduSource has been really good at teaching me how to deal with first encounters. Not only do they foster a culture where first encounters can be easy and painless, but they also seek out first encounters for all of us so that we always have opportunities to learn and grow. We have a tech forum every week where we talk about new technology we have encountered and subsequently learned, we encounter new things at EduSource University every Friday, and almost every day someone posts an interesting article about some new technology on our Slack channel. Plus, people are constantly asking and answering questions about all sorts of things.
I think that is why this post has been so nostalgic for me: every encounter this summer, whether it has initially gone well or not, has both taught me new things and has ended up having an overall positive impact on me.
There are so many other things I am encountering for the first time every day, and I am learning because of them. None of that would have happened without first encounters. So here’s to being a lifelong learner, and to a summer full of first encounters of almost every kind… roll credits.