Engineering and Technology · University · Work

Summer Knight of Intern

Alluding to the title, I had been quaffing down pints of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files enough to be drunk for months. Fifteen Books in less than two months of exam, holiday and internship. Man, I had not read such good books for what it seemed like ages. After Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, which was more frustrating in the end then satisfying, and after Morgan Rice’s epic saga on Thorgrin that never seem to end, Dresden Files were soul bless.

I supposed there was the Winter Knight of Intern, but Summer Break’s in the summer, unless it’s a Winter Break, or if Malaysia had a difference in Summer or Winter at all. Neh.

It was with much reluctance that I gave my decaying blog a little sideways glance. I ought to say something about my first internship experience. Talking about stuffs is the entire point of this blog. It’s going to be categorised under what I call engineering in Nottingham and Malaysia, on the path to a pain-in-the-ass 4 year MEng in E&E Engineering. It wasn’t that I didn’t find internship helpful, but since it’s Malaysia, there’s more to internship than meets the eye.

There’s a report to type. There’s a presentation to prepare. A log book to attach. A visiting lecturer to meet. A passing mark of a mere 40 but still as daunting. It isn’t the University requirement. It came under one BEM and next academic year I still have a workshop on Epic Engineering Ethics to attend, which was a new requirement. Who knew what ideas BEM will be coming up with in another few years. Throwing in a test on Bahasa Melayu, perhaps? It could happen, you know, now that the government had already put forth a motion to make International Students study Bahasa Melayu and Tamadun Islam, if I was not mistaken.

Internship had been nearly too amazing – more than what I had initially expected. Today was the end of my third week now. I learn new things everyday, and I can admit that I like the work. It’s a small company so everyone was multitasking and all. Learnt Autocad and now wonders why I had never used Autocad. I could be drawing out how big the rooms are in my story to scale. I could draw the entire plan out and it would be an exemplary writing reference. The perfect union of engineering and literature. I know I’m going nuts.

Yeah, work was kind of ridiculously impossible at times. The solutions to some of the problems were even more ridiculously impossible, something you don’t encounter with exams or same projects that had been done by your seniors for ten years. Some of my work was on drawing out in Autocad to see if the terminal blocks and other electrical stuffs such as the wiring and MCBs could be fitted into the enclosure. They often don’t, and even after some changes made to cut down on the trunking and other ideas the senior seniors could come out with, out of half of those often don’t’s never will.

I couldn’t have pulled it off. I just managed to draw everything into scale and accuracy, to be honest, like a pre-programmed robot. The ingenious ideas came from my bosses. They were amazing. Just when you think these little blocks could never be fitted into that damned enclosure, suddenly he made a tweak and about fifteen sets of terminal blocks can be fitted into an EXTRA column of rail that seemed to come from nowhere. I’m probably babbling right now.

The point is, what seemed impossible suddenly became possible I sometimes had trouble accepting the reality. Me, I don’t think I had the aptitude with enclosure arrangement, at least at this point of time. There’s still too much to be learnt. I preferred troubleshooting in the form of programming. Codes. Something you couldn’t grasp with your solid hands. But all in all, I enjoyed the work. Maybe that’s how some peoples managed to work past retirement age.

I know it was the company and the boss/managers/mentors/supervisors that made the difference, so it made me feel a little guilty to learn and work for them for 12 weeks and “flee” for study.  Not all companies give an intern proper work, you know. Sometimes when you are an intern you are just there for decoration with the flower pots and happy mugs, or stuffs that have nothing to do with electrical or electronic engineering. I mean, I wouldn’t complain for a photocopy work or two. It’s standard office work. Everyone’s got to know that, but I didn’t think an engineering internship would involve only doing that for the entire summer break.

Still, I didn’t like work because it wasn’t called work for nothing. I might like what I do in work, but being called internship, job, work, whatever it was that has a boss and pays (an allowance, however, in the case for internship) I didn’t like it. No amount of pay, work benefits and casual dress code could have changed that.

Compare work with study. It’s a weekday basis combustion of your day from 9am to 6pm (could have been worse, like, 8am to 6pm), trying to abide by the worldwide accorded good attitude of working by not doing stuffs you shouldn’t be with the company Internet connection, keeping away from company politics you think exists, and be totally defeated and spent for anything productive after shower and dinner at night.

Studying? Well you can skip lectures, play your smartphone in tutorials and lecturers don’t really care shit cos’ you are the one paying the tuition fees, duh. Classes are also not always 9am to 6pm. Sometimes it’s just a two hour lecture on Wednesday and no lectures for Friday. You can choose to slack or sleep whenever you damn well please without worse consequences than a frown from the typical lecturer. You can be assured that while by no means the possibility of student politics do not exist, they can never be worse than nasty company politics. Of course, what do I know about politics but from hearsay? All I know was to watch out for it. I’m still too naive to really not heed that advice.

So there’s really no competition. You might have exams and lecturers as a student, but we all know that’s why studentship is the lesser of two evils. Who knows, by the end of this internship you might note that my writing style changed in tone by that specific half phrase. That’s when, I suppose, work changed me. I didn’t want that to happen, but no matter how much I want to, I couldn’t stay a child forever, can I?




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