A Kameo Appearance

Just a third culture kid's musings on Baltimore, Biomedical Engineering, burgers, and everything in between. *Disclaimer: Not everything discussed within these blogs begins with the letter B.

Category: Advice

How to Land an Internship

I’ve been slacking in my blog posts this summer, I know, and I apologize for that. Time has been funny lately, with days turning into weeks int he blink of an eye. All of a sudden, I’m a little over a month away from going back to Hopkins, but summer feels like it just started.

Nevertheless, this is a post I’ve been meaning to make for a while, and hopefully one that will come in handy to all the people reading it that may be in a similar position. For the last seven weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to work as an intern at a medical device company about ten minutes from my house. Hopefully, my next post will elaborate more on the nitty gritty of the work, but today I want to focus on something equally as important: how to get an internship.

Internships are incredibly elusive. Sure, the idea of sending in a resume and landing a job sounds easy; really, it’s anything but.

There’s no magic three step solution to landing an internship; in all honesty, a lot of it comes down to being plain lucky. However, there are a few sure fire ways you can increase your chances.

1. Know how to sell yourself.
Having the abilities and the grades is only half the battle when it comes to getting an internship. Everyone applying probably has good grades and something marketable. You need to be able to market yourself in a way that makes you an asset to the company you intend to work for. At the end of the day, the company will likely be doing you a service more so than they will be doing for themselves in the short term, but being able to sell yourself as an investment that will pay off in the long run will invariably get you a seat at their table.

2. Do your research.
Treat applying for an internship the same way you would studying for an exam. Research the companies you apply to. Figure out projects or devices that interest you and elaborate on those when applying. Show the person reading your application that you’re not just mass applying by copy-pasting, but that you legitimately took time out to apply and are interested in what the company has to offer.

3. Don’t be afraid to cold call and email.
This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give. Research emails of people at the companies you want to intern for and email them. It’s important to maintain professional etiquette and stick to a “one email per company” policy until you receive a reply. Another thing I did was actually call the numbers listed on the company websites and ask if the receptionist could direct me to someone regarding internship opportunities. Combining step 1 and step 2 here, you have a solid chance of getting real results.

4. Don’t get discouraged.
At the end of the day, internships are elusive. Some people won’t email you back, others will say they have no internship opportunities available at this time. Don’t let this stop you from moving forward. It took me nearly all of the school year to find an internship, and even then I didn’t have it secured until the week before finals ended. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward. If you put these steps into practice, you’ll be ahead of the pack.

The Morning Routine

Some people are morning people. They can get up early, get a head start on their day, and be genuinely happy about it.

I am not a morning person. Mornings and I are like Garfield and Mondays. Now even though I hate mornings, I do have a morning routine that I’ve managed to get down to a tee. This routine maximizes sleep while minimizing work to get to class on time. My first class on most days is at 10 AM. Here’s how the hours leading up to that go:

7:45 AM: Set an alarm to wake me up.

Now hold on, hear me out. We can all agree that the best sleep is the turning off the alarm and going back to sleep sleep, right? Well, I’ve figured out that if I set an alarm at 7:45, it’ll wake me up late enough that I could theoretically get up and get started on my day. Instead, I shut that guy off and get to fall blissfully back into sleep in the comfort of my bed for another hour and a half. Such as a satisfying feeling, trust me.

9:00: Set my first alarm to actually get me up.

I’m also one of those people that needs like 8 alarms to get out of bed, so I’m just going to fast forward through 9:05, 9:15, 9:20: 9:25, and 9:30.

9:35: Shut off the seventh alarm and look at the note on it that says “Get up now or you won’t get to class.” and actually drag myself out of bed. I generally tend to scan the room for what clothes are easily accessible and base my wardrobe on that.

9:40: At this point I need to hit the routine on clockwork otherwise I will be late to class. By 9:40 I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth and cleaning my face up.

9:45: I can’t tell you how much time I’ve lost figuring out if my shoes will match with the rest of my clothes. So let’s toss 3 minutes to that.

9:48: Be dressed and frantically struggling to get out of the room by 9:50.

9:49: Toss all my stuff into my backpack, grab my earphones, and spend 10 seconds figuring out what song I want to listen to.

9:49:10: Head to the door but check the rule of three* before leaving.

9:50: Out the door and headed to the elevator, convinced beyond a doubt that this is the day I’m going to be late to class.

9:58: Make it to class, grab a seat, and get ready for lecture to start.

Repeat this for 14 weeks, and that’s my semester!

*Wallet, keys, phone. I’m 99% sure all guys do this by tapping their three pockets and making sure the appropriate object is there.

Dear Prospective Student

Dear Prospective Student

I’m not going to lie to you: my brain feels a little like mush right now. It’s the first day of Thanksgiving break and I just finished a round of 3 midterms (and a quiz) this morning. You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this or what the purpose of this little letter is. As a member of Hopkins Interactive (HI), we’re told from day one that HI is designed to give you, the prospective student, a real insight into the world of a Hopkins student. Whether it be fun activities, classes, grades, majors, or whatever, we strive to make these posts so you can read them and paint an imaginary picture of the world at Hopkins and in Baltimore. Today I want to touch on the topic of exhaustion, because I don’t think it’s discussed nearly enough on here – and it is an ever-present part of life, not exclusively at Hopkins, but any college anywhere.

This exhaustion is by no means a bad thing – honestly, I feel incredibly accomplished after making it through a round of exams or a pile of work and into the weekend (or, in this case, Thanksgiving break). What is important is for you to realize and understand that it exists. There will be days or weeks that utterly drain you, and if there aren’t, then that’s probably a good sign of needing to re-evaluate the amount of work being put in. Believe me, I’ve been there. There will be times you’ll get back to your room, collapse on your bed, and sleep for longer than you’ve ever slept. There will be times that you’ll spend multiple days, weeks even, either in the library or in class and nowhere else* (if you’re like me, you’ll be in the Brody Reading Room). It’s both humbling and difficult. The difficulty though, is the kind that you push through to reap the rewards, because every time they’re absolutely worth it.

*I’d like to add a disclaimer that I’m taking a heavy course load this semester, and that this level of studying is by no means a (very) regular occurrence for other people.

I wanted to take a second to tell you this, because just as all the fun, friends, clubs, and independence is a fundamental part of college life, so are the exhaustion, work, and long nights of reading your textbook.

I’m out. Be back in a week.

Kamran

The Five Stages of Preparing for Two Midterms

Last semester, I wrote a blog post entitled “The Five Stages of Preparing for a Midterm”, where I outlined my process for studying in the days leading up to a singular midterm. I left a little disclaimer at the end that said multiple midterms are an issue for another day.

Today is that day.

I like stay optimistic.

Optimism when the semester started.

More accurately, October 7 was that day. I had a Linear Algebra midterm at 9:30 in the morning followed by a Molecules and Cells midterm at 10:50. Let me tell you – the week leading up to that day was probably one of my most stressful at Hopkins so far. I managed to pull through the day though, and now’s the part where I get to sit in my post-midterms bliss and tell you all about it.

Stage 0: The Beginning of the Semester

While this stage doesn’t occur during the week before the midterms, it is important because it’s during the week following syllabus week. Picture this: you’re planning out your exam schedule, and as you note down dates, you look at your calendar and realize that on October 7, you have two back-to-back midterms.

What do you do?

Sit down and wallow for a bit? Cry profusely? Try and accept the fact that this is a reality? Move on? Dread the day until it arrives?

Answer: all of the above

btf

Optimism quickly rushing away.

Stage 1: Friday, September 30th

Here we are: the Friday before. Seven days until October 7. These midterms are close enough to be a pressing concern. Professors are announcing them during lecture and informing you of material that will be tested. The reality that you’d been hiding away has finally peeked back around. It’s the weekend, but we both know you’re not going to be doing anything but working. Looks like it’s time to start sleeping in the library.

Maggie Smith always knows.

Maggie Smith always knows.

Stage 2: Sunday, October 2nd

The weekend is over and Friday is only five days away. Friday and Saturday were hardly spent doing anything relaxing; instead, they were spent in Brody frantically switching between your two courses’ material, trying to ingest as much information as possible. Forget trying to sleep tonight.

sleep

Stage 3: Wednesday, October 5th

The middle of the week. Everyone around you is preparing for their first round of midterms too, but only a select few are in the same boat as you. You envy everyone who has the luxury of preparing for one midterm at a time. Your friends sympathize, but they don’t really understand your struggle. Coffee? You’ve already had too much, but one more cup can’t hurt, right? Keep going, keep going. Don’t panic.

Look at the clock: how did it get to be 2 AM already?

I'm not the only one seeing this, right?

I’m not the only one seeing this, right?

Stage 4: Thursday, October 6th

You may have had an hour or two of free time the past couple of days. Not today. From morning until night, all that time is going to be spent taking practice tests, reading the textbook, and feeling as if you’ve forgotten the first course’s material as you study for the second. Get to sleep early today. You’ve done all you can, and it’s been an incredibly long day.

Sorry, but that feeling sticks with you until after the midterms.

Sorry, but this feeling sticks with you until after the midterms.

Stage 5: Friday, October 7th

Wake up an hour early and shut off the 17 backup alarms you’ve set. Wash your face, brush your teeth, throw on your midterm sweatpants, and mentally prep for the next two hours of your life. Two hours. That’s it. That’s all you’ve got to get through. Hopefully you’ve studied enough, and these midterms will be a total breeze.

Like I said, a total breeze.

Like I said, a total breeze.

And finally, once you’re done, sleep – sleep for as long as humanly possible. Then sleep for a few more hours. And take some Advil for that stress-induced cold you’ve inevitably come down with over the course of the week.

 

Now What?

It’s been 365 days…plus or minus 4 weeks, since my first blog. That means it’s been entire year since I got to Johns Hopkins – I’m a quarter of the way through college and officially a sophomore, which is absolutely insane. With all this in mind, I figured I’d take a second out of my day to break down what that means, and share with you all the wisdom of a man who’s made it through a full year at college.

1. First and foremost, I’m not wise.

It’s funny, you know. Coming into Hopkins, I remember everyone who welcomed me and all the first-year mentors (FYMs )I knew were sophomores; and as a freshman coming in during O-week knowing nobody, I looked to them as the end all be all of advice. To me, these were people who knew Hopkins inside and out, and had their lives completely figured out.

Wrong.

The truth? As a sophomore now, I feel like I know less than I did last year, and so does everyone I talk to. Sure, I’m taking more advanced classes, but it’s true what they say: the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. It’s humbling, but terrifying at the same time.

It’s times like these advice like this is necessary:

giphy

2. I’ve learned. A lot.

In only a year, I’ve managed to get involved in activities I enjoy, help launch a start up company, win business plan competitions, get a research position, and get most of my prerequisite classes out of the way (not to say I did it without a bump in the road here or there). It’s astonishing, really. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about the opportunity that Hopkins as a school provides, but there’s no good way to articulate it until you’re actually here and in the middle of it all. Everything is there. All you have to do is reach for it.

giphy-2

3. Without a doubt, this is all going to be over before I know it.

Ever since I got here, I’ve been trying to work on an explanation as to why time moves so much faster in college. What feels like a week ago was really a month ago, and when looking forward to things so far in the future on my calendar, I blink and all of a sudden they’re here. I don’t know why this is the way it is, but I think it’s a bit of a double edged sword: on one hand, I don’t have nearly as much time as I think I do, but on another, everything worth looking forward to feels like it’s hardly a moment away.

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