By: Sajni Saravanan
READ TIME: 4 MINUTES
A risk in my definition is taking an opportunity with high probabilities of an unfavorable outcome. From the executives to employees I’ve met through YEP KC, I’ve seen that they’ve taken some risks that haven’t paid off, but I’ve also seen risks that have. What I’ve learned is that you have to take those risks to get somewhere, whether they’re big or small.
I’m interning at Stackify (stackify.com) for my two sessions at YEP, a small but exceptional company of developers who create software to help other developers. Each internship at YEP is different, some are more active and will have you running around. Others will have you sorting 404 site links in an excel document at your desk. Mine was the latter, and it wasn’t until I went to the Alumni Panel at our weekly Friday meeting that I realized I would have to break out of my comfort zone, and the zone assigned to me, to ensure I made the most out of my internship. It all really picked up from there - here’s a quick list of risks I took in the following week that really paid off.
1. NOT FOLLOWING THE FLOW
“When given a choice between two opportunities, always take the one where you’ll learn and grow the most” - Craig Ferril, COO, Stackify
YEP KC Interns were given the amazing opportunity to tour Dimensional Innovations (if you haven’t heard of them check them out - they’re an innovative company on a mission you don’t want to miss). During our time in the engineering branch, we were briefly introduced to an engineer whose background was in industrial design. Industrial design being something I was interested in, I took a chance and asked to slip out of the tour to chat with the engineer. Here’s the great part about YEP: they want you to break and remake the system, so of course they granted me permission. I might have missed touring the rest of DI’s mechanical shop, but I gained an invaluable conversation, a contact, and insight into industrial design that I didn’t have before.
2. ASKING TO DO SOMETHING MORE (EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT SURE HOW TO DO IT)
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t try to please everyone else. Do what you feel is right/best and don’t let outside opinions stop or hinder you from taking risks” - Alex Doller, Account Manager, Stackify
Each intern at YEP wants to make the most of their internship. For me, that meant learning as much as I could and really making an impact on my company. While learning about SEO and fixing links on Stackify’s blog taught me a lot, I wanted to take it up a notch and do something more. The people at YEP KC really push you to stand out and be the best you can be, and at that point in time, I felt like I wasn’t living up to that expectation. I took a risk and mentioned I had experience in Illustrator and Photoshop. Soon enough I was asked to create feature images and banners for the blog. Considering I’ve never published an image and I didn’t understand the vast majority of the coding terminology in the blog, it ultimately paid off. I was able to contribute more meaningful work during my internship.
3. REACHING OUT
“Breaking the comfort zone” - Tony Tran, Developer Support Specialist, Stackify - in response to “What’s a risk you took that changed your life?”
I’ll be honest - feeling out how a workplace works and discovering how different it is from a regular school environment threw my balance. However, when I started reaching out to other people at Stackify and YEP, I found that I was surrounded by people who genuinely wanted me to succeed. When you initiate those conversations, it really shows that you, in turn, are willing to put in the effort to succeed as well. YEP alumni have taken this concept to the next level by keeping in touch with mentors who have helped them get jobs, contacts, and additional internships across the country.
These opportunities to grow yourself and take risks are part of why I’ve really enjoyed YEP KC. My advice is if you’re bored this summer, or want to plan ahead, take the risk and find an opportunity to challenge yourself.