“The tide has changed.”
Experiencing the Design Prodigy internship has changed the tide on so many levels that I realised I might not be floating along with the predictable ebb and flow of the sea, but rather struggling helplessly against a vortex.
And so, this will be a record of the ruminations that this clueless individual learning how to surf this whirlpool had.
Perhaps then you can decide for yourself: would you like to see how the tide has changed?
PART ONE: Self-Revelation
Being left alone with your thoughts can be both incredibly terrifying and liberating.
In my first week, multiple trucks came along that poured knowledge into the empty vessel that I was.
If you end up feeling the same way that I did, here’s a word of advice — don’t sink. Figure out exactly how to meld the different elements together, and while you will be equipped with some seemingly omnipotent tools, you will also realise that these tools are in no way the answer. The insights that you can gain from Google Analytics, Google AdWords, LSIGraph, Ubersuggest and so on are more confirmations rather than revelations.
The further I swam in the vast knowledge sea, the bluer the ocean became. I found myself in a space (Semantic SEO) that little knew how to navigate, and really, the ocean becomes what you make of it. It was in this wondrous state of confusion that I discovered how I was predisposed to find answers.
In my case, I found out that thinking in metaphors was my way of comprehending the role of smaller bits and pieces in the bigger picture. And sometimes, the answers are so simple and in-your-face that you wonder if you even hit the jackpot to begin with (but that’s okay, because you can always ask for confirmation!).
With a bit of soul-searching, and a bit of tenacity, you will find renewed faith in the concept of sense-making, and for sure, the tide will have changed.
PART TWO: Meeting Adversity in Diversity
As more interns trickled into Design Prodigy, so did the direction of the current. In university, I learnt about surface-level diversity and deep-level similarities in teams, and how conflict is great for progress. Yet, when you sit in a university seminar room surrounded by people of the same major that you spend the most time working with, the concept just seemed rather insignificant.
But suddenly, when your 9-to-6 consists of fundamentally different individuals who are all facing the same ridiculous problem, the situation becomes extremely apparent. After all, how can a first-year Business Administration major, second-year Physics major, and a working graphic designer possibly gel together immediately? Before we knew it, the waters started getting choppy.
Solutions that were originally derived from a technical viewpoint locked heads against a more human, intuitive perspective, and premises that were painstakingly etched out at the beginning could conveniently be forgotten due to the obsessive compulsion to complete small tasks no matter what.
Yet, the deep-level similarities — our innate desire to solve the problem, or our willingness to cooperate harmoniously — naturally overcame the surface-level diversity, and completed the storming stage.
We found ourselves adapting to each other, embracing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and gradually the tasks found their way to whoever was naturally more inclined towards completing it.
You can also witness the full potential of a sophisticated, curated diversity in the cutting-edge holacracy system that the full-time staff embody. Time will unravel the differences, and like loose threads in the grand scheme of things, you will come together to form a tight knot as the team reaches a common understanding.
PART THREE: The Valley of Death
Did I mention, that despite how wonderfully poetic it all sounds, it will be really painful?
There were days where I would climb up that narrow flight of stairs, crumple in my designated seat and stare helplessly at my group-mates: What now? The most difficult questions would be on the table (quite literally, scribbled onto a mahjong paper sheet), and they would feel beyond you, impossible to answer. Quite affectionately put, you will experience multiple “valleys of death”.
However, you will also have the most brilliant mentors who will guide your navigation out the valley instead of giving you the answers. You will leave with a renewed recognition of how universal problem-solving is, and realise how the hardest problems always tend to have the simplest solutions.
Take for instance how Design Prodigy gave themselves a really difficult question: How will they flourish in the next few years? And their simple answer: Man-machine partnership.
For us, we were asked: How can we ride the semantic wave? And our answer: Through better-quality structured data markup.
Whether or not this happens to be your first day at Design Prodigy (or if you’re still deciding whether to sign up), do come prepared to fight the current on multiple levels — it will be a battle with your mental capacity, a struggle to connect the dots, a journey of self-discovery — all carried out in the exhilarating context of digital marketing.
Learn more about the Design Prodigy internship programme here.