After more than two months of summer, I have now reached the end of my internship at Johnson Controls (JCI). Looking back, I fully realize the reasons why an internship is often recommended for college students, which is enlightening because I have heard of all the experiences my friends have in their respective internships but have never really internalized the benefits they spoke about until I experienced an internship myself.
In summary, I have three main takeaways from my internship at JCI:
First, it is mind-opening to understand the need for more efficient and green buildings today, especially as the effects of climate change are starting to heighten to their full (frightening) potential. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), buildings account for almost 40 percent of US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. With this knowledge, in addition to knowing that there is an urgent need for aggressive measures in order to reach our climate goals, climate change mitigation strategies must take into consideration the carbon emissions contributed by buildings; any holistic strategy must also be able to propose improvements to existing buildings in order to make them more sustainable and green. As someone who has never been exposed to the work being done in this area of green and sustainable buildings, it is interesting to learn that improvements (regardless of how small or big) done to the places we live, work, and play in can have large impacts on the environment we interact with.
Second, thinking about how to improve buildings to become greener while thinking about the needs of those who live in those buildings may prove to be challenging, at times. Although it is true that this is not a pattern that you see in every case, it is true that sometimes it takes effort to converge the interests of the customer with sustainable goals. For some, it is considered to be costly for building retrofits/improvements to be made, may that be monetary, labor, or cost in terms of time. Therefore, the question of which to prioritize -- customer needs or sustainability goals -- will arise from time to time. There are definitely solutions that satisfy these two needs, but this question is something that must be addressed today, especially if larger changes need to be made in a building. In some cases, government policies, incentives, and rebates will help in improving customer needs while contributing to efforts in climate change mitigation; thus, understanding in this area will be critical going forward.
Third, I find it really important to remember that no matter where you go, there are always those who want to contribute to your development, may that be personally or professionally. Oftentimes, I still find it difficult to reach out and look for help. As a matter of fact, it is still challenging for me to ask questions in class. However, it is a blessing that I am reminded that more often than not, there are people in your life who want to see you grow and succeed, people who are always willing to help whenever you reach out to them. In my internship, through the interactions that I have with my manager, team members, and fellow interns, I have learned many valuable lessons and have received much appreciated feedback, all of which has helped me grow in my personal and professional life. For example, I have learned how to be more proactive in communicating, either through email, phone calls, or in communicating my ideas; I have learned how to be flexible in working around schedules; I have learned how to be consistent in following up… There are many lessons learned this summer, and none of this would have ever happened if I did not take the courage to ask questions and ask for help.
As I write this blog, I reflect on all the things I have learned this summer. It has not been the easiest summer, that’s for sure; remote work is as challenging as remote learning. However, through the ups and downs, I am now (hopefully) more ready to face future responsibilities.
Congratulations to all of us for completing our summer internships. Here’s to a great fall semester!