From High School to Software Engineering

Rumeza Fatima
August 25, 2023

Two months ago, I started my role at Arcurve as a Software Engineering intern - despite still being a high school student. It's still surreal to me that I can identify as a software engineer at my age, and even more unreal that I had the opportunity to work in a place that didn't just treat me like a kid, but as an active team player whose words and actions had an impact.

But before I delve deeper into my experience thus far, I have to reflect on how any of this was possible at all. Five months ago, I approached the Director of Talent Growth, Joel Pollard, at a job fair and took one of the biggest leaps of faith for me at the time. I went up to him and advocated for my abilities, pitched my interests in joining Arcurve, and shared my passion for creating impact with tech. It was probably one of the most nerve-racking three minutes of my life because, in all honesty, advocating for myself and cold-approaching people has never been my strong suit. But to my surprise, that one conversation helped me reinforce one of the best lessons I learned this year: You get things you don't have by doing things you don't usually do.

And that indeed turned out to be true because, in just a short while, I found myself in an interview to finally be able to scan my company card and stand in the office.

From day one, I blinked, and now suddenly with only seven days left of my internship, I can't choose a favorite moment because every second I spent with the people I worked with - from attending standups and lunches - will stay with me as I turn to the future.

In a week, I'll be entering my final year of high school - a time that I believe will be the most pivotal moment of my 13 years of schooling. Here are the top three learnings from this summer I'm taking into the coming year:

Be Authentic:

At the beginning of my internship, I was pretty nervous because it would be my first time working in a more corporate environment, and I didn't know how professional I should be acting. However, over the course of onboarding week and the days that came after, I learned above all how important it is to be your authentic self because that is how you form greater connections and establish better and more intentional goals.

Never stop learning:

I was brought on as a Software Engineering Intern and thought I'd only be doing development work, but I was pleasantly surprised when I had the opportunity to help restyle and even create new pages and features on Figma while learning new designing techniques. What this experience taught me was never to stop seeking out new opportunities because you never know what impact you'll have with the things you learn next.

Take that leap of faith:

A pretty fundamental ideology of all things exciting - taking that leap of faith and approaching Joel taught me how dreams didn't need to stop when I woke up - but could be put to fruition with the right actions, which is something I hope to take forward in this next and final chapter of my high school career.

And with that, I'll be signing off.

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