When Stanford announced juniors and seniors would not attend classes in-person until April 2021, I was thrown into a state of confusion and disarray. In April, when Stanford went online initially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I began taking my classes virtually. The process was grueling, bereft of all of the things I had loved about attending college. I knew instantly I didn’t want a virtual college experience. And thanks to Zuora’s flexibility and empathy, I was able to formulate a plan for the year that didn’t involve Stanford University on Zoom.
Coming to the decision to take a gap year was not easy. A gap year is typically taken right after high school, giving the student a chance to learn, grow, and reset before the first year of college. Others who have stepped away from college during their tenure tend to have specific extenuating circumstances. In my case, all of the resources I needed to attend college were still there, and modified in a way to do it safely during a pandemic. So why take a year off? Stepping away from school was not about pausing my learning; I didn’t want to put my life on hold for a year unless I could find work I was interested in, passionate about, and directly related to my academic pursuits. Luckily enough, I was able to spend this summer working with Zuora’s Business Technology team.
From the start of my Internship at Zuora, with the Business Technology Team, I have been making tangible contributions, and not just working on intern specific projects. I have built multiple tools to ease developer interactions with Salesforce, and I was a part of the team recognized in Zuora’s Summer Hackathon! Our team won the Judge’s Choice for Creativity. That experience was incredibly rewarding. It was a confirmation that I was qualified enough to succeed technically, and collaborating on an idea from ideation to production really showed me the steps it takes to producing a tangible product. Right now, I’m wrapping up the creation of a tool to promote code between salesforce organizations, with the hope that testing for the tool will begin as soon as possible.
Zuora’s work to make me feel like an active ZEO empowered me, at the end of the summer, to approach my manager and ask about extending my internship. I was incredibly lucky that the process was relatively straightforward - I was able to continue working through the fall. This entire process highlighted to me just how supportive the Zuora community is to all of their ZEOs, interns included. I can’t describe how thankful I am for all of the opportunities I have gotten through my time here.
As my internship’s extension comes to an end, I’ve been trying to answer the question: “What comes next?”
I plan to return to Stanford University in Fall 2021, so I have about six months to dedicate to my growth as a Software Engineer. Working with Zuora has not only given me the technical skills I need to succeed in my professional endeavors, but also the confidence to advocate for myself. I have been flexing my advocacy muscles in my reaching out to smaller tech companies and startups, to find my next opportunity. My goal is to pivot from my time and experiences here to another rewarding professional experience. However, if my next six months are spent self-directing my development, I am confident that the skills that I have cultivated with the Business Technology Team will allow me to flesh out some of the personal projects that I’ve always wanted to tackle, like building my first app and building a website.
These past five months, I have been incredibly lucky to be able to contribute to Zuora in a significant way. In my (and others) internship experiences, you often leave feeling like your voice didn’t matter, or that you’ve been saddled with irrelevant projects. This is not my truth of the internship experience at Zuora. In my time here, I have not only been assigned projects that I know will benefit all of Business Technology, but I have also been involved in the creation and ideation of these projects. Interning at Zuora is truly a unique experience and a rewarding way to spend this first half of my gap year; I would have never expected to be as involved and feel as integral as I do, when I applied. To any potential Zuora Interns, apply! You truly couldn’t ask for a better intern experience.
Thank you, Zuora, for the opportunity of a lifetime.
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