Week 10: Thank You for All I Have Learned

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Friday, August 17, 2018


Collin Flynn

I could talk about my week like I did on all the other blog posts, but I think we're going to do something different this time…

I'm done, that’s it. People told me the summer would fly by, and man they were right! 10 weeks in D.C ... 10 weeks at NASA, and it was a blast! I learned a lot about myself, others, jobs, working for the government, and many other things all while meeting some amazing people. I never thought I would find such close friends as the ones I’ve made with my fellow SPS interns and the other interns at NASA. I REALLY never imagined getting as close to my mentors as I did. All-in-all, I learned a lot -- let's see if I can spread the knowledge.

The first thing I learned is about rocket science. When you hear NASA, you think of this high and mighty place that you would have to be a genius to get a job at because, well it IS rocket science! However, like most jobs, it’s all about knowing someone and getting a little lucky. The people I met working at NASA are just like you and me, they just found their interests in aerospace, detectors, etc. and with a little bit of luck and maybe a connection here and there, that took them to NASA. In reality, rocket science isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. I think it’s just another occupation with positions looking to be filled.

The next lesson is about perspective. There were days when I would be in a bad mood, running on almost no sleep for weeks in an effort to do way more work than one should try to do in 10 weeks (... might have set my expectations for myself a bit too high). I was thinking about how little sleep I had been getting, thinking about all these things I wanted to do, but couldn’t. Then I asked myself, “Why am I in such a bad mood!?” I focused on the positive and found myself smiling and felt more awake than ever! It’s amazing what a quick change in perspective can do to your mood.  So, keep your chin up, focus on the positive, and you’ll be happy whether you’re working in a lab, or living on the street.

This final lesson is about people. I met loads of people from around the world: Ireland, England, Pakistan, Israel, and China.  Whether it be in a tent on the sidewalk on an escalator by the Metro, or working in your lab at NASA, every person I met was all so different from the last in their background, culture, appearance, and beliefs. Yet, somehow we were all able to find something in common (and that something wasn’t beyond working in the same lab!). So, despite how others may look, sound, or even smell, go have a coffee with them, or share a slice of watermelon, and learn about their life. Learn about their perspective, because they’re human too. Those are best stories around, and you don’t even need to find a book to learn about it.

I hope you all had an amazing summer, I know I can say that about mine.

I want to thank Danielle, James, Brad, and all the others for this summer. The intern program you have all helped make and run is truly unique, thank you. I’m so happy I got the chance to meet and get to know you all this summer.

To all my fellow interns, from SPS and NASA, thank you for all the adventures and experiences. I’m counting on seeing you all in the near future.

Signing off,

Saying Goodbye to Goddard
Happy hour with the mentors and other interns
Coe College Representing
Final Night
Ran into some NASA people at Jazz in the Gardden
Jazz in the garden with Rees and Brigette
SPS spiral pic after it all

Collin Flynn