To be able to summarize my experience as a coop student at VueReal would be almost impossible in writing. Yes, it was filled with challenging work which led to frustration at times, but it mainly consisted of amazing experiences that I will treasure forever. I knew that I would eventually overcome any challenges I faced with the help of my amazing team, feeling an overall sense of achievement.
I remember my first week clearly. I walked in just before 9AM on Monday morning and was shown to my desk. Waiting for me was a nice handwritten note welcoming me to the team, and a backpack filled with VueReal swag. Sitting down in my chair for the first time, I remember thinking to myself “wow, these chairs are nice.” Then I looked around and was able to see everyone’s desk without taking a single step, which is something I love about VueReal: its open-concept office. I liked how my hardware team (and pretty much every other team in the company, really) had our desks connected to each other, so that if I had any questions or wanted to start up a conversation with anyone, all I had to do was roll over a couple feet in my comfy blue chair and tap them on the shoulder.
That’s another thing I love about VueReal. I can talk to anyone in the company and ask for help. My first week was the week right before a huge conference we were attending in San Jose. So everyone was stressed and working countless hours just to finish everything in time. That was an incredible first impression of the company. The teams were working late hours, pulling all-nighters even on the weekends, just to make sure that we had everything ready in time. It showed that they cared about the company, and their passion and hard work was admirable. Despite all the stress, everyone was so welcoming and willing to help anyone that needed it. My team gave me opportunities to try new things and develop new skills, even though it took me exponentially longer to complete tasks that they could do in a couple minutes. One thing that really sets VueReal apart from any other place I’ve ever seen is the fact that no matter what happened, everyone kept smiling, was willing to help, and I never saw anyone showing any kind of frustration to each other. It was almost scary, actually. You would imagine that stress would cause people to snap at least once, especially after pulling all-nighters, but that wasn’t the case.
I knew then that VueReal cared about its technology, but we also cared tremendously about its people - its culture. There’s a reason why we focus so much on culture, especially when hiring. Yes, the social committee plans fun things like waffle breakfasts, sundae days, and events both during and outside of the office, but the culture goes beyond that. It's the people and the way they treat others that really makes VueReal's culture stand out from other companies. No matter how stressful or overwhelming projects and deadlines maybe, not a single person is unwilling to offer to help, and it’s always with a smile on their face.
This was exactly the environment I needed going into my first hardware position. It was terrifying, being someone without ANY hardware experience working on projects where I designed entire PCBs. Having transferred from Mechanical into Mechatronics Engineering, my past experiences were mainly mechanical, so you can only imagine how lost I felt. I remember the frustration, knowing that even the simplest of tasks took me significantly longer than anyone else on my team. It didn’t help knowing that the four others on my team had a similar (or larger) number of years of in-industry hardware experience as I had years in school (including kindergarten!!). But they never made me feel lesser than them and continued to give me opportunities to try different tasks and projects so that I could learn and develop new skills. They continued to encourage me, even to make mistakes so that I could learn from them, and offer help whenever I needed it. I think that’s the main reason I was able to learn and grow so much during this short 4-month coop term. Not only did they give me projects that directly impacted the company, but they also believed in me and saw my potential, and kept pushing me to fulfil it. And honestly, always being surrounded by such passionate and brilliant people made it hard not to give it my all 24/7. Looking back on my 4 months here, it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed by because I genuinely enjoyed coming into work every day. But looking solely at my personal development and how much I’ve learned and done, I’m definitely shocked at my progress in such a short period of time.
I will be eternally grateful for the entire team, for encouraging me daily and helping me to grow and learn so much during a short term. There’s something comforting about knowing that those you work with genuinely care about you and the work you do; knowing that the people around you will support you to fulfil your potential. The group of passionate, hardworking and brilliant people that we call the VueReal family were an incredible group of people to meet, work with, and develop friendships with that I know we will continue to maintain after this term ends.
Written by: Amy Kim