My Internship at Roundarch Isobar: The First Summer of the Rest of My Life

Roman Rivera


The summer of 2012 was the first summer of the rest of my life. For the first week of summer, I was caught in a strange purgatory between high school kid and college-bound adult. Then, I started my internship at the Roundarch Isobar Chicago office. In all honesty, I expected working in a jail cell in the sky, while honing my coffee-fetching skills or mastering the copy machine as I filed documents. But this internship was not the internship my friends had. Roundarch Isobar provided more than an internship: a three month long immersion into the world of Information Technology.

I quickly realized, on the first day, in my kakis and stiff collared shirt and black shoes, I was overdressed compared to all the other new hires. My overdressed-ness would soon inspire The Shorts Effect. It is reflexive response from (jealous) corporate employees who wade through the hottest summer in recent Chicago history, in their long pants, dress shirts, and uncomfortable shoes. Then, they come upon me, a Roundarch Isobar employee, wearing shorts, polo-tees, and tennis shoes. They will often look me up and down with a plastic smile. And I?ve even gotten a few passive-aggressive ?So, you all get to wear shorts, huh??

Upon reaching the 40th floor in the morning, I usually walk through the ironically square doors of Roundarch Isobar and then go to the plentifully stocked kitchen for a Gatorade and an apple?a young professional has to start the day out right! Afterwards, I sit down at my desk, among experienced developers, Quality Assurance testers, User Experience designers, and other titles I had never heard before, who, though I am just an inexperienced intern, were?ready to help me out in any way they could (whether that meant pointing me in the right direction or bringing the horse right to the water!)

See, I was not much into technology before I started here. I mean, I was more apt than the average grandparent (I knew how to turn off caps lock), but I was not applying for membership in Anonymous anytime soon. So, when I got my own company laptop and not a list of errands that needed to be run, I was worried about whether or not I would be qualified for the up-and-coming tasks. I was assigned to a healthcare-related website project on my first day and met my ?buddy? (aka mentor). My buddy taught me how to read wireframes, and I dove right into the IT world. After a day or so of becoming accustomed to the strange blueprints, exploring the website itself, and asking lots of question, which were answered enthusiastically, I was off to track and tag the sneaky little bugs. (I found a pretty big one in the filter feature on my first day?not saying I?m a natural, except I totally am.) From there, I learned how to enter Jira Tickets, follow Test Cases, write Test Cases, and explore device applications. So far, I?ve written three test case files, worked on two separate projects, logged more bugs than I can count, and tested four separate applications?and I knew almost nothing when I started.

I do not think describing the inspiringly challenging environment will do any justice to how awesome my ?internship? at Roundarch Isobar has been this summer. I have gone through four years of high school with people telling me that college is the best time of my life, and how I should savor it. And, though, by second semester of my senior year, I couldn?t wait to get into my dorm room, I am no longer counting the seconds until Orientation Week. While, I still am excited for college, I have become enamored with this company. I hope I am as content at college as I am at Roundarch Isobar. I could not ask for a better learning environment, better coworkers, and a better atmosphere. (And yes, being paid while learning the ropes is pretty awesome, too. I am not going to get quantitative here, but I will be purchasing a Maserati next week, in cash.) So, while I used to be thirsting for college to kick off the next chapter of my life, that chapter already began, this summer, with my internship at Roundarch Isobar.*

*Roman started his first semester at the University of Chicago with a major in Astrophysics this fall.