Right now, I’m sitting with Alexis, the other Marketing intern, in the ‘Think Tank.’ Adjacent to us in ‘The Fishbowl’ are the Curriculum Development Interns. I had always heard that startup companies are group-oriented environments, as opposed to a top-down structure. The transition from cubicles to small meeting rooms was only natural, given our entrepreneurial culture. Although each intern has their personal project, we quickly discovered that our projects are heavily intertwined with everyone else’s. Think card tower: each card depends the other cards to stay standing. That’s how our projects work. Each of our projects works together to build towards our overall goal: leveling the college application process for all students, regardless of economic background.
It’s been roughly five days since the interns have come to Shanghai. And, I think that it’s fair to say that everyone has finally settled in. Our first day at the office, we experimented with a cubicle office structure, complete with a water cooler. As you can see, that was the first and last day of the cubicle layout.
Although I’ve enjoyed almost everything about my time in Shanghai so far, except the food, I think this group dynamic is what I enjoy most. I don’t really eat seafood, so you can imagine the issue with finding other foods to eat in a city built around seafood. I was worried that coming here, I might just be another ‘cubicle monkey,’ who shows up at 9am, gets lunch at 12pm, and heads home at 6pm, like many of my fellow subway riders. Instead, I look forward to coming to the office everyday. I work with my friends, eat snacks around the table, write our ideas on the windows, and truly work towards making a difference in the world (and we still have our water cooler).
Vincent Song is a Junior at Columbia University. In Shanghai, he is most looking forward to exploring the nightlife, as he grew up in a small town in upstate Illinois.