What I learned interning at FRL for the past six months
My experience at Facebook Reality Labs during the spring of 2021 was easily my favorite and best internship experience I've had so far. One key difference in how I approached this internship that I should mention is that my aim was not to get a job or to publish a paper, or write a patent app, I just wanted to make my managers, my directors, and the labs jobs easier. Its so cliché but focusing on serving others made me happier and I had an extremely successful internship! Here are some key takeaways that I hope can serve you at FRL and beyond:
- Be extremely transparent about what your strengths and weaknesses are. You got hired for a reason so you have some strengths! Its important to be clear about areas where you are not comfortable hint hint it gives your manager clear direction to help and support you
- Be a sponge, FB and FRL have SO much to learn. So read, listen, and consume as much knowledge relevant to your project as possible. Always ask questions and specifically “who else should I talk to”?
- Scope your project and post weekly updates. Its also helpful to check in with your manager on Mondays, let them know your objectives for the week and if they suggest any changes.
- Create a group and invite relevant people. It's about visibility here, the more eyes, buy in, and support you can get from people the more long term success you’ll have. I created a group that had all my updates. This also serves as a place of colocation for information after you leave.
- Use Wiki (or companies resource page), it has almost everything you’d need. For the other things ask your recruiter/manager but remember this is an evaluation of your independence...basically FB/FRL and other internships are evaluating if you can work here, prove it to em!
- Work hard. FB/FRL and [insert company] are high impact and high expectation environment. You don’t have to be the best but you owe it to yourself, your manager, and your team to give it your best.
- dont work weekends! unless youre prepping for a big presentation don't do it.
- Take advantage of the opportunity. I applied for an internship at Oculus/FRL for the past three years, so understand for me this was an opportunity of a lifetime, so understand that I took advantage of every opportunity I could, for example, I met with Boz, Abrash, and got to present to FRL Policy Director James Hairston.
- Oh last thing, take advantage of all the professional development stuff courses (learning center), workshops (being an ally, etc) all the stuff that you won't have easy access to at school.
- Have fun, omg don’t put to much pressure on yourself just really enjoy the journey…”these are the good ole days”