As I sit down to write this final installment of the “Becoming a Hedgehog” series, I find myself reflecting on the journey that I’ve taken to reach this point. Throughout my co-op and academic experiences, I have learned a humbling mentality that has proven to be useful in my career.
This can be summed up quite nicely by a quote from one of my favourite scientists and educators:
“I’m smart enough to know that I’m dumb.” — Richard Feynman
The “dumb” word might sound brash to some but the idea surrounding this quote is what ultimately resonated with me. Remaining confidently humble when approaching new tasks or projects is something I try to embrace and emulate. This outlook has allowed me to easily integrate into team environments and connect with an array of clients from different walks of life. Understanding my own limitations while being open to learning from others has been a great asset as I begin my career.
In the summer of 2019, I was hired back to complete a second co-op term at Hedgehog Technologies, which you can read about in Becoming a Hedgehog Part II. The transition had been smooth due to having so many familiar faces around after being gone for eight months of academic studies. The team welcomed me back with open arms and I quickly found my working groove again. Without hesitation, the Leadership Team brought me into multiple projects and immediately put my skills to the test.
Some of these highlights included:
- Completing panel acceptance tests for roller coaster vehicles.
- Research for a municipal safety and risk assessment project.
- Traveling to Ontario to complete an energy study regarding VFD feasibility.
The diversity in opportunities made for an exciting summer where my skills were utilized and developed in various environments. These experiences gave me confidence in my abilities and left me excited to finish my final year of school.
Another highlight that I would be remiss if I left out was a special internal project that required an assembly of some well known Swedish products. Hedgehog Technologies relocated to a brand new office where I and another colleague were tasked with building IKEA desk furniture. The idea of a 6’2” red-headed engineering co-op contorting his body and mind around 10-12 IKEA SKARSTA standing desks might sound amusing (laughter is a valid response here), but coming back to the theme of humility, I made sure to never feel above the job that was given to me. Even though “SKARSTA assembly expert” was not in the engineering job description, I recognized that this task needed to be completed to benefit the company as a whole.
All this to say it is finally time to end the “Becoming a Hedgehog” series. No longer am I the fledgling summer co-op but instead, have completed the transformation into a real Hedgehog! As a recent graduate this spring, the company was gracious enough to hire me back as a full-time Engineer-in-Training (EIT).
I couldn’t be happier to start my career with such a professional group that will allow me to build off the previous two summers of co-op work. Even amidst the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has adapted and pivoted to remain a competitive and innovative force in the industry while maintaining its core values of diversity, sustainability, accountability, and collaboration. I write this as an excited EIT with no idea what my future career holds, but also as someone who is sure that I am in the right place to start.
Check out my previous installments:
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