Lesson I: The Beauty of Zoom (amongst other things)
By Olivia McCoy
Salutations! My name is Olivia McCoy and I am this year’s Plano Chamber of Commerce Summer Intern through the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program. However, outside of the office, I am a rising senior at Plano East Senior High School in the International Baccalaureate Programme, lover of local cuisine and homecooked meals, occasional flutist, environmentalist, and intense historical and scientific researcher. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity especially considering the circumstances of our changing world. Yes, you heard me, “our changing world”.
When I left school for Spring Break earlier this year, I had no idea that I would not be stepping foot on campus until Mid-July. Not only did I leave behind my half-finished science fair project, teary goodbyes to amazing teachers, but I also left the remains of my Junior Year in the hands of a deadly virus that has turned both my world and the real world upside down.
While being quarantined with my parents and lovely dog, Sophie had presented its many challenges, I now had to navigate new methods of communication for both schoolwork and summer activities. In fact, when I had my internship interview through Zoom it was only about my second week of using the software and to say I was a little confused about how to mute and unmute myself is an understatement (yes, that problem even happens to us high-schoolers).
Learning that I had gotten a summer internship in the midst of a global pandemic not only made me acquire a new set of skills in Zoom, but also made me realize that the heart of Plano business and the Chamber really hold our community together. We are all learning as we go how to make use of difficult times and I believe that turning a negative into a positive is the best way to go about problem-solving.
As a firm believer in life-long learning, I believe that every experience gives us knowledge for the future and that as we grow in both ourselves and in others, we change for the better. Starting an internship in the summer of social distancing hasn’t been easy, but I believe the learning experiences I’ve garnered these past few weeks will prepare me for the future of our changing world.
After a few weeks of attending zooms from home of Chamber events (I finally figured out how to use the mute/unmute button), my first day in the office proved to be a bit of a challenge. Walking up the stairs to the office would’ve put me out of breath normally, however, combined with my lovely mask it felt as if I had trekked a mountain. I soon learned that the elevation wasn’t the only thing similar to a mountain as I slowly began to freeze to death in my new intern cubicle. I hadn’t brought a blanket and as I met everyone in the office, and learned more about the software I would be using, each minute I became closer and closer to resembling a popsicle. Thankfully, I received a blanket from a coworker and continued about my day. Brainstorming in person and bouncing ideas off of one another was my favorite part of being in the office because despite Zoom’s many great qualities there’s just something about bonding in person that your webcam can’t do just yet (I’m sure Apple will find a way to eventually though).
The next few days (equipped with my own cardigan) I attended events that had originally been planned for in-person but were now virtual through Zoom. I believe the Chamber staff has done an incredible job of shifting to virtual events quickly given how fast everything has changed on us. It was really interesting to see how everything just “clicked” together (haha) and listening to the perspectives of different types of businesses affected by COVID really made me change my way of thinking in terms of the local economy and public policy of our city. I especially enjoyed sitting in on the virtual public policy meeting, as well! I gained so much insight into the intricacies that go into our local community!
As I continue my journey through my internship these next few weeks and learn as much as I can about our changing world, the Plano Chamber, and local business, I would love to share my tips, tricks, and) secrets with you! Navigating a changing world can be difficult, but not impossible. By the end of it all, I’m sure we will be Outbreak Dancing!