Khan Academy

Days One and Two at Khan

It looks like I’m in for a whole lot of learning, fun, and good conversation.

Day One: I walk in at 9am to find the office more or less empty. Nick lets me in, gives me a quick tour of the office, and finds my desk. I end up getting everything set up on my work computer for the majority of the day and push my face to the KA website!

I made it, mom!I made it, mom!

Neel’s picture changes when you hover over it which is kinda really cool so I’ll have to make that happen for mine too.

My awesome mentor Alex sat next to me for the whole day and made sure nothing was on fire, which I definitely appreciated. Later on, he and I sat down and talked a lot about ourselves and why we are here. Most people I meet at Berkeley think about either tech or education, and I think I’ve finally found a place where I can talk to people who are with me in the intersection of education and a bunch of other very interesting fields. Not that Berkeley people are boring; nothing could be further from the truth.

Interesting guyInteresting guy, right?

Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I can definitely tell that this is a very different environment from what I’m used to and I know I’m going to learn a lot from the people here.

We then talked about the project that I would be working on this summer. I’ll flesh out the details later, but essentially we are looking to give our content creators the ability to make articles like this or this or this through our platform. Cool, amirite? 🙂

Day Two: I walk in at 9am to find the office more or less empty again. This seems like a pattern. I being perusing the project outlines as well as KA’s mission, long-term strategy, and short-term strategy. Alex had asked me to think about my goals for this internship, so here they are in all their unrefined glory:

To me, nothing is more important in the end than people. When I look around the room during lunch time I see an infinite number of stories waiting to be told and I want to hear them all or laugh trying.

We all eat together like an enormous and mostly functional family.

I hope to get to know each person here personally. In addition, I hope to grow into my role; I don’t remember the last time since I’ve been the on the being-guided side of pair programming and it’s both humbling and exhilarating to have to learn so much so quickly. I asked Alex to be as honest as possible not only about things that I’m doing well but also about areas of improvement, to which he said that he’s a pretty thick-skinned guy as well!

In terms of work, I would love to know that what I do helps people as directly as possible. To me, this surfaces in both depth (eg. a testimonial or a personal conversation) and breadth (number of people using it). Ideally, my project would have immediate impact and use but would also make a lasting contribution to the platform. Maybe I’m being too idealistic. But with food like this:

and posters like this:

…why not go for it? The challenge will be to maintain bright optimism while being realistic, clear-headed, and honest. And like many challenges (especially when it comes to education), I think it’s one worth taking head on.