jchinnadurai

Not fLAWless but Fearless: Pensive About People

I recently visited one of my friends in Salt Lake City, just for a quick vacation before starting my summer internship. For my entire life, flying has always caused me to become deeply lost in thought. I suppose it’s the countless hours of sitting on a plane, somewhere high above the clouds. The fact that it can take so much time to cross a certain distance we find minimal on a map always amazes me too. I see the little towns down below us and the bigger cities sprawled out across the land, and I begin to think about how many people are milling about their daily lives. I think about the woman driving in her car to the grocery store, the child playing with a dog, the man mowing his yard… and me, who is at that moment, not physically connected to the earth but still connected to many people in different locations across the globe.   

Lately I’ve been reflecting about people who have come into and gone out of my life, sometimes sooner than I’ve wanted them to, sometimes for a very specific reason, and other times for reasons that make no sense at all. People are who we form bonds with on a regular basis. In law school, students are encouraged to form those bonds with classmates because we can always be professional connections for each other in the future. While I've officially completed one year of law school (!!!) and this brings me so much joy, I often get a little sad thinking about how many of the people I see there every day will just be part of a memory after we’re done in two years. And outside of school, I continually find myself trying to come to terms with the fact that some people are meant to be in my life forever and others are not.

You might’ve heard the saying “Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. Sometimes they are only there long enough to teach you the lessons that you needed to learn.” I’ve usually thought this applies to just one person who, at some point, was able to teach me something just because they were a part of my life. But I’m realizing it can apply to a group of people too. The best example right now would be my summer internship, where I’m interacting with 100 or so other employees who I was meant to spend this time with, adding to my legal educational experience. It’s also great that the work Civis Analytics is doing will help add to my perspective of people and how they operate in society. In fact, when I was interviewing with my new boss here in Chicago, we both mentioned our interest in understanding human psychology, particularly what drives peoples’ behaviors and why they may buy certain products or vote a specific way. That was one of many reasons I thought the job would be a good fit. 

The first week at my summer internship involved a lot of introductions. As I sat there listening to each team discuss the work they do, I noticed how passionate each person was with regards to their role in the company and what Civis is offering when it comes to innovative data solutions. It made me wonder, where is so-and-so from? Did they always know what analytics were, or were they late bloomers like me who really only learned about it three years ago? What made them join Civis? Luckily, almost everyone is open to sharing that information with the question-filled, overly energetic Legal Intern (yep, that’s me!). But at the same time, it makes me a bit sad to think that I only have the summer to really get to know them all and after that, we’ll go our separate ways.

In the meantime, it feels good to be back in the working world! I’ve already spent a significant amount of time reading through contracts and understanding the terms we have in place with various clients. Many groups within Civis, including the Product and Applied Data Science (consulting services) teams, know how important it is to have that contract in place to make sure their project or consulting engagement can run smoothly. Being in a startup environment has also proven to be interesting (I honestly love walking around and seeing math formulas written all over the walls in the side conference rooms), especially since we’re over capacity right now and moving offices later this summer. But it’s also exciting because that means the company is growing at an almost-alarming rate! I know that staying organized this summer will be key for everyone, including me. 

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