WIT 2008
 

As I was canoeing down the Battenkill River and basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun, I began to wonder: am I really on a weekend trip with my fellow WIT interns, or am I actually at summer camp? I stared at the home-made cookies and trail mix provided by Trevor, took a glance back at my workmates paddling backwards, and decided: yes, definitely summer camp. Except for some reason they hand us these time cards every week, and my bank account has inexplicably been expanding.

Aside from our canoe trips and several free breakfasts from the Eco Café, the WIT interns do spend time working on projects ranging from department websites to Flash animations. During the first two weeks, the OIT staff transformed us from bumbling, self-taught techies to well-oiled, PHP-wielding, HTML-writing machines. Or, at the very least, they taught us to ask the right people for help when we needed it. With our newly acquired skills, we twelve interns cranked out sixteen projects over the course of six weeks. Although the workshops were helpful, the real learning began when we started work on our projects. It is one thing to know that you have to close every tag you open; it is quite another thing to actually implement it, especially as you stare dumbfounded at your computer, wondering where all your DIVs went.

Although many people think of computer jobs as isolated and monotonous, the WIT program emphasizes teamwork and creativity. The twelve interns were divided into four teams, each with a name more ridiculous than the last: Chameleon Element, Itty Bitty Mind, Cyanide Delirium, and Elite Panda Crew. While my team did divide the work up amongst ourselves, we always checked with each other and asked for suggestions before making any final decisions. Not only did team members work together, but the group as a whole shared tips on how to deal with WordPress and communally commiserated over the travesty that is Internet Explorer 6. We traded high-fives when teams got designs approved by picky sponsors and when we finally figured out those pesky drop-down menus; we provided pats on the back when websites disappeared, computers decided to commit suicide, or CDs full of aerial photographs mysteriously went missing.

While WIT is ostensibly a program to build up an army of multimedia and tech-savvy Williams students, it is also a social engineering project spearheaded by Adam Wang. After being photographed from every angle for the first two weeks by our trigger-happy boss, we were manipulated into eating lunch together every Friday. As if that weren’t enough, we were forced to bake desserts for Friday lunches with our teams. After spending all that bonding time together, I actually started to like my co-interns. What kind of sick mind hatches such a plot?

As the ten weeks of work winds to a close, I reflect back on what I have gained from WIT. Yes, we’ve learned how to code in several languages, bend Photoshop to our will, and motion tween with the best of them. But more importantly, we are infinitely better at baking, mini golf, and canoing. Sounds like summer camp to me.

Screenshots of Cyanide Delirium projects

Screenshots

The 2008 WIT interns

WIT team

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