Many see an intern as the low man on the totem pole, and I am no exception. However, I bear this designation not with the corporate shame of an errand monkey, but with intense pride. I form the mighty foundation of our close-knit team of developers and managers here at Shockoe.

It is upon my broad, well-muscled shoulders that these lions and eagles of the mobile app industry stand to raise themselves to the highest of heights, achieving our clients’ wildest dreams and more. Above me on the totem pole, for example, is Bruce, a wise tortoise filled with an encyclopedic knowledge of javascript and enough puns to keep the entire office groaning all day. Or Andrew, the kindly giraffe, who picks leaves from the tree of debugging advice and fantasy football buzz, and brings them down to those who cannot reach. Every member of the team is helpful to me in different ways, and they amazingly all make time for me, never swatting away my questions like pesky flies…that would be a different type of debugging.

Now that I have regained control of my computer from Bruce I’m free to talk about all the different things I do here at Shockoe. In the two months I’ve been here I’ve helped design wireframes for clients, given my thoughts in mobile strategy meetings, tested in-progress apps, and currently, I’m even working on my own mobile app project, all while never getting coffee for anyone. Not once. They could have asked, and I probably would have done it, but no one ever did. It’s just never been that type of internship. True, there was some hazing at first, but after a few weeks, they finally let me hold the paddle with my hands during ping-pong brainstorming sessions.

One of the coolest parts of my day is walking into the office in the morning in full view of Main Street station, the most iconic building of the city I grew up in and love, whose clock tower confirms that I am in fact on time. Once I settle in and we have our daily stand-up meeting, I can get back to work on a bug I’ve been thinking about or a screen for an app that I’ve been designing in my head. Or I could be doing something completely different. If you’ll allow me, I’d like to augment my totem pole metaphor by saying that walking into Shockoe is walking into a jungle. There’s always a surprising new client or task lying in wait when I least expect it. I get a sense of adventure from working here, my steps cautious at first, but growing faster and more confident as I go along. And any sharp sensation I may feel on the back of my neck is not stinger filled with the deadly venom of a vicious predator, but the pleasant epiphany that I’m gaining more knowledge and experience every day. Either that or a ping-pong ball.