Expectations vs. Reality

Hello! If you are reading this it means that you are either a prospective intern at Stryker, or you have accepted a position and are looking to learn more about the company and paint a picture in your mind of how your summer internship will appear. Seven weeks into my internship at Stryker Neurovascular in Fremont, California, I am hoping to export some of the lessons I have learned and provide some information for you. If you are anything like me, I’m sure you have already compiled an abundance of expectations in your mind. I’m here to clear a few things up.

Expectation: Like in school, the requirements for my projects will be clearly laid out and I will have a curriculum provided that will help me get there.

Reality: While you will have an advisor, a mentor, and plenty of other helpful and bright co-workers to help answer your questions, your tasks will not be laid out for you, and there is definitely no grading rubric. A big part of entering the working world is discovering your own talent and tailoring each work day to maximize outputs and efficiency.

Expectation: Stryker’s naturally competitive environment will make it difficult to form friendly relationships with those around me.

Reality: This expectation honestly could not be further from the truth. You will make friends with everyone you meet at Stryker because everyone is very welcoming and driven toward a common goal. Your intern class may be from various parts of the country and your team may originate from very different technical backgrounds, but Stryker’s strengths-based talent recruiting allows everyone to bring something to the table.

Expectation: It will be virtually impossible to apply the theories I have learned in school to my internship because my education is too broad and my projects are too specific.

Reality: Some of the best work you will do over the summer will more than likely stem back to a skill you learned in university. Whether it is a software you learned, an engineering principle you mastered, or simply a writing technique that has been drilled into you, your education can prove to be a valuable tool that, when wielded correctly, can bring about success. There is a reason that many high-level positions in the company require a certain degree, education is power.

Expectation: Working at such a large company, I will feel lost and/or unimportant in the vast complexity and various operations that are required to make Stryker run smoothly.

Reality: The truth, that you will be a component within a part within a system within a machine, is unescapable. However, every component plays a unique role and is necessary to the proper functioning of the machine. Additionally, you will have the power to show that you are a pivotal component that is worth keeping around. Stryker does an excellent job of making every intern feel as though they hold significance within the company through team integration and endless exposure opportunities.

I hope I was able to clear up some preconceived notions you may have had about working at Stryker. The reality is this: Stryker has given me a real summer to remember, a few projects to write home about, and a network of friends, co-workers, and mentors that hold a special place in my career and in my heart!

Josh Lazar

Josh Lazar

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Neurovascular (Fremont, CA)



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