Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation?
Last summer, I had a 10 week paid internship working for American Traffic Solutions, a toll and ticket processing company. Naturally, I was nervous about working as part of a team of Ph.D.’s in math and computer vision. I learned to deal with the pressure to produce in this corporate environment from my boss, Jigang, who always seemed to have the perfect proverb for any situation.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – I was tasked with automating the vehicle detection process for Washington, D.C. Immediately, I began frantically scraping together whatever code I could, eager to generate results. Jigang, however, stopped me with this 8-word quote. Before beginning, I must have a well-thought out path that I truly believe will work in the long-run.
“Take things as they come.” – My job grew more stressful around week 6 when I began to realize that my processing percentage (percent of the images which the algorithm deemed possible to automatically classify with sufficiently high certainty) wasn’t approaching the targeted value due to particularly crowded roads. This obstacle, I learned, should not be a cause of stress. As long as I work intelligently and communicate my difficulties, I can confidently stand by my work.
“Breathe.” – Certainly, I have faced more unpleasant situations than sitting at my desk in an air-conditioned office building. Nevertheless, the lessons I learned from this experience have helped me deal with stress and pressure in all aspects of my life.