UPOP workshop “the best decision I ever made”

Jessica Jones
Putting the "practice" into the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program: the experiential workshops engage the students in team-building, presenting, and employer networking.
Jessica Jones
February 29, 2016

UPOP’s sophomores give extensive feedback during the program’s annual winter series of intensive workshops: two weeklong workshops during MIT’s Independent Activities Period (“IAP”), and a three­-day workshop over Presidents' Day Weekend. Here’s a selection:

This was the best decision I ever made. I would have never imagined I would have progressed so much in a single week. Sure it was a lot of information thrown all at once but it was great to be aware of it all and it pushed me to improve myself. 

As far as I can see, participating in UPOP is the best decision I've made since choosing MIT. It has opened my eyes to a world of opportunity, helped me develop new skills, and reminded me of old skills I had forgotten. I feel like I've made a worthwhile investment in the rest of my life. 

It was an invaluable experience because I learned very important skills and got a lot of exposure of what to find in industry.

I finally felt prepared to do the networking! The networking lunch went so well thanks to my preparation from my mentors. 

I found it very valuable: not only did I learn a lot about team work, the workplace, and ways to enhance my other skills, etc. I also garnered skills in networking with not only company representatives, but mentors and my own classmates. 

I applied because I knew I needed to work on many of the skills that UPOP emphasizes. I saw it as something I should do but certainly not something I wanted to do. However, the weeklong training was not only a lot more useful than I expected, but it was actually really enjoyable. I would tell a rising sophomore that if they have the time over IAP to do UPOP they should absolutely do it, and if they don't have time, they should strongly consider making the time for it. 

It broadened my perspective on topics such as team dynamics, how people approach/think about what is most valuable to get done with limited time and resources, and gave me an interesting view on the value of time. I went into it thinking it would be pretty boring and just something I would have to go through to increase my chances of getting a good internship, but I ended up enjoying it and looking forward to it each day, and learning a lot. It gave me more confidence about jobs and 'real people stuff.' It's probably not right for everyone, but personally, even if I do not get an internship out of it, I think it was still a valuable experience because of the tools I learned and the fun I had. 

I think UPOP is the most rewarding training I have had at MIT so far. I would tell rising sophomores it is not about the networking lunch with employers but the skills they would learn.

Networking Luncheon was awesome! I also enjoyed the Mentor Rotations very much. All in all, the day was a blast and an epic end to an epic week. I miss it already... 

It put me outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience. things I will find out in industry so I don't get surprised later in my career

I think the workshop was valuable in helping me assess my areas of weakness/areas for further improvement. I also really enjoyed getting to know my mentor. 

I think it's a great experience as it develops your soft skills in order to become a better engineer and person. 

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