You’re telling me Chalk isn’t a soft white limestone formed from the skeletal remains of sea creatures?

What if I said it was an education company that just so happens to build software ready to disrupt the education industry?

Here, let me give you the chance to live through my Chalk co-op student experience vicariously.

It’s 10:20 AM. You arrive at 305 King Street West. Aleem, the guy who keeps emailing you told you days before to come to the office on the first day at 10:30. Phew, you made it. Stepping foot into the room, you see unfamiliar faces sitting in chairs discussing the implementation of some new marketing rebrand,  people are brewing coffee and others making impressive cold calls. The amount of communication between the separate teams impresses you. You also notice the vibrant energy of individuals around you makes you feel motivated to learn. The team dynamic is something unique. Fast forward to three months down the road. Your walk in the office every morning still feels the same.

Talk Chalk to me

Talk about first impressions. That was mine! As a first year student at the University of Waterloo, Chalk was my first internship this summer. It’s interesting to think about how much I’ve learned to do in my first full-time job. Being a Web Developer Co-op, I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to use as many would describe as the ‘hipster tech stack,’ including Ruby on Rails, ReactJS, and MySQL. My favorite project to work on was creating the Collaborate invite system for teachers and administrators. This project entailed of allowing existing users invite others to a group with them to share resources, lesson plans and more. It was a long process testing the entire system, but very rewarding. The feature highlights the completeness of the whole experience, one that is not only data-driven to provide the best in-app experience, but also one that conveniences teachers and encourages them to work with each other. Do you want to give it a go? I promise you’ll love it. The very Aleem Dhanji gave this an 11/10 approval rating.  Check it out!

My favorite project to work on was creating the Collaborate invite system for teachers and administrators.

The Chalk Culture

Throughout my internship, I would say the most rewarding thing about working at Chalk is the culture. The culture is one that supports and encourages personal and professional growth. It’s the kind of culture where people are motivated by the sheer belief in the forward direction of the company and want to contribute to its success. Passion is contagious, so it was too easy to work hard and learn lots. The collaborative efforts put in by the team make it even easier to work with almost anyone. Not only was the team easy to work with, but the team was great at encouraging learning opportunities and growth. When I came in, I wasn’t great at thoroughly reading instructions or code in general. I mostly skimmed for what I needed and moved on. However, with learning new languages and frameworks, I quickly realized a lot of the problems I had were in ingrained with those details. Despite feeling frustrated at times, many members of the Engineering Team took the patience to listen to my thought process, then probing me into the right direction so that I could find my error. Not only did I learn where I had the error, but I also learned how to debug more efficiently, and understand technical processes from a higher level perspective.

Chalk Family is forever

As my last month draws to a close, I like to remember a quote from my favorite author. Doctor Seuss once wrote, “Oh the places you’ll go!”. I am sad to leave but incredibly grateful for all the nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned in just four months.