Summer at Southface Final Reflection


Summer at Southface Reflection


            There is a lot that can be said about my time I spent this summer at Southface Energy Institute. It has been a very informative summer, even though I wasn’t technically in school or class it still felt like everyday I was being taught something new like I was in a classroom. I entered into a foreign world of construction, contracting, and engineering language that at first intimidated me. Over time I grew to learn the more common terms and grew unafraid to ask to clarification if I didn’t understand.

My confidence in myself grew during this internship. They would sometimes just throw some work at me to test me, see if I could work it out, or how I would process it and ask for help. That to me was a very important lesson. I needed to know that it’s okay to tackle things head-on and figure it out for yourself independently but it is also okay to go to someone who has more experience who can help you. Don’t let the fear of “they’re too busy to help me” get in the way of asking questions. I found that people are very likely to make time in their schedule to teach you and help you if you ask; you’ll be surprised at how kind everyone can be if you ask nicely.

I also learned the importance of self-delegation. I was mostly here to learn. This means that they did not always have work for me, but rather gave me hours to just sit and read and study. I needed to look at my time as almost an independent study, my time to really process LEED Certification. That means I needed to not slack off because someone hasn’t given me a specific assignment. I needed to fill my time effectively, use the indistinct time to work on my knowledge base and become more confident in the terminology. Then work really hard when I am given assignments.

I’m surprised honestly at how much information I absorbed this summer. Their final big assignment for me was to create my own LEED B+C scorecard for Rebekah Scott Hall. They had me work out all the calculations for the first set of credits, the sustainable sites ones and either approve or deny them. I looked at the rest of the credits and determined if they were credits I could see our school going for, if they were stretch credits, or ones that we would most likely not attempt. I set up the preliminary meeting and mock presented my scorecard, the first round of looking at the site and the credits for what would ideally be a group of architects and engineers. They had me run the whole meeting and gave me feedback as I went through it to be sure that I understood how to be a project manager, a person running the show. They gave me a real-life situation and told me to go, test what you have learned, and show us. It was an invaluable experience because it showed me how much I could accomplish in just a few short weeks.

I am greatly appreciative to Southface for this experience. They helped me grow, not only in knowledge about LEED but also in work place etiquette. I learned how to host meetings, conference calls, site visits. They taught me about networking and reaching out to experts in the field. This summer has helped prepare me for the next phase of my life, one outside of academics and working the in modern world.

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