During my time as a Cadet at Garage Society, Prae and I were often seen prancing and giggling around the office. But this picture might be a bit misleading. It’s true that we had a ton of fun while working, but my 8-week internship at Garage Society has been an invaluable learning experience in various ways.
One of my major takeaways from my internship were all the experience that came from my constant exposure to the startup community. Prior to my time at Garage Society, I never fully grasped the concept of coworking. When others asked where I was working this Summer, I would answer in roundabout ways with phrases like “it’s a serviced office space.” I soon realised such a description was did not do Garge Society justice.
THROUGH ENCOUNTERING VARIOUS COWORKING SPACES AND STARTUPS WITHIN GARAGE SOCIETY, I REALISED THAT AT THE HEART OF EACH COWORKING SPACE WAS AN EMPHASIS ON COMMUNITY.
During the beginning of our internship, my fellow Cadet Prae and I were given a project to carry out a competitor analysis. From the two day journey, we were able to better grasp what set one co-working space apart from another. For every space we visited, we found that the vibe was not only the most discernible factor but also the most important in distinguishing the top notch coworking spaces. The vibe of each space was a composite product of first impression, the amount of genuine interactions observed, and friendliness of the staff. We found that despite most coworking spaces’ common goal to create an authentic community, not all of them were successful. Garage Society, with its close-knit community, was a leading example as having a positive vibe. By fortunately being part of such a warm community, I was able to learn from and build relationships with inspirational people within the startup scene. My internship at Garage Society also brought about a positive transformation in attitude. Looking back, I did not have the best mindset going in — as my school made it mandatory to fulfil a requirement for a credit-bearing social innovation course. At the time, I was displeased with the idea of an unpaid two-month long internship. Also, in no way I was convinced by the possibility of an enriching experience through a mandatory program placed by the school. Aside from my exasperation at the program, I was also very confused about my career path. As a politics major at the halfway mark of college, I still didn’t know what I was good at or passionate about. I was unsure about many aspects of my future, yet I was still hesitant to new experiences. During my time here, the Garage Society staff and members have encouraged to me to become more reckless. They reassured me that it was completely ok to not know where I’m going at the moment. Instead of lecturing me about my future, they motivated me to just go for it and see how it plays out. Garage Society has been an unparalleled source of motivation, self-discovery, and learning. Without Garage Society, I would not have been so confident in trying out the new. I am sincerely grateful for this priceless opportunity, and I plan to keep my life full of surprises as I embark on my next journey outside Hong Kong. - Esther
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