The rejection came in the middle of November.
Before that, I had given my resume to a Microsoft recruiter at the fall career fair. She contacted me a few days later and offered me a phone interview for a summer intern position, which I accepted. Next, I was flown out to their headquarters in Redmond, WA for a day of in-person coding interviews. In between the phone interview and the in-person interviews, I bought myself programming books and did hours of practice coding problems to prepare myself. It didn’t matter — I still didn’t feel ready on the day of the interviews. This was Microsoft, after all, and I was just a girl who had only started programming the year before.
According to The Internship, it’s much easier to get into Google. Your mileage may vary.
I was pleasantly surprised when the interviews went well. The various conversations with my interviewers weren’t intimidating. We were just two geeks in a room, laughing and talking about technology. The coding questions weren’t as impossible as I had expected. They were challenging, and I remember getting very stuck on one of them and being told that I was overthinking it, but I did manage to arrive at the right answers.
Although I refused to think that I was a shoo-in for the position, I did allow myself to start dreaming about what my summer at Microsoft could be like. My cousin who lives in Seattle was even making plans for what we could do together. As hard as I tried not to get my hopes up, there was nothing I wanted more than to be a Microsoft intern. Let’s just say that a lot of ice cream was eaten after the disappointing email came telling me that I “demonstrated solid potential,” but Microsoft would be “pursuing other candidates” for the summer internship program.
I informed my family right away, and they all responded with words of encouragement and said I should be proud of myself for getting to a final round interview with a major tech company in the first place. They also said that the rejection didn’t mean I should doubt myself or my skills. I ran into one of my comp sci friends, and I told her the news with a lump in my throat. She told me she had been rejected from Microsoft her sophomore year as well, but now as a senior she had just accepted a job offer from them! All was not lost. I knew everyone was right, but I was still really disappointed. I didn’t have too much time to dwell on it, however, because the rejection email came right before I was supposed to meet with my Spin-IT mentor, Holli Kubly.
I met Holli for lunch at the DUC. When I told her the news, she gave me a hug and said some things to cheer me up. And then…she never mentioned it for the rest of our meeting! While we ate, she talked about other opportunities I could look into, and when we were done eating we opened my laptop and searched for more internships. I was glad that we could focus on moving forward instead of talking about “failure.”
The best part about getting rejected from Microsoft was that it reopened the door to a summer of possibilities. I had narrowed in on one thing for two months, but now I was forced to look at a bunch of other options. There were plenty of other tech companies out there. Plus, I had been toying with the idea of music supervision for the past few months, so why not apply to music supervision internships as well?
I do not at all regret my experience with Microsoft. I got a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be at Microsoft, and I had a blast while I was there. I had an all-expenses-paid trip to Seattle (I’d always wanted to go there!), a ride to and from my interview in a limo bus with new friends that I still talk to today, and the funny realization that I like the WashU food more than the Microsoft food. Plus, I did learn some new things from all that studying. How can anyone regret an experience like that?