During this year’s Boot Camp, 19 students became part of our Design, Growth, Android, React/RN, and QA teams — experiencing first-hand what it’s like working for our clients as full-on team members. One of our Bootcampers was Nina Delić, a design student at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. Nina attended our six-week paid design internship program and got to work on a team with 42 skilled product designers. Read Nina’s story, not by any means influenced by her mentor Kristi, only encouraged with kind words.

Just go for it

When FIVE announced they were accepting applications for their design summer internship, I knew I had to do it! It’d be an awesome opportunity for me to learn more about product design. So, I prepared my portfolio to show off the work I was most proud of, at least at the time.

The time between submitting my portfolio and getting an answer about whether I’d been accepted seemed like an eternity. But I got in — my adventure in FIVE could begin! I had no idea what I was getting into, but I wanted to make the most out of those six weeks.

Learning the ropes

FIVE’s work hours are pretty flexible. I usually started my day around 10 a.m. with a daily standup with my mentor and finished late afternoon with feedback on my work, whether remotely or at the office. The first week was easy-paced, I got to know the team, the agency, and the work environment. An internship at FIVE isn’t just about observing, learning, and asking questions. My tasks became more complicated and demanding each day, imbuing me with a greater sense of responsibility.

My team received a new project right at the beginning of my internship. This meant I could be part of something big right from the start. The client was Supermajority, a women-founded non-profit organization focused on building a more equitable future for all women. When we kicked off the Discovery phase, I suddenly found myself doing something I had never done before.

In Discovery, I was involved in ideation and participatory workshops. My research resulted in competitive analysis, personas, and journey maps. I conducted interviews to test design concepts too. There were definitely moments when I was confused or didn’t understand how something meaningful would come out of all these activities, but the more I worked, the clearer everything became. I learned that the perfect projects our professors talk about in college don’t exist in real business; nothing is perfect.

Colleagues? More like buddies

Also, I didn’t spend every minute of my internship entirely focused on work. I met people at FIVE whom I can now proudly call my friends. I hung out on the roof terrace with colleagues in Zagreb, chatted with our New York project team, and attended some cool events, like the FIVE Summer party.

My mentor was easy-going and liked field trips, so we often shopped, had brunch, or drank lemonade at some of the best spots around. When I found out FIVE’s office lounge is essentially a Cogito-powered coffee-house, I tried to master the latte art. I even made a cuppa for Kristi once too.

Expectations < Reality

I loved every minute of my internship; I came up with ideas that our client reviewed directly. Personally, it was a great success because I didn’t know I was capable of something like that. I wasn’t expecting my work to have as much importance as it did or even to present our work to the client and receive feedback!

It was amazing to have a support team that believes in your ideas and your ability to contribute to the product. It was also great to know that my mentor really cared about my development, giving me space to show off my best skills and reach my potential. Kristi helped me express my opinion more confidently and better recognize the core values of the work I was doing. All of this gave me a boost in self-confidence that I struggled with previously.

Nina (right) with her mentor Kristiana (left)

Final words of encouragement

Not only did I learn a ton in Boot Camp, but it also confirmed the path I want to pursue in the future while additionally giving me more confidence when interacting with others.

And for all of you who’re considering Boot Camp or any other internship, some things will be difficult when you try them for the first time, but sometimes you have to put yourself out there. Granted, as an intern, you don’t know much. What you need is the will to learn; everything else will fall into place. In the end, you’ll understand that your effort paid off and that everything you worked on makes sense.

Believe in the person you want to become, and start working on yourself as soon as possible.