As I sit here at my laptop, thinking about the best way to sum up the semester, I cannot help but wonder where the time went. As clichéd as it sounds, this semester truly was over before I even realized it began. It seems like just yesterday that Sarah met with Leah, Bridget, and I for the first time and outlined the expectations for the semester. I was so full of energy, optimism, and hope at the time, and as I reach the end of the gauntlet that this semester has been, I can’t believe it went by so quickly.
I wish I could say I adhered to that original plan a little more closely, but alas, life got in the way and I never felt I was able to perform at my best. This semester I encountered a lot of challenges I’ve never had to deal with before, such as a broken computer, much more challenging classes, and a crisis of identity and uncertainty about my career goals. However, despite all the missed deadlines, late nights spent wondering what on earth I was doing with my life, and anxiety, I believe that I have grown a lot as a person. The entire time, the Center for Global Studies was there to help challenge me and enrich my life in a multitude of ways.
The wide array of guest lecturers helped me to experience viewpoints and cultures from all over the world. It fostered greater curiosity in me about life outside the cozy (and convenient) confines of America. Each lecturer I interacted with was infinitely interesting, generous, and fascinating to listen to. Michael Gaw, the Assistant Director in the Division of Trading and Markets of the SEC, in particular struck me as an inspiration. Like me (so far), his college career had an unconventional path without a clear goal for the future. Also like me, he lived in Cincinnati, OH. Speaking with him and hearing his lecture highlighted the importance for me to discover what I am best at, combine that with things I am passionate about, and then figure out a way to market that skill to employers.
Helping to plan the Onward on Climate Rally as my intern event was one way that I felt I was able to do this during the semester. It allowed me to combine my love for environmental activism with my writing skills to help bring a great cause to the Penn State Community, and thanks to the CGS, the event was able to reach more people and make more of an impact.
In the midst of all the chaos of the semester, this internship has given me the opportunity to develop crucial skills for the future and practice tasks that are applicable for many different career paths. Luckily, it also showed me many things I need to do better. Time management and self-motivation certainly top the list.
I am thankful for the opportunities this internship has presented me, and most importantly, the wonderful people it has surrounded me with. Whether it was the guest lecturers, my bosses Sarah and Mary, or my fellow interns Bridget and Leah, the people here have inspired me to grow as a student, employee, and person. Although I will no longer be a member of this fantastic team, I’ll always have a fond spot in my memory of the time spent with the Center.