Obstacles and Growth

Anna Jiang working at a laptop.
Anna Jiang

It’s March 2020, and my summer is looking absolutely fantastic. Me, a freshman who (let’s face it) never really knows what’s going on in her life, now has plans to intern in Seoul, Korea for two months. Two months in another country, living alone, soaking up the culture, and experiencing new things – I must have been dreaming. And then COVID-19 said “yeah, and keep dreaming <3”

Suddenly, my internship was canceled within a week of my acceptance. A few weeks later, I moved out of my dorm and to my parent’s house for the rest of the semester. Basically, things weren’t looking too great. My summer was looking pretty empty at this point, so I decided to accept a job as a TA for a summer engineering program at Penn. Later on, my friends suggested that I take a summer course with them to get a requirement out of the way. I wasn’t doing much anyway so why not, I thought.

Then, I got the email that my internship had moved online. I already had two other commitments, but I didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. Besides, summer is a whole three months, right? I might as well take advantage of everything being virtual and make the most of it.

This summer, I definitely learned so much more than I expected in such a short amount of time. Balancing my schedule was tricky, as there was a week where my TA job, summer course, AND internship overlapped (and I had a midterm that week to top it all off). Luckily, my other commitments ended shortly after that week and I was able to focus all my attention on my internship. My time management skills improved immensely from this experience and while scheduling was a complete headache at first, I soon became comfortable with time differences and can now calculate them almost flawlessly.

Continue reading at Penn Abroad.