Alternate Title: ‘I’ve Had The Time of My Life’ playing softly in the background
As my time in Germany comes to a close, I’ve had the time to think and reflect on my summer in Berlin. Overall, I am so, so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to not only travel halfway across the world, but to also work and experience life in one of the fastest growing and most energetic cities in the world. As the time has passed, I have felt myself grow personally, academically, and professionally, and I am so excited and eager to bring my new post-Berlin lifestyle to Pittsburgh.
In any kind of internship during college, growth in a professional sense could be expected. But as I near the impending doom of a graduation deadline, it feels as though every internship experience I get should be giving me all the answers to my problems, and every second should be meticulously detailed as I prepare to enter the professional world. This summer experience has taught me that perhaps this doesn’t need to be the case. I went into this summer being pretty lost about what I wanted to do post-grad, and as of right now, I can probably say that I feel the exact same way. But that’s not a bad thing! Of course I still stress about this fact, but the thing is, it’s less stress. If anything, I know that I was placed in a rather unfamiliar work environment, and was able to assess my surroundings and use all my previous knowledge to thrive in the workplace and make the most out of my internship. This summer has not enlightened me on what field, industry, or career I would want to do, but it has shown me something else: how I can manage and adapt, what kind of professional environment I want to work in, the kinds of interactions I want to have, the kind of bosses and supervising style I like. It has allowed me a brief glimpse into a professional world, and I have noted the dos and don’ts, the pros and cons, made my lists, evaluated them, and then made them again. I think my professional growth this summer stems from this idea that I really don’t know what I want to as a career, and while some may think that no growth can come from this idea, I tend to disagree. I have continued to learn a lot more about what it means to work in a professional environment, time management, utilizing my resources, and being confident in creating relationships with my coworkers and supervisors. And of course, all this learning has intertwined with my academics. Having practice and real-life stakes when it comes to getting things done is always a good thing in my opinion, and certainly a more or less polished skill I can bring to campus.
I also conducted a lot of research this summer, and spent a decent amount of time creating research reports and quick presentations on my findings. As I enter into one of my last academic semesters, I will be taking my Political Science capstone, a class that I can only assume would be extremely research heavy. Using this skill, and remembering how exactly to use this skill, will be useful for me in my academics in the next year, as well as any additional schooling I may pursue. Lastly, some of the most enlightening academic growth I went through happened in the language department: obviously, German was put to use in Germany. I can’t say I am still super confident in my comprehension skills, but I can get through ordering at a restaurant pretty well, and sometimes, I even convinced people I could really speak German, as they didn’t respond to me in English! Experimenting with the language has also driven me to know more, resulting in me spontaneously taking a German placement test, and subsequently signing up for an intensive everyday German class back at Pitt. Oops? My work at Stein & Partners also allowed much room for me to use my Chinese, as I often translated and wrote out short presentations for our Chinese clients and business partners.
Personally, I think I have continued with my upwards growth in independence. I have always prided myself on being a rather independent person, and this summer was truly the chance to prove that. Not only was I throw into a situation and group in which I had to start from scratch to form friendships, I was also in a new city, didn’t really know anyone, and was navigating a new workplace by myself. This time gave me the ability to form some great friendships and relationships that I cherish, as well as be more confident in myself and my own independence, my own goals, and my own overall ability to ~navigate~ through life, in a foreign city or not. This summer, I’ve evaluated the things that are really important to me and my lifestyle, and made sure I kept those in mind as I waded through the world, and came the other side having the time of my life.