Although I am no longer living in Sydney, Australia, the semester is far from over. Despite unprecedented circumstances, there are still responsibilities to uphold amongst challenges to overcome. The transition home and into a remote learning model was not necessarily a smooth process, but it was a necessary adjustment which helped me put the experience into perspective. I was fortunate enough to have a one week notice due to Pitt’s prompt response to the international emergency, but some of my friends had to pack up and leave in only a day or two. Adaptability is the greatest skill I have developed through this unplanned time. Throughout the semester my schedule varied on a daily basis and to be notified of only having a week and not a month left, I tried my best to make the most out of my semester abroad.
Collaboration is another transferable skill I have progressed over the last two months. In multiple classes, we engaged in projects working with students based in London. There were various difficulties in trying to communicate across very different time zones and figure out what topics to research as our professors managed the projects in unique ways. Now that we are all back in the States, our professors have reoriented the projects to work with students within our classes in Sydney, however, we are still unable to work in the same time zone as we are spread across the country. With video projects to complete, we have adjusted our filming methods in order to produce a quality product against the same rubric. Not only am I able to collaborate with people I have never met in person, but I can communicate with them as well.
At my internship, I was also consistently collaborating with various departments to develop reports for different clients. There was a need for clear communication to understand what was needed from the client and how our company wanted to produce it. We also had coworkers in parts of Asia that we had to collaborate with on projects which required daily active communication.
Moreover, I have learned to be more responsible for myself and my activities. Time management is a skill that was required to be able to prioritize all my classes, work 20 hours a week, and still have time to explore the city of Sydney and beyond. I found that although a scheduled routine helped most days, it was still difficult to plan every day, especially due to the unpredictable weather forecast and trying to make decisions with my large friend group. Even my work scheduled varied from week to week in terms of what days I would come in. I was fortunate to have flexibility in that regard so I could work hard during the week and have my weekends designed in a “go with the flow” mindset, which allowed me to be in the moment and enjoy every second.
So even despite a pandemic, I am able to stay positive amid the crisis. As I learned this semester in one of my classes, the Chinese symbol for crisis is actually composed of two characters: danger and opportunity. I had the best two months of my life that made me the happiest I have ever been and I can never lose that. I also developed skills that will carry me through the rest of school, into my future career, and in my everyday life. As I work towards completing my classes and collaborating with my professors and peers, I am reminded of all the wonderful memories I made while in Australia and that my journey is never really over as I continue to grow from these experiences.