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Penn Admissions Blog

College in a Remote World
Ria | October 27, 2020

College is an experience normally characterized by lots of people of a similar age living and learning in close proximity. Now, it is unable to function as it normally does. However, there are a couple of elements of college life that I am really enjoying and/or finding helpful, and they are two of my classes and the internship recruitment processes.

Firstly, some of my classes function really well remotely. Two, in particular, are CIS 105: Computational Data Exploration, and CIMS 180 302: Film in Residence. The first course is a nice introduction to Python, and I’ve been wanting to take it because I want to learn how to code and it fulfills a requirement. The course is great online largely because of the stellar teaching team. The professor makes himself incredibly approachable and available for any and all questions, and getting to meetings is a little easier when you’re not trekking all over campus, but rather just logging in. He also has a forgiving approach to students not understanding a concept and is unbelievably patient even when explaining things multiple times. The TAs are also fantastic and have office hours peppered throughout the week that are very helpful.

The next course, CIMS 180: 302, is interesting as well. It is a half-credit cinema studies course and normally operates by screening movies in the rooftop lounge of one of the high-rise on-campus residential buildings. Now, it operates via zoom screenings and discussions, with the option to watch the movie on your own time and send a writeup about it to the professor within 48 hours of the screening time. What I really like about it is how it gets me out of my comfort zone—normally, I like sitcommy things like The Office, but this pushes me to think about film and art in new ways by watching different styles of film. I highly recommend it!

Additionally, recruiting for a junior year summer internship is dramatically different when virtual. A large part of what makes the process stressful is the peer pressure, which manifests in things like people wearing their suits to class because they are coming from/going to an interview, seeing hundreds of people packed into a room for a company’s info session, constantly overhearing conversations about interviews, and feeling overwhelmed at career fairs. Now, because we are not around other people as much, the process is less stressful because that peer pressure is less present. Career fairs are now 10-minute one-on-one calls with recruiters that you can schedule in advance, instead of waiting in line to hopefully hand a recruiter your resume. The best part, though, is the dress code. While I might be wearing business formal from the waist up, I’m normally in my gym shorts or pajama bottoms, which is a much more comfortable position to be in for an interview.

All in all, online college is a major shift for all students, but I have experienced a few positive changes. I am excited to see how we continue to adapt to and improve our virtual world, and am confident that it will only get better!

About the author

Hi everyone! My name is Ria, and I’m a student in Wharton who is still exploring what all the different concentrations have to offer. I grew up all over but lived in Dubai, U.A.E. before moving to Philadelphia, a city that I absolutely love to explore on the weekends. On-campus, I am involved in Wharton Council, Passion Projects, and work-study at the Development & Alumni Relations department. In my free time, you can catch me reading, doing yoga, and going on walks by the Schuylkill River.

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