by Johnna Marcus MSW 15' Candidate
One of the most beneficial lessons that I have learned as an MSW student at SP2 is the importance of taking advantage of opportunities. At Penn, opportunity has come in many forms- from a Hospital at University of Pennsylvania (HUP) field placement my first year to my involvement in student government to obtaining a summer job working at Penn’s international orientation. In each of these examples, I have met exceptional people who have become important resources and support systems for me as I grow as a student and professional.
There is a unique energy that comes out of learning from the experienced, hard- working and talented students, professors and staff at Penn. There are tremendous opportunities to communicate and collaborate with students and faculty across disciplines and build connections that I never would have expected to build. One of my favorite learning experiences thus far was interning in the lung transplant unit at HUP. I was able to gain valuable skills while working with people who have life -threatening pulmonary conditions requiring them to consider lung transplant. This work has put many things into perspective for me as a professional and person. SP2 faculty members were a support and resource for me as I went through this learning experience and challenged myself in new ways through working with patients and staff at the hospital.
More recently, I worked at Penn’s international orientation week. It is through this experience that I have come to understand what it means to be an international student in the United States and the ways in which Penn attracts scholars from around the globe. It was an eye- opening experience that helped me to understand the importance of providing support and guidance for international communities, especially within the academic environment. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet one- on- one with so many students from across the globe.
As a first year student at Penn, you may feel that beginning “rush” and excitement of the first weeks fade as papers and projects begin to pile up. Don’t let those deadlines and to -do lists distract you from taking advantage of all Penn has to offer. This is your time to make the most the most out of Penn- the tools are there, reach out and grab them.
(Johnna Marcus is a second year MSW student and Vice Chair of Communications for SP2 Student Government)