Elizabeth Moreno, Allegheny College, Spring 2012.
I knew that coming to the Philadelphia Center would give me an advantage in terms of gaining internship and work experience. But I would have never thought that it would do 100 times more! In terms of city living and real life academic experience, TPC definitely changed my perspective. Being on my own has been an adventure that cannot compare to what I had experienced in college.
College emphasizes theory and researching through the internet and academic journals, while experiential learning stresses the practice and to learn by acting and experiencing. Nothing speaks louder than seeing an academic paper come to life and experiencing the reality.
For example, reading about social and urban issues does not necessarily give me any particular emotional attachment. But when confronted with people who are affected by poverty, homelessness, and inequality, I begin to empathize with them and would like to do anything in my power to help. Compassion is a strong feeling, but it’s something that needs to be experienced not read.
At the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I turned the theory of my economic courses into practice by creating my own survey, analyzing current data, and writing my own releases. Numbers can be misrepresented and I learned that remaining credible is highly important. I even went on two government classes! These showed me that even after college, we are still learning. Having a full-time internship is exhausting but the rewards are endless. I was able to see exactly what economists do each and everyday which helped me gain an idea of how I work as a professional and what motivates me.