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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

Life Coming Full Circle by Jenny X. '13

C’mon & zoom, c’mon & zoom, c’mon & zooma zooma zooma zoom.

My last post described how I finally made the definitive switch from architecture to media. And since then, I’ve been embarking on new adventures involving writing, kid shows like Arthur, and you guessed it, the Internet.

Back in April, when I was still anxiously waiting to hear back from the slew of internships I applied for, a strange idea popped into my mind: what if I took the risky route and just stayed in Boston – writing and pitching articles? Like some fancy writer in a Paris café, except in a roasted apartment in Boston.

Fantasies aside, it’s a fact that many MIT students take on full-time, 40-hour work weeks during the summer – interning, researching, among other commitments. I was not ready to take on the idea of part-timing or trying out the freelance lifestyle, but the idea had already entered my mind. And we all know from Inception, an idea is a terribly scary thing to plant in the mind…Because we tend to act on it.

So every Thursday and Friday this summer, I hop on a bus to work at WGBH, the organization that produces NOVA, Frontline, Arthur, Curious George, and basically more than two-thirds of the programming on PBS. In other words, I’m working for the organization that was responsible for teaching me English.

When I first came to America in 2000, I literally sat in my room all day and watched PBS Kids. I’ve probably seen every Arthur episode twice, read all of the Arthur books, and played Arthur’s Reading Games on the PC day-in and day-out. I also watched the show ZOOM religiously.

(Does this sound familiar to anyone? or am I dating myself…)

These shows were my after-school routine and I have to admit, even in middle school, I still watched them occasionally. So you can probably imagine how excited I was when I walked around WGBH and saw these:

The actual project I’m working on at WGBH is PBS LearningMedia, which is PBS and WGBH’s effort to give K-12 teachers free online access to tens of thousands of resources adapted from educational programs like Arthur, Zoom, and NOVA. We can see from developments like MIT and Harvard’s edX that education is trying to embrace digital as much as anything, and PBS LearningMedia is trying to do the same for K-12. My role in all of this is mostly marketing: strategizing how more teachers can use PBS LearningMedia in more engaging ways, how to develop a Pinterest presence, etc. Fun fact: back in the day, the WGBH studios were housed in the present day Stratton Student Center at MIT.

Monday through Wednesday though, I’m playing a different role and tackling the working-from-home life. It is actually quite difficult because the Internet is the mother of all distractions and working-from-home is excellent at blurring the line between “work” and “home”. In any case, as the editorial intern for PBS MediaShift, I’m writing articles, doing research, etc. My first article on the implications of the new Internet domain names went up last week and now it’s on-to-the-next one for me.

Plans really do work out in funny ways, and before you know it, you might be doing things you didn’t quite plan for. That’s what happened to me this summer, anyway, and I’m not complaining.

And not to forget family-time, we went to Maine!