Waking up early in the morning, taking a crowded bus to school, going to classes with friends, playing sports, and hanging out with friends; that was the daily routine that Mila Fong Gougoutas was accustomed to. These days the rising junior at Lick-Wilmerding High School is doing almost none of that anymore.
The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted many people’s daily lives and having to adjust to the “new normal” has been difficult for most. Social distancing, wearing a face covering, and staying home are the new ways of living. While others may not be abiding by these guidelines, Mila has taken it upon herself to make a change. “COVID-19 has significantly affected my relationships with some of my friends. I’ve noticed some are not social distancing and seeing whoever they want, which I find to be disrespectful to essential workers and those who have been staying at home to try and stop the spread,” she said. “COVID-19 has highlighted people’s core values.”
With more time at home, Mila wanted to spend her summer being proactive by learning about a career path that interested her the most: Communications. “I enjoy reaching out to people, marketing, and interacting with people whenever I can.” Last summer, Mila’s brother was an intern for Project Pull at the SFPUC. He would come home excited, talking about Enrichment Friday’s, and things he learned at work.
This year, Project Pull has shifted from being in-person to completely online. This has presented a few challenges for the interns. “Doing work virtually comes with challenges, but I have found Project Pull to be really engaging. More specifically, one thing that has been challenging for my group is dividing up the work that we need to complete for our final video and not being able to work physically in person with one another,” Mila explained. “Doing Project Pull virtually has taught me skills that I will most likely need in the years to come, as we adjust to our new reality of learning and interacting with others online. I am also thankful for this experience because I have formed new friendships.”
As the Project Pull internship comes to an end, Mila reflects on her time as an intern over the past several weeks. “Everyone has done a tremendous job making this virtual internship experience as engaging and seamless as possible. I have really enjoyed the Project Pull experience and will definitely be applying to return next year, no matter if it is virtual or face to face!”