By Maddy Shaw

Because this is my last blog entry, it has the potential to be this big, comprehensive reflection. You know, everything I’ve learned this semester and all that jazz. That might be what you’d expect from such a flowery writer as myself, but nope, I saved that for my portfolio.

What is this portfolio, you might ask? Well, happens to be one of the many things that TPC students are stressing out about this time of the semester. You see, that’s the catch about experiential learning: there has to be some component of reflection and evaluation. This really is a good thing, because I’ve done so much in Philly, and I need a place to gather it all – I’m going to want to remember as much of this as I can. A portfolio organizes everything we’ve learned this semester under the categories of city living, city seminar, and internship. Within those categories, we list knowledge, skills, and attitudes and values that we’ve gained through our time here in Philadelphia. The last section is made up of evidence to  concretely display all of this wonderful knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Creative expression and interpretation are encouraged. We’ll present these at our final three-way meetings with our faculty advisors and internship supervisors. It’s a grueling process, but I know I’ll be really happy to have this portfolio in the future. After all, I’m going to need some reading material for when I’m an 80-year-old grandma sitting on my porch all day. 

There’s no way I will be able to completely capture all of my Philly experience, not here, not in my portfolio. So instead, here are a few snapshots.

  • The “Chinese stores” that seem to be on every corner in South and West Philly – they serve a mediocre version of the American rendition of Chinese food, along with some random curiosities like Philly cheesesteak rolls (picture a Philly cheesesteak in an egg roll), funnel cakes, $1 ice cream cones, aspirin, candy, condoms, and every flavor of blunt you could ever imagine.
  • Row houses.The Clark Park Farmers MarketThe Clark Park farmer’s market.

Kickin’ it at 48XX Baltimore Ave.

  • Riding the trolley – sometimes it was nothing special, but there are usually some great characters on there. The night we came home from a day of sightseeing in NYC there was a woman on the 34 who got the whole back of the trolley singing Rihanna and delivered a trolley pearl of wisdom: “stop the crime, get with the times, everybody love each other!”
  • Running in the Woodland Cemetery.
  • Dance parties in our apartment on weekends.
  • Riding my bike everywhere.
  • Occupy Philly.
  • Cracking up with my friends, whether at the Center or in the middle of Times Square (you know who you are).
  • Giving whatever food is in my backpack to the sidewalk-dwellers of Philadelphia.
  • Wednesday and Saturday harvests at the farm.
  • Making calls for the fundraiser.
  • Doing homework in Cedar Park.
  • Murals. Everywhere.
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About The Philadelphia Center

The Philadelphia Center offers undergraduate students the opportunity to thrive through experiential education with PHL:EXP, the Philly Off-Campus Experience. Each term we help students secure professional, accredited internships and independent housing throughout the vibrant and diverse city of Philadelphia. Students explore career paths through real-world applications and rigorous, seminar-style courses. We provide our students with the opportunity to gain independence while learning in a safe and supportive environment. Our students leave Philadelphia with a strong sense of their abilities, social and professional aspirations, and a plan for their future.

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