Reflections from Mariah: A CS Communications Student

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” My mom has instilled this quote in me for as long as I can remember. Never in my wildest thoughts would I have imagined being sent home from Chicago because of a global pandemic, but here we are. That saying has been with me from the moment I received the email saying Chicago Semester students were told we were being sent home. I remember reading it because my heart sank into my stomach and disbelief flooded my mind like smokey clouds fill the sky on a gloomy day. The Windy City had easily won me over and become my new favorite city in just eight short weeks. Having to leave the friends I made and relationships I built at my internship was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, however, going back home meant I would get to see my family sooner than anticipated which was a huge positive.


Fast forward a few days after receiving the news, and I had arrived back home in my charming hometown of Pella, Iowa. The moment our car slid into town and the tires drove over the brick paved streets, it’s like I hadn’t been gone more than a minute, but I was still craving the city. Arriving home meant it was time to create a new normal and learn how to go about my life in quarantine, aside from the occasional stroll around the block.


I am so grateful to still be on the team at Indirap. My internship work hasn’t changed a ton, aside from I don’t get to be with my awesome team members everyday or go on set with the filmmakers a few times a week. What I wouldn’t give to have just one more day with all of them, but I’ll definitely visit again once this is all over. For my internship, I help a lot with creating social media posts on Photoshop, assisting with creative documents for projects, and am currently in the midst of incorporating TikTok into their repertoire to expand their already brilliant marketing plans. All of the work I get to do is fun, but being absent from the other team members has been the most challenging. The owner of the company sat right across from me and he is probably the most driven and disciplined person I have ever met. Everyday he would load up on espresso shots and when he was on his fifth or six one he would walk around the office saying motivational things like, “We aren’t here to be normal, we are here to create mind-blowing projects, let’s gooo people!!” and so many similar sayings. He is pretty obnoxious and it makes me so happy, but when I was there I finally felt like I had found my people. Bold people are not for everyone, but they are definitely for me.


Classes also look quite a bit different now as well. Let’s just say, I have never FaceTimed a professor before this week, but I am beyond grateful for technology that brings people together. In true quarantine fashion, my classmates, professors and I all use Zoom to have class meetings and discuss what we worked on in the previous week. My projects have varied from architectural design and history of Chicago, self-reflection assignments, and delving into the rich history of the arts in Chicago and how Covid-19 is being handled. Although I would rather be meeting my classmates and professors in person, it can be fun to video chat with one another and see everyone in their own homes. It always makes the conversations a bit brighter when people bring their pets on camera, I’ve done that a few times now! It’s a bit more challenging to stay focused on work at home, but it’s just another learning opportunity because “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”!


As happy as I am to be back with my family, I feel like my head is in Pella but my heart is in Chicago. I’ll be back very soon, Windy City.



Mariah Kooyman