Classes at Penn started this Wednesday, which left me feeling extra insecure about all the free time I was letting slip by. This week, I continued my search for a part-time job while exploring a few new hobbies.

The highlight of my week was cat-sitting with my roommate. My entire camera roll this week has been photos of this cutie! Taking care of him has only reaffirmed my lifelong desire to take care of a pet of my own sometime soon.

Attempting to maintain some structure in my life with this weekly blog

With my undergraduate coursework finished and 9 months to go before I start grad school, I’ve decided to take a leave of absence from Penn for the spring semester! I’ll be on campus in an off-campus apartment in Philly but will not be taking classes. I also decided not to take on any full-time roles until the summer, giving me 5 full months to myself with no hard commitments, responsibilities, or deadlines. I haven’t had that kind of freedom since childhood, and I plan to take advantage of every second of it!

Why I’m taking a gap semester

Many college students decide to take a gap…

Photo by Ricardo Rocha on Unsplash

I got into design by accident.

I’ve always seen myself as a scientist at heart. Growing up, curiosity about how the world works and experimentation as a means of better understanding it challenged me intellectually in a way my past creative endeavors never had.

As a kid, I loved to draw. I didn’t have the best attention span, but I could spend hours on end drawing, refusing to take a break until I finished. However, as I got older, I grew bored of repeatedly replicating scenes stroke by stroke.

musings and reflections from my first ‘design’ hackathon

Photo by Anthony Indraus on Unsplash

Originally published at https://jesstan.me on November 27, 2019.

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Princeton University with my good friend Linda Ting to design at Rehack, the first ever collegiate reverse hackathon. We were challenged to “think deeply about [our] interactions with technology and redesign consumer tech products in a more meaningful, socially responsible way.” You can check out our final project here.

I started my product design journey at Penn, where I’ve been doing all I can to learn on my own and from those around me. However, Rehack gave me the opportunity to escape the Penn bubble…

Why I started to write about design

Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

Originally published at https://jesstan.me on October 26, 2019.

I’ve sat down to write my first blog post more times than I’d like to admit. Starting a blog to document my progress has been a goal of mine since starting college a year ago. I’ve tried using any and all benchmarks, milestones, and completed projects as triggers to start, but life has given me plenty of excuses to procrastinate.

Recently, I realized it’s not lack of time that’s been holding me back from writing — it’s fear. Fear that I’m not qualified enough to write about topics I’m still learning about…

Jess Tan

student @penn & designer @pennlabs | portfolio @ jesstan.me

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