Category Archives: Student Perspective

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

By: Carolyn Grace, C’16


I’m finally back on the blog, Quakers!  And boy, does it feel good.

For those of you who don’t remember, I spent last semester studying abroad in Paris through Reid Hall, a joint program between Columbia and Penn.  I took classes in History, Cinema Studies, and French (le duh) at both this international school and at the Sorbonne.  But like all study abroad programs, my adventure in Paris was not only comprised of studying!

Living with a host family, getting lost in art museums, sipping cappuccinos in cafés, catching the last metro home after a long night out, sprawling out on the grass in a luscious garden, exploring boutiques on streets big and small, this was over half of my education abroad.  And these are just a handful of the activities I did in Paris alone!

If you’re interested in knowing more about my adventures, check out the blog I kept last semester: For the Love of Paris.  You’ll find photos, videos, songs, and most importantly musings of my time in Europe.

But that semester has come and gone, and I admit that for all the fun I had overseas, I am incredibly happy to be back on Penn’s campus.  I missed my friends, my classes, and my activities.  I missed being a part of a thriving campus culture that, although stressful at times, encouraged me to be proactive.

So I’m back in the swing of things, but with a bit more gusto than last year!  I’m singing with Counterparts and sitting on the board as Alumni Relations Officer, I’m helping run Sigma Kappa as Vice President, I’m writing for 34th Street and Penn Appétit, and I’m beginning to conduct research for my Senior Honors Thesis for my History major.

Don’t worry, there will be future blog posts where I’ll delve deeper into these topics!  Just know for now that I’ve hit the ground running this second semester of my junior year, and I’m glad to have that academic cardio in my life again.

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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Carolyn G., Clubs, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

New Beginnings

Hey guys! My name is Kaila Brown and I am the new Graduate Assistant for the Penn Alumni Office. Words cannot express how excited I am for this new opportunity!

Penn Alumni Grad Assistant

Kaila Brown, GEd’15

I made the great move from Atlanta to Philadelphia, roughly a week ago and ever since then every day has been filled with Philly adventures and new beginnings. Orientation for the Graduate School of Education began bright and early Monday morning. It was truly exciting and inspiring to sit in the ballroom surrounded by some of the brightest minds pursing their love for various aspects of education. There are, both, international and domestic students of all races and backgrounds, and it will be such a pleasure to have these diverse opinions and thought processes shape class discussions. On Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending my specific program’s orientation where I was able to meet my fellow cohort and some of the faculty. I will be earning my Masters in Higher Education. Even though I only spent a few hours with my cohort I already know this is going to be an insightful year learning from a range of students who all bring something different to the table. Every person I met matched my excitement about the quick year ahead! I begin classes tomorrow and can’t wait to learn from some of the leading lights in the field of Higher Ed.

While I know that it will be challenging, I am so thrilled for this next year and can’t wait to see all that it has to offer!


Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education

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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Student Perspective, Sweeten Alumni House

I’ll Be Seeing You

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

Hit play and start reading!

It’s been a week of “lasts” here at dear old Penn – yesterday was my last chapter meeting with Sigma Kappa, today was my last day of classes, and Friday will be my last rehearsal with Counterparts.  Normally, I’d be excited for the closing of yet another school year.  Summer’s just around the corner, and I’ll get to spend it with so many of my friends who are choosing to stay in Philly!  But for one reason or another, I don’t feel that excited.  At least not right now.

Maybe it’s the rain (sorry, I mean MONSOON) outside.  Maybe it’s the looming papers and final exams that I have in the next couple weeks.  Or maybe it’s the realization that I’ll be boarding a plane next semester instead of driving 45 minutes to move back on campus.  Whatever it is, I’m sad to be nearing the end of my sophomore year.  It was hard getting back into the swing of things when I returned to campus this past August, and it by no means got any easier.  But in spite of all that, I can say with confidence that it was better than my freshman year.  I was presented with new and exciting opportunities, and more importantly I met new and exciting people, people who I am honored to call close friends.

I found this picture in my room earlier this afternoon:

It’s the first picture of me from this academic year, the first day of NSO to be exact.  I definitely had no idea what the year was going to be like, but that didn’t stop me from goofing off with my friends!  That seems to be the best way for me to combat the anxiety of not knowing, acting silly.  Hopefully, I can keep a similar lightheartedness as I enter my semester abroad next year.

I wonder what my last picture from sophomore year will look like.  I guess I don’t really need to know right now.  There’s fun in not knowing.

Until next year, dear Quakers.  I’ll be seeing you.  Thanks for reading :)


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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Carolyn G., Clubs, Memories of Penn, Penn in the Summer, Photos, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Video, Videos


By: Rachel S. C’16

I never thought I would study abroad. I’m a transfer, so my time at Penn is already shorter than most, but as an International Relations major, I felt obligated to apply for an abroad program. I filled out the application very last minute, and was both excited and anxious when I found out I was accepted– now I had a big decision to make.

The great thing about Penn is that there are so many opportunities and activities going on at any time, but that also makes it easy to feel like you’re missing out on something. I considered the opportunity cost of going abroad– all the meetings and classes and late nights with friends I would miss– the financial costs, the academic planning and maneuvering I’d have to do, and I still had almost no idea if I was going the day before the deadline to respond.

My decision came down to a conversation I had with a fellow transfer. I explained to her my concerns and worries and excitement and fears about going to London, while she patiently nodded and listened. At the end of my long, long rambling, she gave me simple, clear advice: “Why are you worrying? You know what you want, and you should go with that.”

She was right. Penn is great because of all the opportunities it offers, and going abroad is one of them. I forgot that in the pull of Penn’s campus that I’d always wanted to study at one of the world’s oldest universities in a city rich with history and food and culture that I’ve always loved. Next semester in London, I’ll try to remember that advice: you know what you want– why aren’t you going for it?

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Filed under Interview Program, Patrick B., Rachel S., Student Perspective

Do You Want to See My Show, Man?

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

Tapping into my inner Pitbull while rapping  "Timber" with the Mask and Wig band!

Tapping into my inner Pitbull while rapping “Timber” with the Mask and Wig band!

Well, Fling has finally been flung, dear Quakers, and oh what a wonderful weekend it was! As planned, I danced to David Guetta, sang/rapped on stage with both Counterparts and Mask and Wig, and ate my weight in fried oreos. All in all, a successful few days :)

But my performances are not over!  Oh no, my biggest show of the semester is coming up this weekend: the Counterparts Spring show!  If you’ve clicked on the link, then you’ve just discovered that our show title “Do You Wanna Build a Show, Man?” is, in fact, “Frozen”-themed.  Because “Frozen” will always be relevant.  Always.

I have to say, the publicity we’ve done for this show is pretty awesome.  We have a great series of posters (see below), and we just released a promotional YouTube video as well.  However, if you haven’t seen “Frozen”… well I don’t know what to tell you.  None of these references will make sense.  So I suggest you watch the movie before coming to the show.

Our poster for "Do You Wanna Build a Show, Man?"

Our poster for “Do You Wanna Build a Show, Man?”

My Facebook profile picture to promote the show!  I know, it's pretty adorable.

My Facebook profile picture to promote the show! I know, it’s pretty adorable.

We’re back in Iron Gate Theatre, where I sang in my first-ever CP concert.  It’s a beautiful space, and I can’t wait to see it packed with my friends, family, and Counterparts alumni!  Our set list is also stellar.  I’ll be singing “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” with one of our new members, Andrew.  In addition, we have songs by the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Sara Bareilles, Ariana Grande, Hall and Oates, and Delta Rae…just to name several.

Like the many other student artists on campus, I am always in a bit of shock when I enter the week leading up to my show.  It’s crazy to think about how much work I’ve put into the semester for Counterparts, and it’s going to be culminating into only two performances this weekend!  It’s times like these that I try to truly appreciate the level of talent and dedication to the arts that exists here at Penn.  Though I cannot go to every show that happens on campus, I will always applaud the effort that goes into any and every performance.

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Filed under Campus Life, Carolyn G., Clubs, Photos, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Video, Videos

Winding Down

By John Mosley

I literally cannot believe that graduation is in just over a month. I know it seems like a cliché thing to say, but it truly feels as though I just walked into the Quad for the first time to scope out my new dorm room (that would be Fisher-Hassenfeld, by the way). I am in awe of the merciless speed at which my four years as an undergraduate at Penn have passed me by, and I will detail those feelings in my next blog (which will probably be my last as an active student!). For this entry, I’d like to take some time to extol the work done by my colleagues at Sweeten Alumni House and the whole crew at Development and Alumni Relations.

There is no question that Alumni Weekend and Homecoming are two amazing events, which bring together multiple generations of Penn alumni and their families. However, even more amazing to me is seeing the work done behind the scenes in the months preceding these events. From securing catering to registering alumni for events, the DAR team coordinates and plans these events almost in their entirety. In the four years I have served as a Work-Study student for the Sweeten office, I have been able to see firsthand how alumni have given back to Penn, and how Penn continues to give back to its alumni. My work here has instilled in me a confidence that, even after commencement in May, the Penn community will keep me engaged, offering workshops and events around the globe (including web seminars and a travel program).

As has been the consistent theme with my blog posts for this school year, I am terribly excited to graduate and begin any number of new chapters in my life story. After spending four years at Penn and at Sweeten, a great deal of uncertainty about my future has been removed: I know that, wherever I go and whatever I do, I have the Penn community and its resources behind me.

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Filed under John Mosley, Student Perspective

Flung, Wild, and Free

Author:  Carolyn Grace, C’16

Spring has finally sprung on campus, dear Quakers, and just in time for Penn’s greatest weekend ever: it’s time for FLIIIIING!

Goofing around in the Fling photo booth :)

Fling 2013: goofing around in the photo booth :)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or you just happen to be reading this blog post and you don’t go to Penn, Spring Fling is the biggest (and best!) college festival on the East Cost, in existence for now over 40 years.   The festival actually has a pretty rich history and is certainly one of Penn’s biggest traditions.  Without a doubt, it’s the favorite tradition among students!

The theme for this year’s Fling is the oh-so groovy  ❀☮ PEACE LOVE AND FLING ❀☮  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super excited.  SPEC has a great line-up for the big concert on Friday: Magic Man, Ra Ra Riot, and headliner David Guetta!  I wasn’t familiar with the first two artists when SPEC first announced them, but after to listening to them on Spotify I am so stoked to see them perform live.  Here are a couple favorites of mine from Magic Man and Ra Ra Riot, both of which I hope are played at the concert!

“Paris” by Magic Man

“Beta Love” by Ra Ra Riot

Lilly and I before CP takes the stage!

Lilly and I before CP takes the stage!

As great as the big concert is going to be, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the Quad concerts the most!  It’s the chance to see my friends in other performing arts groups rock the stage in front of the entire student body.  I’m especially excited to watch Bloomers Band, Penn Glee Club Band, and Penny Loafers a cappella (good luck guys!).  Counterparts will also be singing in prep for our Spring show…but that’s for another blog post ;)

The final performance, however, is going to bring the walls of the Quad down.  Some lovely ladies of Counterparts (Sam, Swaroop, Lilly) and I will each be singing with the Mask and Wig band!  Their performance is the final one of the entire Fling weekend, and it always draws a huge crowd.  I can’t wait to be up on stage with them, mostly because my performance is going to be something I’ve never done before.  I’ll be singing the song Timber by Ke$ha and Pitbull.  Well, actually, I’ll be rapping it.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m going to be rapping Pitbull’s part of Timber.  And I literally cannot wait.

A crowd shot from the Mask and Wig stage.  I'll be up there in almost a week!

A crowd shot from the Mask and Wig stage. I’ll be up there in almost a week!

So grab your fanny packs, don your neon tanks, and make room for the fried oreoes, dear Quakers.  The countdown to Spring Fling begins NOW!



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Filed under Campus Life, Carolyn G., Clubs, Events, Photos, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Video, Videos