Category Archives: Student Perspective

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 :)

 

Leave a comment

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

Londontown

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?

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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!

 

 

Leave a comment

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

Where in the World

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

Spring Break is slowly winding down for us Penn students, though I can’t say I’m entirely heartbroken.  While many of my friends spent the past week vacating in warmer climates, I stayed right here in good old Philadelphia, which wasn’t so bad until the Ides of March kicked in.  (Kudos to anyone who got the reference in that last link!)

I’m not that discouraged, though.  My time to travel will be here before I know it!  It was only a few weeks ago that I recieved my acceptance into the Columbia in Paris program through Penn Abroad :)  This September, I’ll be going back to France to study abroad for the entire Fall 2014 semester.

My acceptance e-mail.  I'm going to Paris!

My acceptance e-mail. I’m going to Paris!

I’m extremely excited about the immersion experience this program offers.  I’ll be taking classes at both Reid Hall (the institution designed specifically for study abroad students) and a Parisian university.  There are so many in the city, and I get to choose where I want to enroll!  I also have the opportunity to live with a host family, which I did this past summer in Tours, France with the Penn-in-Tours summer abroad program.

What I am most excited for, however, is the opportunity to live in Paris (skip to 1:45) for the semester.  I visited the city for three days during the Penn-in-Tours program.  I can only imagine what it’s going to be like living there for three months!

Staying with the Pixar theme :)

Staying with the Pixar theme!

I have my first abroad meeting when school is back in session.  It seems like such a long way off, and I certainly don’t want to rush the rest of this semester.  I can’t deny, though, that the sooner I’m back on a wine and cheese diet, the happier I’ll be :)  Vive la France !

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Carolyn G., Photos, Student Perspective, Travel, Uncategorized, Video, Videos

Open House

Author: Michelle Ho, ENG’14

Recently I was given the opportunity to be the student speaker at the Collaborative Classroom Open House.  The Collaborative Classroom is a new classroom on the first floor of Van Pelt Library, off the hallway leading to Weigle Information Commons.  From the way the classroom furniture is arranged to the cutting-edge technology in the room, the design of the Collaborative Classroom aims to facilitate active learning.  In the classroom, active learning can take the form of problem solving in teams, peer reviewing written work, or delving into a case study, among other activities.  To help facilitate these activities, students sit at round tables and face each other, instead of in rows where they face the professor.  Each table has its own dedicated projector system where students can plug their own laptop or tablet and display what they are working on.  The walls on the classroom also double as whiteboards and projection screens so you can annotate directly over what you are projecting.  This semester there are nine courses such as social policy and practice, geology, and writing seminar being held in the Collaborative Classroom.  Imagine how much more interactive writing seminar could be if you edited a piece by projecting it on the wall and having classmates take turn making edits by writing over it for the table to see.

OPENNed blog1

So how did I get to become involved with this?  Well, the Collaborative Classroom is actually a joint project between the Penn Libraries and the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (the branch of Penn Student Government that I am a member of).  The idea for the Collaborative Classroom came from two previous SCUE Chairs, Scott Dzialo and Joyce Greenbaum.  Together, they envisioned that having a space like the Collaborative Classroom on campus would allow for SCUE initiatives such as problem solving learning (PSL) and the flipped classroom to be possible.  Unlike previous SCUE projects like building Penn Course Review, instituting Fall Break, and implementing pass/fail grading, there were physical roadblocks – in terms of finding and configuring space – in addition to administrative and policy roadblocks.

After meeting with people across campus, the construction for the classroom was made possible by two Penn alumni, Larry Bass (W’67) and Chuck MacDonald (W’81).  As one of the founding members of SCUE, the Bass family embraced the idea of the Collaborative Classroom and saw it as a way to commit to SCUE and the Penn Libraries.  The MacDonald family matched this gift and also made possible an Innovation Fund to support the classroom.  The Open House was a way to thank the donors and also show off the classroom to faculty and students.  As Mr. Bass and his family were able to attend the Open House, it was a fantastic opportunity for SCUE members to meet one of the founding members of our organization and get a front-row perspective about the history of our organization.  The generosity and input of the Bass family has shown that participation in any extracurricular opportunity at Penn doesn’t have to end with graduation.  At SCUE in particular, we have been inspired to start an Alumni Newsletter and plan alumni get-togethers.  Moving forward, we are excited to collaborate with the Library and also faculty members to develop more courses for the Collaborative Classroom.  Of course, we are also looking forward to working more with our alumni!

OPENNED blog2OPENNed blog3

Leave a comment

Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Campus Life, Michelle Ho, Student Perspective, Uncategorized

Spring Break in Philadelphia!!

 

This will be my first time in my whole academic career that I’ve never gone home for Spring Break. I’m used to running away from the cold to sunny Las Vegas’s upper 60 degree. This year, I will be staying put. I’ve survived some crazy snow storms and my master’s comprehensive exam these past few weeks. Now, I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t snow while I’m on spring break. Although it’s only a week, it feels like I have an enormous amount of time on my hands! What should I do to fill in that time? Sleep in? Order out? Watch Netflix non-stop? Ah, that’s what the weekends are for!

I’m debating where to go and what to check out in the city.  I’ve recently received 2 free tickets to the Barnes Museum which I plan on exploring. I also have a curiosity to check out the Philadelphia Flower Show currently going on. Here’s a list of possible places I might go to:

Reading Terminal – what treasures does it hold?

The Penn Museum- it’s free for Penn students!

The Edgar Allan Poe House – I hear admission is free

The Liberty Bell Center – I figure this should be on my to do list

Love Park- It’s iconic. It’s as must.

The Philadelphia Zoo- taking a break from school work and watching animals be animals sound appealing

King of Prussia Mall- because a girl’s got to do some window shopping on a graduate school budget

Attend a Pacer’s game – because I can’t live in Philly without actually experiencing a sporting event

I’m also searching for the best cheesesteak hoagie in town. This might take some in depth research. Any suggestions would be great!

If anyone is attending NASPA’s  (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) Annual Conference in Baltimore on March 17-19th please let me know. I would love to connect with Penn Alumni.

Count Down to Graduation:  71 Days!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Edna G, Philadelphia, Student Perspective, Uncategorized

“We Are Blind to the Dark”

Author: Carlos Dos Santos, C’17

It’s no secret that Penn has a huge LGBT community. We are considered one of the most LGBT-friendly schools in the nation.

It’s interesting to note the fact that I’m writing this in the first place. Before coming to Penn only a few months ago, I was afraid of even writing about my sexuality. There was absolutely no documentation of it—I either kept it to myself or ripped it all to shreds. That goes to show how far I’ve come here. That goes to show how powerful an accepting environment is for an individual, and how truly powerful and motivating Penn’s campus has been for me. From not being able to talk about it, to coming out to people at Penn, to coming out to my parents and friends, to writing a blog post about sexuality.

And I’m not the only one. I’ve been surprised several times by other freshmen whom otherwise seemed very comfortable with their sexuality, only to discover they had, too, only just come out once they had gotten to Penn.

I don’t think people understand how important development of one’s sexuality is. Not knowing, not being sure, living in self-denial, is walking through a tunnel without any light at the end—the light is in our minds, it is what we want and desire, how we wish things really were in the world—and even that many of us feel compelled to push back to the farthest depths of the subconscious. It is, for us, the epitome of oppression. It is what chains us to the bottom of a tank slowly rising with water.

Without the sense of understanding and acceptance I’ve come to know at Penn, I hardly know where I’d be now. Would I be out? Would I have accepted myself for who I am? I doubt it. I think, of all the things for me to be grateful to Penn, it is the community that has come to see no difference between different types of sexualities. The acceptance isn’t just within the LGBT community, but within all of campus. It’s a chosen blindness—people here choose not to care about such trivial matters.

Penn has become a home for me, in large part because it has made the transition of coming out so much easier. It gave me a support group when I was preparing to come out to my family and friends back home. It introduced me to people I’ve become close to, and will continue to call my closest friends for years. It continues to inspire me, and other LGBT students, to fight for change in the world. Penn’s doing a great job of that, too. The LGBT center here isn’t just a place for acceptance, but also a huge player in the realm of LGBT politics and LGBT rights. We will continue to fight for LGBT rights, because they are necessary. The safe haven this university offers only exists, unfortunately, within the bounds of University City. Outside exists another world, one with different people and different beliefs. Out there, there is much less acceptance and tolerance. The pressure to be “normal” is suffocating. It takes years for some to come out. Some never do. And all the while they contemplate to themselves, “But why can’t I just be who I am? Why can’t it all be easier?” The LGBT community suffers from depression, anxiety, consumes more tobacco than the average population, and the rates of suicide are through the roof within the LGBT population. Clearly, the consequences of intolerance within our culture can be serious—even fatal. Penn sees that, and knows it well. Many of our own experiences provide motivation to fight for those who feel like they cannot speak.

And so, we beat on, boats against the current. The rivers will rise, they will flood, they will threaten us, and they will endanger the entire LGBT world. But for all the rivers in the world, here stands Penn, one of many places still fighting for human rights, and here it will stand.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Carlos S, LGBT, Student Perspective, Uncategorized

Looking forward to the Challenge

Author: Noelle McManus, C’17

As many people might know that read this blog, I was heavily involved in the theater community here at Penn last semester. The last time I spoke about it, I had just been elected to the general board of iNtuitons Experimental theater Company! Well now we are working at lightening speed towards our Spring production! We are performing Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo! This play focuses around two U.S. Marines, and an Iraqi translator as they navigate a world of greed, mystery, and betrayal after running into a recently deceased tiger. The play explores the power and perils of human nature.

I was lucky enough to receive the position of Master Carpenter for this show as well as being Assistant Tech Director. I’m very nervous about Mater Carpenting for this show because I have never done this before. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve helped build sets and I’ve even designed them. But I was never in charge of building and running tech hours. Lucky for me, I have two really great mentors to help me through the process. (And the set isn’t entirely too complex!) The hardest part is going to be building a topiary! The play calls for 5 different animal topiary pieces. But I look forward to the challenge!

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Noelle M., Student Perspective, The Arts, Uncategorized