Author: Jonathan Cousins, SEAS’14
Whenever I meet someone new, one of the first questions that come up is ‘Where do you go to school?’ Upon revealing that I go to Penn, I get a variety of responses, from the sadly common ‘Penn State?’ to ‘That’s a long way from California.’ But the question that sticks in my mind is this: ‘What made you choose Penn?’ Sometimes, when I am basking in the lack-of-humidity that is a California summer, I wonder the same thing myself. There are times, mostly when the weather is poor, when I wonder why I didn’t choose the ocean views of UCSD. But when I got back to campus, I remembered why.
One clear reason was sports. When I got here I had no idea how much history there was in the Penn Athletics community. But upon entering the oldest two-tiered football stadium in the country, and the Cathedral of College Basketball, I was sold. And over the summer, I missed Penn sports. There were times when I just wanted to walk into the Palestra, wait for the band and the basketball team, and watch a game.
But if it was the sports that brought me back, it was the school and community that kept me here. When I got back early to be an OPA! (Orientation Peer Advisor) for incoming Mechanical Engineers, I got to see all my old friends again, and meet some new ones. Instantly I fell back into a comfortable place socially – and I realized just how much I had missed my friends over the summer. And when classes started I remembered that being a Mechanical Engineer at Penn is a lot of fun. In one day last week I both cut metal and flew paper airplanes – and these were both part of classes! Even in a more theoretical physics class, we took pictures of structures and got to talk about what makes them stand up and stay up. I didn’t realize how many metal beams Franklin Field had until I went and took a picture of it.