The Penn Ten: Ten Lessons I Learned at Penn

By Samantha Grasso, C’18

Always Be Open to Meeting New People: The point of attending college is to receive an education.  I can state with confidence that I have learned a lot inside the classroom while at Penn, but my experience has been special because of the people.  There are several individuals who have transformed my college career. What is interesting though is that I did not meet them, until junior year.  Although it is important to maintain relationships, never be afraid to say “hi” to an unfamiliar face and establish a new connection.      IMG_5027

Take Advantage of Office Hours: I have always been THAT student who attends office hours and asks a lot of questions.  The secret is that professors actually enjoy this. Professors teach because they are passionate about doing so.  Attend office hours to increase your understanding of class material, but also to get to know your professors; they are people too!

Join Extracurricular Activities that Force You to Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone: I never thought I would be a member of a sorority or an improv society, but I am a member of both.  Penn has over a hundred undergraduate organizations, so become involved with at least one of them.  You can join one to expand your network or to simply have fun, but never be afraid to take the leap.  When I have deviated from my normal, I have grown the most.


Explore Philadelphia: Penn Students are fortunate because they attend school in one of America’s greatest cities.  Philadelphia has restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and more, so it is important to take advantage.  You should make an effort to go off of Penn’s campus once a week and explore the city.  Doing so will only enhance your time at Penn.

Always Make Time for the People and Things You Love: Penn is an academically rigorous institution.  While it is great to be challenged, sometimes you forget that a world exists beyond the library.  Although it is easier said than done, make time to do activities you enjoy or see people who make you happy in the midst of studying or doing work.

IMG_8834Be You: Everyone at Penn is intelligent, talented, and incredible.  It is a great feeling being a part of this dynamic student body, yet it can be overwhelming because you might start to compare yourself to others; you should never do this.  By measuring yourself against others, you lose sight of who you are.  Being who you are is what got you into Penn, so be unapologetically you each and every day.

Reach Out to Alumni: Use QuakerNet!  This resource allows you to connect with Penn Alumni.  Penn Alumni love hearing from current students, so reach out to them if you have questions about your major or career.

Become Familiar with Perspective: Every student at Penn has received a bad grade or experienced some form of rejection.  In the moment, these things can make it seem as if the sky is falling; that is never the case.  This means whenever you are overwhelmed, take a step back and reconsider the situation with a more optimistic lens.

Attend Events: It is impossible to be bored at Penn.  Every night there is some event you can attend.  Whether it be a sporting event or a performance, it is happening on Penn’s campus.

Start Each Day with a Good Mood: Ever since I was young, my dad has said, “When you wake up, you can be in a good mood or a bad mood.  Choose the good mood.”  This advice has been extremely helpful, while I have been at Penn because when I choose to start each day in a good mood, my days automatically become better.  If you begin your day with positivity, Penn cannot throw anything at you that you cannot handle.  Instead, each day at Penn becomes better than the previous one.



Samantha is a senior majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a concentration in Choice and Behavior. In addition to being a co-chair of the Penn Traditions committee, she also belongs to the College Dean’s Advisory Board, Seniors for The Penn Fund, Penn Improv Society, Media and Entertainment Club, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship, and Sigma Kappa Sorority.


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