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.
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 🙂
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?”
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.
Spring has finally sprung on campus, dear Quakers, and just in time for Penn’s greatest weekend ever: it’s time for FLIIIIING!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 !
This is the week of all weeks for Sigma Kappa. Today marks the second day of Big Little week!
For those of you who don’t know, Big Little week is an event that all Penn sororities hold for their new members. Girls from the newest pledge class – the “Little” sisters – get paired up with girls from the pledge class above them – the “Big” sisters (i.e. a freshman gets paired with a sophomore). The catch is that the Littles don’t know who their Bigs are!
Reveal – the day that the “Littles” finally learn who their “Bigs” are!
For a full week, each Big organizes ways to celebrate her Little and welcome her into the sorority. This can include baking, giving sorority apparel as gifts, making posters, and (my personal favorite) getting frat guys to sing/dance/read poems or books/do anything you can think of for your girl.
After spending most of my weekend crafting, baking, and contacting friends in fraternities, I am pretty tired. And I still have 3 more days of this! I have to admit, though, it is extremely rewarding to see how much the girls appreciate what we do. They’re having a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see them all meet their Bigs on Friday!
Finally, I can say that I’ve made it above the fold! In case you missed yesterday’s copy of the DP, Counterparts made the front page for our stellar performance at ICCAs this past weekend at Drexel. Of the 50 groups competing in the Mid-Atlantic Division, we are one of 10 that will move on to semifinals. They will take place at Rutgers later this March, which gives me more than enough time to watch “Pitch Perfect.” 🙂
Aw, thanks John!
We performed three songs from our Fall show – “Big White Room,” “Lady is a Tramp,” and “Creep.” Lilly, a fellow CP sophomore with me, added in simple yet effective choreography for each song as well. Overall, it took us a little over a week to fully prepare and refine our set list. Nina, our Music Director, Swaroop, our President, and Lilly did an incredible job with getting us to performance level! It’s no wonder that, in addition to advancing to semifinals, we won both Best Choreography and Best Soloist Performance. If only John Legend could see us now…
I am so proud of CP. This is the first time I have ever “competed” in something relating to music, and I won’t deny that it does feel different. I admit that I find much more satisfaction in performing for people I know. However, to have external recognition of what I myself have known along – that Counterparts is an extremely talented group – is certainly gratifying. We’re a musical force to be reckoned with, and I know we will show that in the next round. The road to ICCAs has just begun!
Nina, Swaroop, and Lilly holding our awards for Semifinalists, Best Soloist, and Best Choreography
Yes, second semester is finally upon us, and I am still on my winter break sleep schedule. But I’ve missed dear old Penn, and I am thrilled to be back in the bustling atmosphere of classes, activities, and friends. More importantly, I can now satisfy my strange craving for Houston Hall’s sushi.
Things certainly are busy for only the second day of school. Rush has officially begun for Sigma Kappa as well as the other Panhellenic sororities. I’m already exhausted from yesterday’s Open House, but I am even more excited to get a brand new pledge class in SK!
Counterparts is already in the midst of selecting our Spring semester repertoire, and we will soon begin rehearsals for our February performance in the ICCAs! For those of you who have seen Pitch Perfect (unlike me!), you understand that this is a pretty cool event. I don’t know much about it, but I’m always ready to be back on stage singing with CP. More details to come!
The ICCA performance in Pitch Perfect. AKA my study guide!
For today, however, what I’m most excited for has nothing to do with sorority life or a cappella. Today’s post, in addition to being my first one of the new semester, is the last post I will be writing as a teenager. At exactly 12:17 AM tomorrow morning, I will be 20 years old! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m about to become a “twenty something.” I’ve seen the numerous BuzzFeed posts about this particular age group, all of them hilarious albeit slightly concerning. Technically, I am a young adult. So, how much of my life actually needs to be put together? Quite frankly, I’ve always felt the label “teenager” was like a “get out of jail free” card for behavior. Neurotic, eccentric, angsty, or overly emotional? Hey, blame it on puberty and hormones! I’m hoping I still have some of that leeway when I turn 20.
So, you can bet that I’ll be celebrating tomorrow, and you should too! Well, maybe not celebrating my birthday specifically (though I’d certainly appreciate it 🙂 ), but rather celebrating a new year, new semester, and the new opportunities that come with it all. Good luck this Spring, Quakers!
Happy New Year, Quakers! I hope you all celebrated accordingly 🙂
Since we’re only into the second day of 2014, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to look back on the many fond memories I had in good ol’ 2013. However, this is, after all, a Penn blog. That’s why I’m using this post for My Top 12 Penn Moments of 2013, one for each month. Enjoy, and try to think of your Top 12 Penn Moments as well!
I get invited to become a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority! I celebrated my acceptance with my new sisters all through the night, right into my 19th birthday the next morning. Talk about a great birthday present!
I finally meet my Big!
Big-Little Week for Sigma Kappa! (For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Big-Little Week,” click here for more info.) After a FULL WEEK of anonymously-sent baked goods, gifts, and guys, I discover who my wonderful Big is: Tara!
Spring Break has arrived at Penn, and what better way to spend it than with my fellow Quakers! I take a weekend trip to Tenafly, NJ with my good friends Charlotte and Gabby, both of whom I met through the freshman seminar “Katharine Hepburn Films.” I also travel to New York City with a few members of Counterparts: Lilly, Scott, and Nina.
Enjoying Fling with some SK girls and Mask & Wig guys!
CP about to take the stage
Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here. I have two big moments from April 2013. The first, of course, is Spring Fling. I mean, how can I leave that out? It’s the largest collegiate carnival on the eastern seaboard! Not to mention, it was my first one. The second moment: Time to Shine, of course. Counterparts was one of the many student groups to perform before the Train and John Legend concert. What was even cooler was that we were the first group to sing on the same stage as these artists!
My freshman year at Penn finally comes to a close, but not before I start recording for the new CP album! In the midst of studying for final exams, we all come in at various times to record various songs from first and second semester.
A beautiful day to see the Arc de Triomphe
Bonjour de la France! Already having departed in late May, I am entering my third week in Tours, France with the Penn-in-Tours summer abroad program. For six weeks, I study a year’s worth of French at the Université François-Rabelais with about 30 other Penn students. We all live with host families and go on weekend trips around the Loire Valley, visiting castles, exploring museums, and tasting wine! After mid-terms, we are given a three-day weekend to travel anywhere in France. I, along with my friends Rachel, Emily, Fola, and Faith, decide to spend those days roaming the magnificent city of Paris.
A summer is not complete without a trip to the beach. In addition to my family’s annual vacation in Strathmere, NJ, I spend a weekend in Wildwood with my good friend, Alexa. She’s one of the first friends I made at Penn!
BACK. TO. SCHOOL. After another summer of not tanning at all, I am ready for Sophomore year to begin! Before NSO even starts, however, I kick off the new school year as a student leader for the PennArts pre-orientation program. I participated in PennArts as a freshman, and it’s just as fun to experience it again as a leader. The 50-60 of us explore all the arts that both the Penn and Philadelphia communities have to offer.
The PennArts leaders are ready to welcome the freshmen!
CP welcomes its newest members: David, Emily, Michael, and Andrew!
Date Night? More like Neuro Night! A Wharton junior in SK has partnered with the drink company, Neuro, for a class project. As a thank-you for all of her hard work, Neuro brings in manicurists and hair stylists to the SK house to help the girls get ready for our Date Night downtown!
Sarah, Virginia, and I try some Neuro while we wait to get our hair done
After weeks and weeks of rehearsal, Counterparts performs its Fall show, “Private ‘Parts.” I sing a jazz song by Melody Gardot called “Baby, I’m a Fool.”
I am invited to sing at the Mask & Wig Club’s annual Charity Ball! The band held auditions earlier in the Fall, and several girls (a bunch of them in CP!) were selected to perform. The guys were extremely fun to rehearse with, and the songs were so much fun! Of the three events I sang for, Charity Ball was definitely my favorite. Everyone dresses up in gowns and tuxedos for a night of great food, dancing, and music. What a classy way to close out the year!
Me and my date, Luke
And there you have it, 2013 through the eyes of a Penn Quaker. I hope 2014 brings just as many great moments like these, maybe even more! Enjoy the new year, Quakers 🙂
In case you haven’t heard yet, Quakers, Finals Season is in full swing. This explains why I haven’t posted recently, but with 1 final and 2 papers already completed I am back in the blogging game!
I am sure many of you remember from your college days the various “study breaks” offered by different college houses and groups at Penn. Anything for free coffee and muffins, right? This year, however, I had the pleasure of taking a study break that was a bit more, well, unconventional.
Planning the College Christmas Party is a delicate art. It’s more than just ugly sweaters. One needs the perfect amount of hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, one or two competitive games, and of course a rockin’ holiday playlist. Fortunately, the lovely ladies in Harnwell Room 1712 are experts at throwing the ultimate College Christmas Party.
Alexa, Leah, Katie, and Nina have been some of my closest friends at Penn since my pre-orientation program and NSO. Last year, they planned an awesome Christmas party from Alexa’s tiny single in the Quad, and luckily they had a bit more to work with this year in their apartment. Leah baked mini quiches, Nina made latkes, Alexa and Katie ran the Post-It Note game and Christmas Bingo, and I had the honor of making the playlist.
Again, the festivities were a success! Not only because of food, games, and music, but more so because of the company. It’s very easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom of finals season. I can feel bogged down by the papers and the exams, of course. But one evening with friends is enough to remind me that I’m not in this alone. We all have crazy amounts of work, but we also have each other as study buddies or necessary distractions. Academics are an integral part of life at Penn. I’d like to argue, however, that friendships are just as – if not more – important.