Category Archives: John Mosley

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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Snowed In!

Author: John Mosley, C’14

    Thursday, for the second time in a single semester, the University of Penn ceased normal operations due to the severe snowstorm. Two snow days in one semester. WOW! I know it doesn’t seem like much, but now I have had more snow days during this semester alone than I did during the rest of my time as an undergraduate at Penn. Last year I was a junior and there were none. The year before that I was a sophomore and there were none! There year before that I was an eager-eyed freshman who was granted one whole snow day. So, yes, for me the declaration of a snow day at Penn is a huge deal!

            However, I must grant that, despite granting us students an extra day to sleep in and catch up on schoolwork (or your favorite television shows), snow days are above all else annoying. Thursday I slipped and fell twice publicly! Of course it was worth it for my Wawa soup and coffee.  I had to dig my car out of the snow! That’s no fun. When I was a kid, snow days meant running around outside for hours on end, with no care in the world, building snowmen and snow forts and snowballs, with which to pelt siblings and neighbors. Snow days meant coming inside frozen to the bone only to be greeted with hot cocoa and chicken noodle soup and cartoons!

I guess if my blogs have a theme this year, it’s growing up. I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up, with graduation only 3 short months away. A snow day is a small example of the way responsibilities grow as you get older. Gone are the days of running around tirelessly climbing huge piles of snow. Now, I walk more carefully with each step and I dread the chore of shoveling snow just so I can get out of the house! Then again, who can complain on a Thursday with no class?

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My Penn-ultimate Finals Week

Author: John Mosley, C’14

Today, for the second to last time, I began finals week. Like everyone else here on campus, sleepless nights, endless papers, and drone-like cram sessions plague me. I never feel more on edge or ready to implode than on finals week. But…boy am I going to miss it. I love to learn and I love to prove that I understand what I have learned. These feelings of exhaustion, being overwhelmed, and borderline insanity are totally exhilarating to me. Overnight study sessions at Van Pelt are a natural occurrence for me in later December and early May. Also, somehow, knowing that this is one of the last round of finals I will take as an undergraduate at Penn, finals week has shown me just how much I will miss Penn.

            Yes, this seems to be the theme my blogs will follow as my senior year continues to sprint towards commencement. I am really, really going to miss being a Penn undergrad. No matter how loudly I curse my professors this week, and no matter how many times I slam down a book in frustration, I rest easy knowing how fulfilling my time here has been. I have expanded not only my general knowledge, but also my ability to learn with an open mind and my ability to articulate my beliefs. And for these things, I can thank the hellacious rounds of finals Penn has thrust upon me. So, to any fellow undergrads or even potential students reading this blog, I give my sole piece of advice: Relish finals. Study as hard as you can and put as much effort as possible into this week. It will only make you a stronger intellectual and learner. Now, I’m off to read scholarly articles until my eyes bleed…

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Senior Year

Author:  John Mosley, C’14

I literally cannot believe that it has been almost four whole years since I first stepped into the Sweeten Alumni House to begin my work-study. Since then, I have been given the opportunity to work on a plethora of Penn Alumni projects, including this great blog and the first annual meeting of the class presidents. I also refuse to believe that I have almost completed my undergraduate studies here at Penn. It feels like no more than a year ago I was a wide-eyed freshman excited for the intellectual journey that awaited me. Now I’m just a dead-eyed senior waiting for it all to be over….

commence

Just kidding (of course)!! I still love Penn as much or more than I did when I first arrived here in the fall of 2010. Now I’m just very sad to see my four years come to an end. I have learned so much from the teaching staff. Now I can confidently convey my opinions and findings in both an academic and a conversational context, and I can more succinctly synthesize new information into my current understanding of a wide variety of subjects. Penn has not just taught me a bunch of facts to help me pass some tests—Penn has taught me how to learn. And I love to learn. Also, as I transition from student to alumnus, having worked closely with the staff at Sweeten House, I know that I am in great hands. I have learned firsthand that Penn takes care of its alumni. I am both greatly enthused and incredibly terrified of what the future may hold (a topic I will get into in a later blog entry), but I know with certainty that I could not be happier with my higher education at Penn thus far.

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The Hurric-ation

Author: John Mosley, C’14

As many of you may already know, the University of Pennsylvania closed down operations this past Monday and Tuesday due to the impending Hurricane Sandy. I think that everybody ought to keep checking the skies to make sure there are no pigs flying around up there.

Over the course of the past few days, I remained hunkered-down in my suburban New Jersey home with plenty of junk food, DVDs, my guitar, and, of course, my never-ending supply of homework.  Over the last several days as the devastation unfolded on news forecasts and online reports, my thoughts were (and remain) with those who truly felt the disastrous effects of the hurricane, but, fortunately, my area was largely untouched and I simply received a free, long weekend, which I unknowingly and completely took for granted..  That is, until I arrived at the Sweeten Alumni House this morning and Nicole Maloy, W’95, and director of Multicultural Outreach, helped me to appreciate just how rare the closing of the University really is. She told me of the great “Ice Storm” of 1993 and another in 1995, both of which closed down the University, and I remember a great snow storm a few years ago during which the University closed down operations, but it truly is not an event that occurs often. It really takes a big storm to close this place down!

Luckily, Sandy left campus and the city of Philadelphia relatively unharmed, and the University has reopened just in time for Halloween. Alas, the long weekend for students and employees has come to an end, and I believe it bears repeating:  don’t take days off for granted!

Image Courtesy of Dueling Tampons.

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The Right Audit-tude

Author: John Mosley, C’13

This time last year, I was taking a class called Modern Political Thought. The class included a group of about 8 or 9 seniors auditing the course, which was a new concept to me. Throughout the semester, the auditors posed some of the most fascinating discussion questions to the professor which often led to a deeper understanding (for me at least) of the texts and documents being studied. Since that class, I have hoped to see many more of these senior auditors as I progress in my studies. Last spring, no seniors appeared in any of my classes, but this fall, I was glad to see a senior auditor seated in the front row.

I immediately sat down next to him  and began telling him what to expect from the class. The auditor was very polite and eager to begin. However, when the professor facilitated the first open discussion of the semester, the auditor seemed reluctant to participate, citing the fact that, as an auditor, his role was simply there to “take it all in.” I was disappointed. The auditor refused to participate for the entire class and, unfortunately, has not appeared for a class since.

From what I can see as a student, the senior auditing program is a wonderful way for members of older generations to impart new wisdom and new points of view to undergraduates. The Modern Political Thought class was one of my favorite experiences at Penn thus far, and that is primarily due to the auditors, who applied their combined years of experience and studies to the subject matter and in doing so added a new dimension to the class, which was lauded by the professor. I guess my message is this: to any applicable alumni reading, PLEASE AUDIT CLASSES!

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Presidents’ Day

Author: John Mosley, C’14

Confession: I fear for my future. How could I not? With all the doomsday prophecies and talk of widespread corruption in the American system, it can be hard to see the bright side of things as a college student/future member of the workforce. I can’t even select a course for next semester without wondering how it will one day lead me to a successful career. So, when I was offered the chance to work at an event with many class president alumni last Friday, I did not hesitate to respond with a resounding “of course!”

The event itself was an historical one: it was a get together for eight decades’ worth of University of Pennsylvania class presidents; from the president of 1947’s College for Women to the president of the class of 2015. It opened with the alumni enjoying each other’s company over drinks and a panel discussion with representatives from the Development and Alumni Relations (my employers) and it ended with a delicious dinner and ceremonial cigar lighting outside of Houston Hall. It truly was an outstanding event.

I imagined I would spend the entire event uttering the following phrase over and over again: “Hi Mr./Ms. Class President, are you hiring in the next 4-6 years?” (Basically, I imagined myself all but shouting “I AM DESPERATE AND CONCERNED ABOUT MY FUTURE!”). However, I quickly found that many alumni were glad to share advice and personal stories without prompt. I was told the story of an actual “rags-to-riches” story by the president of the Class of 1963. I was then given a refreshing reminder that life will throw me curve balls, but sometimes, the best thing for a career is a major shakeup and reevaluation (this was from the Class of 2000’s president).

All in all, I repeat, this historical event was absolutely wonderful, both for me and for the alumni. These men and women are so proud to be able to give back to the University they love. For my part, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to  to be part of such an event and to receive such indispensable information at the first alumni class president get-together in years.

You can view all of the photos from the event here.

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Eine schöne Sprache

Author: John Mosley, C’14

I’ve never been one who excelled at linguistics. High school Spanish for me was just memorization on a test- by-test basis followed by a mass exodus of the information from my mind right afterwards. When I was choosing classes for the first semester my freshman year at Penn, I decided I wanted to try a different language, and one that tied directly to my family heritage. So, I chose German. However, the first two semesters ended up being the same as high school. No interest, except for passing the class. Last semester, and more so this semester, that mindset has changed for me.

I now have the zeal to learn the German language. I understand why some people are averse to this particular language, given the often dark history (die oft dunkele Geschichte) of the country, but as one who takes these classes, I can tell you that the German people are so much deeper and richer than that part of their history. In fact, the history itself is a focal point of the course, which as a political science major, is another appealing facet of the class. So far, we have not only learned the language, we have also studied the 1920s in Germany, Hitler’s rise to power, the second World War, and the way the German people have tried to come to terms with their past.

I have seldom felt such a sense of satisfaction as knowing that I can somewhat fluently converse with a German native about his/her own culture’s history and society. Danke, Penn!

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Whose Side Are You On?

Author:  John Mosley, C’14

Choosing a major is an important and extremely exciting step students must take over the course of our tenure at the University. A year and a half ago, a wide-eyed freshman name John walked on to the campus eager to begin what he was sure would be a fulfilling and challenging four years as a biology major. One intro class later, the thought of biology made him cringe or shake with anger.

As you have hopefully picked up by now, I’m John.  And now, in my fourth semester, I have officially declared Political Science my major. This was a huge step for me, as now I can truly focus my course load on the topics relevant to fulfilling a degree in my chosen major. I have also declared a concentration. You see, the political science major has four possible fields of concentration: American Government, Comparative Government, Political Theory, and my choice, International Relations. That means for the next two years, my schedule will be filled with courses such as Terrorism, Global Economics, Politics of the Middle East, and so on.  I could not possibly be more excited for these potential classes. I also have the potential to take an entire semester in Washington D.C., with an internship to boot!

But why choose political science? Isn’t there a less cynical and corrupt field one could choose to pursue?  The answer is yes, but I don’t care. And to be honest (as I am watching a Republican primary debate while typing this), I have become a lot more cynical since I began concentrating my studies on political science. While I do finally understand what the pundits on CNN are talking about, I also understand how fundamentally messed up (for lack of a better phrase) our system is. There are too many greedy public figures running this country. I hope that with my chosen major, I can enter the field (albeit probably not as any sort of candidate) and inject some genuineness. I hope there are others at the University who want to do the same because, like it or not, we are the next generation to take the reins of this country, and we haven’t been left with much more than a huge deficit and a few wars.

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Technology: A Student’s Worst Enemy

Author: John Mosley, C’14

Each morning, as I stand in the shower or eat breakfast, I mentally schedule out my day of work and school. I know that from 9 to 5 I will either be attending class or doing my Work-Study at the Sweeten Alumni House. Usually, at 5 PM,  I eat dinner. Every day, I tell myself that after dinner, I will work more diligently than ever before on studying and getting homework done. And, once the meal is over, I pace confidently to my room, knowing that the unprecedented amount of work about to be done  will consequently make my life easier in the future. I open my door with purpose to find my laptop computer sitting innocuously on my desk. I know that this will be an important tool in typing my essays and printing out articles to study for my classes. Little do I know how many distractions await me on this machine.

…Ok,  I lied. I know how many distractions are on my computer. I know about YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and all the innumerable other websites that will keep me busy for hours on end while my schoolbooks collect dust in my book bag. But I just can’t help it! That is the biggest problem with students of my generation. We have all been spoiled with the greatest and most entertaining technologies the world has ever known for our entire lives, and now, not even college can break our addiction. So, within 30 seconds, my resolve is gone and my homework is relegated to the late hours of the night, shearing off hours of much-needed sleep.

After an hour or so on the Internet, I often decide that my behavior is unacceptable. I decide to sit on my bed, where my laptop cannot seduce me and I can get some real, honest-to-goodness work done. Just as I open a textbook, a thought occurs to me: I should really text my mom and let her know about my day. She probably misses me. Then, taking my phone out, I realize how many great games I have on it! I could spend hours smashing things and outrunning enemies on my phone! This seems like a great way to spend some time. After all, I’ve had a long day of classes and work, so I’ve earned this. I’ll talk to mom tomorrow, anyway.

See what happened there? I’m surrounded. Technology dictates my actions in my free time. Yes, I always get my work done on time, but at what cost? Hours of sleep are lost because of my lack of focus, and I know for a fact that I am in the majority of college students. Technological advances in entertainment have destroyed our focus and work ethic. This is our eternal struggle. Seems trivial in a world full of real problems…

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