Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd’13
Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful time with family and friends and are taking a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I’m back in my hometown celebrating the holidays with my family, but I wanted to share with you some of holiday cheer I experienced in Philadelphia and elsewhere during December.
In early December, International Student Affairs in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) organized a trip for GSE students to Longwood Gardens in Kenneth Square, PA. I went with some of my classmates and was truly overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of the grounds, both outside and inside the conservatory. In the conservatory, because of the history and architecture of the building, I felt as though I had stepped back in time to the Gilded Age or Progressive Era. Pierre du Pont, the famous businessman who purchased the property in the early twentieth century and opened Longwood Gardens to the public, once entertained guests in the conservatory during the holiday season. Many of the decorations in the building referenced that tradition.
Penn’s campus and downtown Philadelphia also displayed a lot of holiday cheer. Below are just a few pictures for you to enjoy.
Best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy New Year!
Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd’13
Now that the fall semester is coming to a close and I’m almost done with all my papers/projects/exams, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my first semester of grad school.
Some of the most rewarding things of this semester were:
- Participating in the English Language Programs language exchange—my language partner and I became good friends, and we learned a lot about one another’s culture
- Participating in the Philadelphia half marathon—what better way to see the city than to run through it with friends?
- Bonding with my cohort in the Graduate School of Education—we all came from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but we’ve come together as a supportive group.
- Working on final projects for several of my classes. Students were able to tailor projects to their specific interests.
And now, some of the things I wish I’d known before starting grad school:
- If you take time off between undergrad and grad school, it will take a few weeks (or months…) to get used to academic reading and writing again.
- Again, if you take time off, you may be surprised to find that your study habits have completely changed. In undergrad, I was a night owl and did most of my studying until the early hours of the morning. But after five years of working a day job, I can’t stay up past midnight, no matter how much coffee I have!
- In a lot of ways, grad school is more independent and less structured than undergrad. This gives you a lot of freedom to explore your interests, but it also means you have to work harder to make relationships.
Now I’m looking forward to spring semester and graduating in May. I’m planning to do a lot of reading over winter break, so that hopefully next semester will be a little less hectic than this one has been. I’m also really excited to go a Phillies game—I wasn’t able to make it to a home game this fall.
After the race in front of the Rocky statue