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 🙂
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!
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 🙂
It’s a shame that my job has me blogging only twice a month. A lot can happen in two weeks, especially when you’re a Penn student. These past several days were particularly buzzing with activity, so I’ve decided to make this post a re-cap of what I’ve done since my last post. Enjoy!
October 22nd – 25th: Going GrΣΣk
This year’s Greek Week t-shirt logo
As a Junior Delegate on the Panhellenic Council, I helped organize this fall’s Greek Week. Panhel, IFC (Interfraternity Council), and MGC (Multicultural Greek Council) sponsor a week of academic, social, and philanthropic events for the Penn Greek community each semester. This year, we hosted a Penn Faculty Speaker Series, an Academic Bowl trivia game, a dodgeball tournament, and a Meet the Greeks BBQ. The events were really fun, and they did a great job of bringing together the various frats and sororities on campus!
October 27th: Running for the Cure
After 13 years of playing purely water sports, I decided to run my first ever 5k: the Rena Rowan Ribbon Run. The final Greek Week event, the Ribbon run benefits the Rena Rowan Breast Center at Penn’s very own Abramson Cancer Center. The Rowan Center provides all clinical services a woman facing breast cancer may need; including integrated cancer treatments, psychosocial counseling, cancer risk evaluation, and nutritional counseling.
SK at Rena Rowan!
I ran in honor of my Mom, whose strength and knowledge of her diagnosis brought her to theAbramson Cancer and Rena Rowan Breast centers. Some fellow Sigma Kappa sisters joined me, and our team ended up doing extremely well! We placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th overall in the Women’s division, and we won Best Sorority Participation!
November 1st – 2nd: Private ‘Parts
Our fall show poster
After almost 6 weeks of rehearsing, Counterparts finally performed our fall semester show “Private ‘Parts”! Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the show title was dectective themed. Just look at the poster! In all seriousness, though, the show was fantastic. I sang a jazz number called “Baby I’m a Fool” by Melody Gardot. It’s been my favorite CP solo so far! My family came to see us perform, as did a lot of my friends and alumni of the group. After the show, past and present CP members went to City Tap House for dinner to celebrate another successful show. Videos of our performances will be up on our YouTube channel within the next couple weeks, so stay tuned!
Counterparts, before the start of our fall show!
November 3rd: Handle With Care
The album cover for Handle With Care
Counterparts’s newest CD, “Handle With Care,” is officially available! We recored the CD last spring, and since then our Music Director and President were working with the studio to mix and master each track. And the results are incredible! One of my solos from last year, “Your Heart Is As Black As Night,” is featured on the album. I’m so excited to listen to it, and I’m so proud of CP. Our hard work really paid off! We sold a lot of copies this past weekend at our show, but we have also made it available for download online. Take a listen, and buy it today 🙂
November 5th: QUIZZO
This year’s logo for SK Quizzo
SK is kicking it into gear with preparing for Quizzo. There are now 10 days left until the event, and we still have so much to do! We’ve been actively recruiting teams across campus (Right now, I’m working on registering both a Counterparts and a Mask & Wig team) as well as collecting donations, creating flyers, and ordering shirts for the event. The prizes look awesome: free spring break trips, free overnight stays at hotels in Atlantic City, pro athletic gear, Tory Burch bags, club box tickets to 76ers games, and gift cards upon gift cards. I wish I could play!
Today, I officially assume my role as both a work-study student at Alumni Relations and a sophisticated writer in the blogsophere. We’ll see how well that second job goes.
Needless to say, I am extremely excited to share with you all my sophomoric experiences as a sophomore here at Penn! Whether it’s late-night study sessions in Van Pelt or early morning brunches at 1920 Commons, flinging toast at football games or jamming during a cappella rehearsals, I will try my best to capture the many facets of campus life that remind me why I chose this incredible institution. So, here goes nothing!
At 9:00 PM on Tuesday night, a to-go box of pasta and green beans in hand, I made my way to room F95 of Huntsman Hall with another 120 girls or so. It was time for the weekly chapter meeting of my sorority, Sigma Kappa!
Since I was given a bid to join last February, I have loved every minute of my time in SK. The motto for the sorority is “One Heart, One Way,” a phrase that rings true to its members. I had the amazing luck of getting into the same sorority as three of my other very close friends. What was even more amazing was the number of close friends I made over the course of the semester. Formals, philanthropy events, retreats, through it all I have met girls with interests and ideas that really intrigue me, regardless of whether or not they were similar to my own.
Bid Night 2013 – I am officially invited to join Sigma Kappa!
Wing Bowl – SK’s Spring Philanthropy Event
Although the school year has only just begun, Sigma Kappa is already up and running with events! Two weeks ago, the girls and I went on a boat cruise for our Sisterhood retreat. All aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia, we were treated to brunch, dancing, games, and a breathtaking view of our fair city. For this week’s chapter, we started planning our fall philanthropy event, Quizzo. Ranked last spring by 34th Street magazine as the best trivia event of the year, SK’s Quizzo is packed with fun facts and prizes! The money we raise goes towards our national Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Grant Program, one of the many charities we support.
S(K)ailing at our Sisterhood Retreat!
Finally, today is the beginning of our annual Moms and Special Women’s Weekend! We’re kicking off these next few days with a Meet the Moms dessert reception at City Tap House tonight at 8:00 PM. Other activities will include dinner in Center City, brunch at the Sigma Kappa chapter house, and both the Memory Mile Walk and Penn’s Second Annual 5K for the IOA (Institute on Aging). This weekend looks pretty packed, and I can’t wait to spend it with my mom and my SKisters!