Benjamin Franklin statue on College Green in the snow

Penn Admissions Blog

Classes, Registration, and Major Madness
Zach | September 15, 2017

The weather has finally turned cold here in University City. Once covered with students in tee shirts and sandals, Locust Walk now is host to students wearing puffer coats and boots. This change in temperatures means that the end of the first semester is quickly coming to an end. It also means that a new semester is right around the corner.

I have had a lot of anxiety about this next semester for a lot of reasons. First, as a transfer student, I am still fairly unfamiliar with Penn’s way of registering for courses. Unlike my old institution, everyone at Penn pre-registers at the same time, ranking their classes and providing alternates in case they can’t make it in one of their first-choices. Second, there are SO many classes I want to take, but I only am allowed to take (and have the mental capacity for) 5 credits. Third, I was unnecessarily worried about credits and graduating on time. Lastly, this upcoming semester is when I have to officially declare my major, which feels like a commitment that will span and affect the rest of my life (which is probably not entirely true).

And so, I struggled a lot these past few weeks with trying to populate my mock schedule with a well-planned and reasonable load of courses for next semester. I was even changing classes on my schedule up until the last hour. Coming into Penn, I knew I wanted to study Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), but I found myself questioning this. I worried that it might be too broad of a major and might prohibit me from really focusing in on a specific discipline. I went through the list of majors on the College’s website and once again tried to envision myself studying a few. Political Science? Nah. Communication? Not quite. Economics? Too much math. After talking with my advisor, my friends, my parents, and even myself, I ended up where I started: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. I did, however, pick up a Legal Studies and History minor along the way.

Now, I could not be more excited for next semester. I am excited to delve deeper into my major and take more high-level classes within it. While I am not totally pumped about all the exams and papers to come, I AM excited about what I will be studying… and I think that is when you know you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Here’s to hoping I was able to get the classes I wanted!

I am writing this to say it is OKAY and NORMAL to not know what you want to study and/or change your major even when you feel like everyone around you already knows what they want to do. There are so many opportunities and different educational pursuits at a place like Penn, and it is okay to get confused by them. It’s just important to eventually find out what makes you tick.

About the author

Welcome to the world of Penn! I am in the College studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a concentration in Choice and Behavior. I came to Penn last year as a transfer student from a small liberal arts school up north and I have absolutely loved my time here. When I am not writing my stream of consciousness on this blog, I am working at the Admissions Visitor Center, volunteering with Penn Best Buddies, doing research on management and organizational behavior with a brilliant Penn professor, and thinking about the law with Phi Alpha Delta, Penn’s only pre-law professional fraternity. I love leisurely strolls on Locust, cold brew from Saxbys, and all the Magic Carpet cookies on this side of the Schuylkill! Tag along for what will undoubtedly be a fantastic ride!

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