As a senior in my last semester of Penn, I felt that I needed to create a sort of “Penn Bucket List” of things I should do before I graduate. There’s a lot of things I did do during my past 3 years at Penn such as planning a cultural show for the Chinese Students’ Association, being chair of ASPIRE, and rushing and joining a sorority. But Penn still has so much more that I didn’t do yet and I want to do as much as I can before I leave. As someone who is studying psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, I had my fair share of humanities and science courses. I’ve taken biology and organic chemistry. I’ve also taken a seminar on Asian American Activism and Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean language courses. I’m currently taking a course on Japanese literature and film and an intro to philosophy course. But of all these courses, I still have not taken a course in Wharton.
This semester, I’m taking Consumer Behavior, a marketing course offered through the Wharton school. Being at Penn, I’m lucky that I’m able to take courses in Wharton, the nursing school, engineering school, and graduate school of education despite being a student in the college of arts and sciences. Regardless of which school I am in, I have the liberty to explore my interests across all the schools at Penn.
Although it has just been the start of the semester, I have so far learned that there is, indeed, a difference between courses in the College of Arts and Sciences and courses in the Wharton School of Business. In the first day of my consumer behavior class, we were to write our names on name tags (complete with Wharton logos and all) and students were alerted that this was not only for the professor to know our names but also so that the teaching assistant (TA) can take note of who is participating and how many times we participate. This made me feel anxious and competitive to participate more. In my usual courses, participation wasn’t graded this way and the additional physical nametag component in this class made me wonder if I should stay in this class. I technically do not need the course to graduate and I could take another language course or another psychology seminar. Why should I stay in a course that makes me uncomfortable on the first day of class?
I am staying in the course because it allows me to push beyond my boundaries and challenge my comfort levels. It’s the type of interdisciplinary education that I came to Penn for. Although I am not accustomed to this class style, I look forward to how I’ll adapt and the things I’ll learn.