At times, a school like Penn is likely to have high-pressure, competitive environments. Sometimes it’s easy to be completely absorbed by them, particularly during midterms and finals season. I believe that it is extremely important to watch out for one’s well being and to give it as much time and attention as striving towards good grades or being engaged in extracurricular activities. While there is no secret formula to avoid stress, there are ways to be happier and have more fun on campus. It’s all about trying to find a balance. I have found that exercise is crucial, and oftentimes we forget about it because of how busy we are. I personally try to do yoga, boxing or running 6 or 7 times per week, and although these activities seem like a strange combination, the joint product is very rewarding. Yoga is a great way to work out while mediating, stretching, and concentrating on poses of balance and strength, while boxing is about power and speed. Similarly, I find running (particularly outside before the cold season) to be a great way to get cardio done and to release stress. Learning what makes you feel good and helps you power through the stressful times makes a world of difference.
Getting off campus and experiencing a change of scenery also helps me be the best version of myself. I like getting off campus at least once a week, especially given that Philadelphia offers countless activities outside University City. There are phenomenal museums, like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, or the Barnes Foundation. These museums offer both permanent and temporary exhibits.Philly is also a perfect place for foodies, and there are some great restaurants downtown, which I often try out with friends. The orchestra and the ballet have weekly performances, and last-minute tickets are available for students for $10-$15. For more outdoorsy people, during the fall you can take a quick trip outside the city to go apple picking, and during the spring you can go see the cherry blossoms. In my opinion, Philadelphia offers something for everyone.
Even during the busiest of weeks, when it’s hard to get off campus, there are options. Going to the movies, getting dinner with friends, or even going ice skating are some things that my friends and I have taken advantage of this semester. During my time at Penn, I have discovered that sometimes it’s easy to forget how much our well being matters when we get caught up in the routines of being a student. Since most of us are far from home, our families are not close to remind us to take the necessary time to replenish our energy and caution against spreading ourselves too thin. I think it is so important to give our happiness the relevance it deserves, and take time to enjoy our experience as Penn students.