Upperclassmen told me it might happen, but I was sure the same wouldn’t happen to me. I don’t know if there’s a term to describe it, but to me it’s a kind of homesickness. For around 1500 students, the Quadrangle is out first home at Penn. My hall was a part of the Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship program, and we all lived as a crazy family (I would definitely recommend these programs to incoming freshmen especially for the insane amount of free food you’ll get). Every day was packed with constant human interaction from teaching my neighbor to knit to the rhythm of Niki Minaj’s rap songs to cramming biology lab reports in the floor lounge. Of course I’m biased, but even objectively, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported that we were the tightest hall.
To try to combat not seeing each other as much, many of my hall-mates, and I even decided to live close to one another in the same High Rise. But it’s still not the same. People I chatted with when I left for class every day suddenly have disappeared. Interactions require planning weeks in advance instead of just yelling to ask who’s free to your own 30-person Penn microcosm. Moreover, it’s not just about the Quad, but sophomore year brings about it’s own distancing factors. Students become more involved in their Greek life organizations, recruiting, and more. We may realize many of our friends have changed or even that our own ideals have shifted.
What we move towards is a new routine, perhaps with new or less people. One of my friends who said he faced similar concerns has an Excel spreadsheet to ensure he meets all of his friends often! In an effort to see all my friends, I would have 2 lunches and 2 dinners a day during the first month of school. The impossibility of maintaining the freshman experience is difficult to digest, but talking to both upperclassmen and sophomores, it’s definitely a common problem. Maybe the spontaneity of relationships is less, but it’s also comforting that I have so many amazing people around me. Every Penn student probably agrees that the people here are best part of school, so I guess all we can do is try our best to reach out to friends and be happy we have such an incredible community in the first place.