Opening the email from Penn Admissions with the invitation to attend Quakers Days might have been the most surreal moment for me throughout the college process. Quaker Days is an event in which all admitted students come together to take in Penn’s campus as well as meet other admitted and current Penn students. With this invitation, it finally set in that I could be attending a school I had put on the backburner of my mind for so long. Not because I forgot about it naturally, but because I chose to not think about the order to keep myself from internal disappointment or sadness if rejected.
While I was excited to see if this school was going to be the place for me and really take it all in, I was so apprehensive for what I would actually find out. I could hope I would like the school all I wanted but until I was actually there in the thick of things, I would never really know.
The nursing school held a few information sessions, panels, and talks on the beginning of the first day. My dad came with me to hear these talks and ultimately see where he would be sending his daughter to study four tough years to obtain the coveted nursing degree. Everything we heard here was breathtaking. It is one thing to read in a pamphlet or in a newsletter, praising all the scholars and the work done at Penn. But it’s another to hear it from those at the forefront of this cutting-edge innovation. While this all could have been really intimidating to us, seeming as though the school would be too much, they effectively intertwined these talks with student panels and academic advisors, and even cultural groups to show that it was possible to succeed. Also, they made it clear that you had help at every turning point and that there was more to life at Penn than just the constant study grind. They wanted us to pursue all passions and interests, even those beyond the classroom.
It was after exiting the auditorium to break for lunch that I knew positively that this school was going to be for me. I was sold. And most surprisingly, so was my dad. My dad is a no-nonsense, thoughtful man who can critically think anything to a T and doesn’t make rash decisions. If I’m ever in a tough decision-making situation, I try to emulate how he would process the information and make a well-rounded, educated decision. But as we walked out together, he looked at me and I could see we were on the same page. Without coming to Quaker Days, there would have never been this much assurance about the school not only in my own mind but in another that I trusted so dearly.
This feeling of assurance that came over me during my Quaker Days has honestly helped me get through so much during my time at Penn so far. Sometimes it feels like the world and all of your textbooks are against you. These are the days that I need to remind myself that I, like the rest of my peers, are supposed to be here and the hard work we put day in a day out towards all of our passions will continue to carry us through no matter how grim it may look in the moment. This is not only made possible this assurance in myself and capabilities, but also through my best friend I was lucky enough to make during those Quakers.
After the presentations and lunch, we were sent on tours around campus with current students. I met up with my designated student (who eventually became my peer advisor whom I mentioned previously in a post) and some other people for our tour. One of the other students in my group was named Jenny.
As we started walking we began to talk and introduce ourselves. It wasn’t far into the conversation that we found out we were both from New Jersey, actually played sports against each other, and shared some mutual friends. While the tour only lasted about 30 minutes, Jenny and I’s conversation didn’t end there, and we spent the rest of our time at Quaker Days together. We stayed in touch over the summer and picked up right where we left off when we arrived at Penn that following August. We weren’t roommates but the number of times we were asked if we were was comical. From classes to meals to going out, you rarely saw was of us without the other. Not only has she been my best nursing friend to keep me sane through these four years but a friend for life. She really knows me or what’s best for me sometimes better than myself.
As funny as it sounds, I’d like to thank Quaker Days for giving me not only self-assurance for my place here at Penn but also for giving me a best friend. Who knows honestly where I would be now or who I would be roaming around every day with, but I wouldn’t want it to be in any other place with any other person.