Unlike most freshman in the Class of 2022, I have had three separate move-in days, which means three different ways to decorate my various dorms and three different homes all before the school year had even started. My first move-in was July 13th at the start of the Africana Studies Summer Institute, an intensive week-long program that exposes select students to African and African-American history and lived experiences. It was the first time that I had been on Penn's campus for more than a few hours and I gleefully woke up every morning to the skyline of Penn's campus in the Harnwell high rises. During the Africana program, I took interesting classes that broadened my understanding of religion and its role in Africa, made new friends, and connected with interesting and distinguished faculty. However, as quickly as that week had started, the program was over and it was time for change and a new transition.
On July 21st, the pre-freshman program (PFP), an intensive four-week program before NSO that allows students to get acclimated to Penn and Philadelphia before the school year starts, began. With the start of the program came a wave of new faces and friendships. I moved into the Harrison high rises, once again navigating the delicate balance of roommates and sharing spaces with other people. The pre-freshman program also brought international students as well as athletes to Penn's campus and I was able to meet people from all over the world and with different experiences and skills, getting a true firsthand experience of our global Penn community. The four weeks of the program consisted of taking math, writing, and political science classes designed to stimulate a typical fall freshman schedule and gauge what we needed to work on as college students along with trips to various areas on Philadelphia and New Jersey. This four-week simulation of college also consisted of amazing late-night conversations that made me excited to meet the rest of the Penn community. There were "football jocks" that were also deeply passionate about theater and students from typically stereotyped urban neighborhoods that loved Mozart and bike rides. Participating in these summer programs, introduced me to the exciting duality that many Penn students have.
My last move-in day occurred right after the pre-freshman program had ended. I moved from the Harrison high rises into the Quad and began setting up my dorm with the help of my mom and brother. This time, this move would last more than a couple weeks and so I tried to make my dorm as comfortable as possible.
As the summer came to an end and I neared the start of my freshman year, I was relieved that I was coming into the school year with a group of friends and a sense of comfort in my surroundings. If this summer has taught me anything it is that time moves very quickly on Penn's campus and if you let yourself be open and willing, the students at Penn will shock you with their talents and uniqueness. As the new school year starts, I am excited to meet the rest of the Class of 2022 and upperclassman and create new memories and experiences.