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Penn Admissions Blog

What makes Penn feel like home?
Olivia | February 12, 2018

When I toured Penn, I gazed around at the grand, beautiful buildings, took that cliché tourist picture in front of the LOVE statue, and observed the students walking down Locust Walk, each engrossed in a different conversation, daily routine, or lunch break. I hoped to be one of them, and I pictured myself among them, but I had a long way to go until I felt I was really one of them.

The first few weeks, then months, at Penn passed by in a blur. One day it was August and I was getting ready to move in, and then suddenly I was home for winter break. At first, it felt very surreal, like a summer camp I would go to for a few weeks, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this would be the next four years of my life and beyond. It took a while for walking down Locust Walk, living in the quad, and swiping into dining halls to become my new normal.

When I arrived back on campus, though I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to classes and getting back into the routine of homework and midterms, I felt a sense of warmth and belonging when I first walked back into my hall, a place I have come to call home over the past few months.

It’s not my bedroom, or even the beautiful, historic walls of the quad, that make Penn feel like home. Instead, it’s walking through the engineering halls and seeing a familiar face around every corner. It’s finally using those study spaces and computer labs the tour guides gestured to, far too often, but with a friend to stay up late with you and keep you motivated. It’s coming back home to your roommate and having someone to laugh about the little details of your day with. It’s meeting a new person, as I do almost every day, and finding that connection with them almost instantaneously. It’s even the communal showers, dining hall food, and frigid walks to 8 am math recitations that all the freshmen laugh about and suffer through together.

Penn students are some of the busiest people I know, and this semester, my days have been packed with class, club meetings, meals, sports practices or workouts, sorority events, and finding time for homework and studying. But in between the chaos of my schedule, it’s the small, human moments that stand out the most. A quick lunch meet-up turning into a thoughtful conversation about a senior’s years at Penn, going to an Indian dance show for the first time to support friends, those conversations on Locust with a friend you haven’t seen in a while that make your days just a little brighter and make Penn feel just a little smaller.

In my few months at Penn, I’ve developed a pride for being a part of this community and a desire to make it a better place. Penn students are interesting, passionate, and unique, and they break all the stereotypes I’ve ever heard. We’re the ones who create and shape this place we call home, and they’re the ones that welcomed me and continue to make this place better each and every day. I am proud to be a part of this ever growing, ever changing, dynamic community, and I can’t wait to see where the next three and a half years will take me.

About the author

I am from Wilmington, Delaware, studying Computer Science with interests in creative writing, art, entrepreneurship, and data science. On-campus, I'm involved in a publication, a volunteer organization, religious life, and Greek life. I've loved learning more about Penn and the students here and taking advantage of all the great opportunities Penn and Philly have to offer. In my free time, I love running, cooking, exploring the city, and spending time with friends and family.

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