Ask any Penn undergrad which school suffers from the most brutal coursework, and they’ll answer with the name of their own — in a recent University-wide poll, 97 percent of undergraduates reported that their studies are harder than those of students in Penn’s other departments.
But in a shocking departure from campus culture, one Engineering student stated last Wednesday that “maybe College, Wharton and Nursing students work hard, too.”
Witnesses report that Engineering freshman Gavin Schmitt made the statement while studying with friends.
“It was so unexpected,” Engineering freshman Allen White said. “We were working on math, and someone said they wished they were in the College. Then out of nowhere Gavin was just like ‘But guys, maybe kids in the other schools work just as hard.’ We all just stopped talking and looked at him like ‘What?’”
Schmitt defended himself, saying that the statement was something he’d been thinking about for a while.
“I have friends in the College taking Orgo right now, and they’re working really hard,” he said. “I also know people in Nursing that have crazy Human Anatomy classes. And I’ve heard terrible things about BEPP midterms.”
Schmitt’s friends from other undergraduate schools confirm that he has embraced a new stance on the issue of the difficulty of obtaining a degree from one institution versus another.
“Gavin used to mention the fact that he’s taking seven course units all the time,” Wharton freshman Sara Duren said. “He hasn’t been doing that lately, though. He’s also stopped telling me that my classes are way easier than his.”
However, Schmitt’s attitude is still somewhat unique — College junior Amber Wynhearst is among the majority that believes difficulty varies widely from school to school.
“It’s obnoxious how these Wharton, Nursing and Engineering people complain about their classes,” she said. “The other undergraduate divisions are basically like trade schools, so I don’t see how it could possibly be that hard.”
That’s not to say, however, that Schmitt is totally alone: According to a minority of students, everyone should recognize that all undergraduates pursue challenging courses of study.
“It’s ridiculous that we’ve made the difficulty level of obtaining our degrees a competition,” Nursing senior Ellen Lu said. “I don’t want to hear about how you scheduled every minute of your sleep, or how you wish you could transfer to X school so you’d have an easier time of it. Everyone here works hard, period.”
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