Out of the 2,491 students in Penn’s freshman class, only one calls North Dakota home.
The Class of 2020 includes students from every state except for Vermont and West Virginia. But for Penn students, it may feel like everyone on campus is from the Mid-Atlantic.
That’s because in the freshman class, 446 students are from Pennsylvania, 296 are from New York and 253 are from New Jersey.
On the flip side, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wyoming all have only one student each in the Class of 2020.
College freshman Mallory Harrower said she felt a bit lonely as the only freshman from Wyoming.
“It was kind of weird for me to come here and not really know anyone from the surrounding towns in Wyoming,” she said. “But I think that it was good for me because I had to branch out, and I met a lot of people.”
Harrower added that new college friends made her transition from Jackson, Wyoming to Philadelphia much easier.
“Some of my friends are also from pretty rural states, like Idaho and Colorado,” she explained. “So they knew what it felt like to be from a state with pretty small representation here.”
Harrower also described the vast difference in security between Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
“I used to leave my keys in my car with it unlocked when I would leave, and if you ever tried to do that in Philly, your car would get stolen immediately,” she said.
Wharton freshman Rachel Trenne also felt the sense of loneliness as the only student in the Class of 2020 from North Dakota, especially when she first arrived at Penn without knowing anyone.
“It’s definitely a conversation starter, though,” she acknowledged. “People are usually really curious about what it’s like to be from North Dakota, and it’s cool to be a representative from my state.”
Though Trenne said she wished she had had a fellow North Dakotan to confide in before transitioning to Philadelphia, she has adapted to life at Penn well.
“One big difference between North Dakota and Philly is that you can’t see stars here, which is really bizarre because you could always see stars in my hometown,” she said. “And the air quality is significantly worse.”
One thing Trenne doesn’t miss from home is the weather.
“Winters are significantly nicer here,” she said. “When I was home, it was like 30 below.”
Wharton freshman Jill Rosenthal said she actually enjoys being the only student in her class from Iowa.
“I think it’s a fun talking point,” she said. “It’s definitely fun to see everyone’s reactions when you say you’re from, in my case, Iowa because you get shock and confusion and horror.”
Rosenthal had previous exposure to the East Coast because she attended boarding school in Connecticut, so living in Philadelphia was not a dramatic change for her.
“Where I’m from, it’s very common to stay in Iowa for school and for the rest of your life, around your family and around what you know,” she said. “Whereas here, it’s always about what’s new, it’s always about exploring, it’s always about traveling.”
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