For many Penn students, areas west of 44th Street or across the Schuylkill River are dubbed ‘far away.’
And for the students who live outside the inner University City area, getting to campus often means taking Uber or SEPTA.
College junior Nolan Wein is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia and currently lives in Rittenhouse Square with her parents.
“For me, I am an only child and I’ve always been sort of a homebody... so it really wasn’t that much of a transition,” Wein said.
Wein tries to schedule her classes in clumps to minimize going back and forth to campus. When she is at Penn she tries to utilize her time to see as many friends as possible. Wein’s life in Center City has provided her with new opportunities and allowed her to gain perspective on her college experience.
“Since I live downtown [I don’t] feel like I’m only a student, I feel like I’m also a real person that has real responsibilities.”
College junior Vanjessica Gladney lives by the Philadelphia Zoo. Her life outside of University City has presented more academic and social challenges than she initially expected.
“It has complicated things a lot more than I was prepared for, social things are a lot harder to commit to,” Gladney said. “Studying has [also] been really difficult because I don’t live with any other students, so the whole concept that we may need quietness and silence doesn’t really fly.”
Gladney has also found benefits of her new address, like being able to escape the noise of rowdy Penn parties.
But Gladney has noticed another, more significant change.
“I’m not so stressed out. There is a line around campus where I cross it and immediately I just get a lot more anxious,” Gladney said. “It’s really interesting seeing the different sides of Philly that you might not run into if you stay on campus.”
College senior Hannah Noyes lives at 23rd and Walnut streets and spent her first three years at Penn living in University City.
“For my mental health’s sake, I needed to get off campus,” Noyes said. “At Penn it’s easy to get caught up in the Penn environment.”
Noyes is moving to Washington D.C. next year and says living farther from Penn’s campus has prepared her for life beyond college.
“I feel so much more adult... it is a really good transition,” Noyes said. “It’s refreshing to be able to walk around Rittenhouse Square instead of University City. There is so much to do.”
Noyes wanted a space where she could keep her dog and have access to her job downtown. Despite worries of being isolated from her friends and a longer commute, Noyes has been satisfied with her move away from University City.
“Honestly, it’s probably been the best decision. I have been the happiest I have ever been because at the end of the day I am able to go home,” Noyes said.
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