I began working at Penn on March 19 as a senior writer in the Law School, and in the nearly three months that I have been here, I have been made to feel welcome in countless ways. The Law School prides itself on being a “collegial, supportive community.” It’s one of our selling points. And at first I thought, how lucky to have found a job among colleagues for whom those words are truly part of the culture and not just a catch-phrase.
Lately, though, I’ve come to realize these values flow more broadly. I’ve been repeatedly welcomed to the “neighborhood” by people from other schools and departments, even taken to lunch. And on Monday, if further proof of Penn’s essential friendliness were needed, it arrived at lunchtime.
I went to the Magic Carpet food truck at 34th and Walnut streets to pick up something to eat. One of those sudden torrential summer storms blew up while I was waiting on line, and I didn’t have an umbrella. But a physics student let me share his, and after I received my order, the food-truck operator invited me to huddle under her awning to wait out what by then had become a mighty deluge. A few moments later the student whose umbrella I had shared returned to the truck with a piece of cardboard I could use as a makeshift umbrella. That worked just well enough to get me across Walnut Street to the Starbucks, where I waited until the downpour stopped, as suddenly as it had started. If not for the simple kindness of those two strangers, I would have been drenched.
So I would just like to thank them, and the community spirit at Penn, for providing shelter from the storm.
Steve Frank is a senior writer in the Law School. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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