Many agree that senior year at Penn is bittersweet — bitter when writing a thesis or searching for a job, and sweet when making those last few memories of college.
Penn's most recent graduates shared their best memories of senior year with The Daily Pennsylvanian, and their anecdotes ranged from school-sponsored senior events to personal achievements.
Former Undergraduate Assembly President and 2017 College senior Kat McKay said her favorite moment of senior year was a trip to Atlantic City, N.J. organized as part of Feb Club — the month-long series of events that the senior Class Board organizes every February for graduating seniors.
At Atlantic City, McKay and her friend College senior Jane Xiao each bet $20 on a slot machine called “Hotsy Totsy,” which they had no idea how to play.
“The game doesn’t communicate what is happening,” McKay said. “I kept getting these credits, but I didn’t even know what they translated to.”
After McKay and Xiao won $85 and $90, respectively, they were “cracking up” and decided to cash in their winnings to buy more happy hour drinks.
“We didn’t get home until 4 a.m., but it was so different than the day-to-day life at Penn and such a special thing to get to do with your friends senior year,” McKay said. “So many seniors were there, so it was great to run into different people all the time.”
2017 College graduate Nirupa Galagedera cited the final toast, another school-sponsored senior event, as her favorite memory. The Final Toast, which features live music and drinks, occurs at the same time as Hey Day, a Penn tradition for juniors.
“[Penn President Amy Gutmann] declares the junior class seniors, so then we were all standing there like ‘What are we then?’” Galagedera said.
She added that it was one of the few times that the entire senior class was all together before graduation, so it was a good time to catch up with people she hadn’t seen in a while.
2017 Engineering graduate Elizabeth Handen said her the best memory of senior year was when the fourth floor of King’s Court English House was selected as the “Closest Freshman Hall” in 34th Street’s Senior Superlatives. Even though Handen did not live in the hall, she was voted an “honorary member” because she “basically lived there.”
“It was exciting because obviously they are some of my closest friends and I love them to death,” Handen said. “But it was exciting for other people to see how close we were and recognize that.”
Other seniors recall more personal achievements as their highlights of senior year.
2017 College graduate Samip Sheth said the best moment of his senior year was realizing that he was going to publish a paper on his cardiology research.
2017 College and Wharton graduate Milan Savani said his favorite memory was giving his final presentation at the end of his Vagelos Life Sciences & Management capstone course. The presentation marked the end of a year-long senior course for LSM students that requires them to commercialize a product.
“It was a culmination of a lot of hard work with some really good friends,” Savani said, “because it was teams of people I’ve known for four years, and it was a lot of fun to work together.”
He added that not only did he get to apply all of the skills he learned throughout Penn, he was also able to make connections with people he hopes to cross paths with in his future career.
Although Sheth’s favorite moment from senior year was a personal achievement, he acknowledged that events like Feb Club served an important role in bringing graduating seniors together.
“It’s really special to see how people are coming together to celebrate the memories we’ve made in the last four years,” he said.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.