Goodbyes are never easy, and a goodbye to Penn is extraordinarily difficult. I must admit that I don’t love everything about Penn. I’ve formed a satisfactory love-hate relationship over the last four years, and I have mixed feelings about our soon-to-be long-distance relationship after graduation. You see, although I’ve experienced my greatest accomplishments here, Penn also put me through my greatest failures.
One accomplishment was getting recruited to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc.
When I tell people I worked at the DP, they inevitably assume I am a writer. I am no writer. I worked in the Advertising Department for three out of my four years at Penn. I remember Katherine Ross’s words on my first day of training as advertising manager — “This will be the hardest thing you will ever do.” Indeed, being responsible for reaching one-third of our revenue goal of $600,000 was overwhelming. It considerably added to my list of other challenging things Penn had to offer. What made my 20-plus hour weeks at the office worth it was seeing people read the paper every morning and knowing I had a role to play in making that happen. The DP matters; my work here mattered.
My time at the DP was coming to an end, and so was my time at Penn.
In the past year, my friend Dani had been talking about how crazy it was that we were seniors and so close to graduation. In fact, every time I’d mention the word “graduation,” she did a soft but odd squeal if we were in public and a long drawn out scream if we were at home. I didn’t think much of it until it hit me about a month from graduation.
It was past midnight and I was walking back home from Huntsman with my friend Sharika and I panicked — Penn would end for me in a month. I wouldn’t fit in anywhere as well as I did at Penn, I wouldn’t find friends like I did at Penn, I wouldn’t get the opportunities so easily available to me at Penn. Had I taken the best four years of my life for granted? Had I truly made use of all of Penn’s resources? Will I ever find a gym as amazing as Pottruck? Do tofu meatballs exist outside of those from Magic Carpet?? Probably not. I was in tears. Sharika assured me I’d get over this by tomorrow. We took the same walk back home the next night but this time I rambled about my math midterm and how I couldn’t wait to be done with Penn. That’s when she gave me her whole “I told you so” spiel. Predictable.
My point is, I am terrified that I won’t be calling Penn home anymore. But would I want to relive my four years here? This brings back all the not-so-fun things I experienced at Penn including but not limited to rejection, exams and, brace yourself for this one, on-campus recruiting. So no, I won’t really miss any of these or want to relive them. I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, not too far from Philly.
Penn is only as good as the people in it. Let me vouch for that. Sharika, Dani, Ana, Rachel, Yamir, and Theresa — thanks for being patient with me, listening to my rants (or at least pretending to) and loving me for who I am. Shruti, Tanvi and Devishi – thanks for being my family away from home. Katherine, Nicole, and Paul — thanks for being the coolest mentors I could have asked for.
When I got into Penn, it was a big deal back home in India. However, having never been to campus, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I fantasized about how great it would be. Today, despite everything, I can confidently say that getting into this school has probably been the best thing that’s happened to me. I am grateful to have had this Penn journey; it’s been one for the books.
SAUMYA KHAITAN is a College senior from Kolkata, India, studying mathematical economics. She served as advertising manager on the 132nd board. She most recently served as an advertising representative.
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