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Credit: Son Nguyen

If you are graduating this May, I imagine you’ve recently been asked: “How does it feel to be entering your last semester of collegiate life?”

And, like a ton of bricks, it hits you.


This is my last semester at Penn. Where did the time go?

In approximately 16 weeks, you join the ranks of the approximately 300,000 Penn alumni around the world. As you accelerate toward the finish line, I am offering my suggestions of the items that should be a Penn senior’s “bucket list” to ensure you received a complete Penn experience.  

1) Get Yourself Inside Penn’s Iconic Buildings: Have you experienced the Palestra during a women’s or men’s basketball game? How about Franklin Field? Your first trip there should not be commencement. There is an event in April you may have heard of called the Penn Relays—it's 125 years old and cherished in the history of sports. If you have not yet studied inside the Furness Library, you are missing out on a must-do for every Penn undergraduate.

2) Attend an Event Outside Your Comfort Zone: Penn hosts amazing speakers and events, such as the Silfen Forum, on a range of fascinating topics.  Visit the Almanac website for a calendar of events. Step out of your comfort zone and attend a lecture on a new topic or a different perspective. Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Jeb Bush were recruited by President Gutmann to spend time on campus interacting with students, which they truly enjoy. Make an effort to participate in events when they are present.  

3) Be a Culture Vulture: If politics is not your thing, take advantage of Penn’s cultural resources. For example, the Penn Museum is a treasure. According to a recently published book, The History of the World in 1,000 Objects, at least 200 of those items—which tell the story of humankind—are located at the Penn Museum. Expand your horizons with visual art by visiting the Institute of Contemporary Art or Arthur Ross Gallery. And I recommend hitting up the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts to watch internationally renowned theater, music and dance. Did you know that students can get $10 student rush tickets for many performances?

4) Support Your Peers: When you attend a student activity, be it a performance by Mask and Wig, Bloomers, or a cappella groups, you support the vibrant life of our campus. Get a group of your friends together and make it a night by enjoying Penn’s homegrown talent. 

5) Here Comes (Or, There Goes) the Sun: One of the great views of the Philadelphia horizon is from the rooftop lounges of our high rises. This is ideal in April, and is a spectacular way to appreciate the city skyline.

6) And…. Experience Philadelphia: You should have woken up to the idea that there is so much to explore, and so little time. Take a walk on the Schuylkill River Trail; run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (and actually go inside to appreciate its collection); tour Independence Mall to see where the Founders gave birth to the idea of America; shop and eat at the 9th Street Italian Market. The choices abound.

For any graduating senior who has read this far, I am challenging you to tweet me photos of you experiencing my recommended “bucket list” to @PennEVP. Those who document all six items on the Bucket List will have their name entered into a raffle for a random drawing in which the winner gets lunch for six at Pod during Senior Week.  

Above all else, cherish and enjoy your remaining time at Penn as an undergraduate. The finish line is in sight! 

Craig Carnaroli is a loyal and devoted Quaker (W’85), proud University City resident, and also happens to be the University’s Executive Vice President since 2004.