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Credit: Sam Holland

You should not let the excessive Wharton culture hurt the process of discovering your real niche.

I am an international student from India who is privileged enough to be able to study through the explorative path that an American college education provides. But the problem arises when we narrow the scope of our interests by only looking at Wharton because of its name value. It doesn’t take more than two weeks to see how much Wharton is spread across Penn. The number of clubs which have a Wharton ‘prefix’ is astounding, including Wharton Alliance, Wharton Women, Wharton Ambassadors, Wharton Global Research. It is important that first-years think and act more on instinct to find our passions rather than trying to transfer into Wharton for prestige and security.

Wharton is an impeccable resource for any Penn student. It is a great place to study the intersection of business and civil society, especially considering the professional value that it can provide to us. But there’s a very fine line between using Wharton to further your interests and simply using it as a means to settle on a well-paying job. When a student cannot see a concrete path in a specific field, the most attractive option is always transferring to the well-known school and studying the all-pervasive field of business, especially considering the guaranteed earnings that come with it.

Anything that we study here will give us a lot of value, be it in terms of employability or creative satisfaction. But we should question once in a while whether we can do the subject justice by making the effort to actually absorb it instead of mechanically passing exams. And this deep understanding of the subject can take place only if one is interested and curious enough.

Joining Wharton just for the brand, if it means sacrificing your passion, is not worthwhile in the long run. Such a transactional relationship with Wharton is only attractive in the short run and you just don’t want to have any regrets about not trying something else which you find more interesting. Our interests are surely diverse enough to go beyond a business school, irrespective of its name and standing, and if we find our calling first and then seek Wharton’s help to further our ambitions, the process of learning is going to be so much more gratifying. As Adam Grant says, “becoming original is not the easiest path in the pursuit of happiness, but it leaves us perfectly poised for the happiness of pursuit.”

TEJASWI BHAVARAJU is a College freshman from India, studying Mathematical Economics and Cinema Studies. His email is tejaswib@sas.upenn.edu

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