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Carlos Arias Vivas | The languages you speak do not define your background

(09/10/18 12:21am)

Over the summer, I spent five amazing weeks in Madrid taking classes through a Penn study-abroad program. When I told people that I was going to Madrid to finish up some Spanish courses to complete my Hispanic Studies minor, many people questioned whether the time I spent studying Spanish was worthwhile. There have been countless people that ask me and assume, “Don’t you already speak Spanish. What’s the point?” 


Carlos Arias Vivas | Penn should follow Harvard and Yale’s lead and offer ‘startup grants’ for FGLI freshmen

(04/17/18 2:46am)

The Daily Pennsylvanian editorial addressed to the future students of the Class of 2022 noted that first-generation, low-income students account for one-sixth of the incoming class. The editorial claims that “there’s never been a better time to attend Penn” if you’re FGLI. With last week being GENWEEK, a week-long national event celebrating FGLI students, and my first-year at Penn coming to a close, I would like to shed light on my perspective as a FGLI freshman. 


Carlos Arias Vivas | What Penn’s drag performers taught me about self-exploration

(03/29/18 5:32am)

After surviving a second round of midterms, I was burnt out and I needed a quick “pick-me-up.” For some, this might entail going to a party. For others, it might be resting up and binge-watching Netflix. After being placed in the mental pressure cooker of my exam, I wanted a fun Friday night. So, my friend and I decided to attend the Penn Queer Student Alliance’s annual drag show.


Carlos Arias Vivas | DNA tests don’t define your identity

(03/14/18 11:01pm)

During one late night bonding session with my hallmates, one of them revealed to the group that they took a DNA test and discovered more about their background. Intrigued, I sought out to buy one of the kits for myself. The major players in this industry are Ancestry.com and 23andMe; both offer DNA tests that can shed light on your lineage as well as an optional health risks assessment.




Carlos Arias Vivas | Why Penn should offer accelerated intro classes

(01/18/18 5:30am)

Having a semester at Penn under my belt is a feat in and of itself. Like every other naive first-year student, I wanted to get a 4.0 GPA. However, that was kind of unrealistic. I am sure that some people were able to muster all their effort and get the coveted 4.0 GPA that most Ivy League admits vie for, but that is not the norm. In 2001, across all four undergraduate schools, the average GPA was 3.345.


Carlos Arias Vivas | Penn students don't just want longer breaks. They need them.

(12/12/17 1:46am)

This is the second year in a row that Penn has had a winter break lasting only 19 days. The 2016-2017 academic year parallels the current one with the same number of days off. The University’s academic calendar is set three years in advance with all breaks finalized from the 2017 fall term until the 2020 spring term. 



Carlos Arias Vivas | Service animals should be welcomed on this campus

(11/28/17 6:00am)

When I was younger, I would always make my friends who had dogs place their animals in a separate part of the house. I didn’t care if they were small or big; I just couldn’t stand the barking. Flashbacks of when I almost got bit by a dog when I was younger get triggered when new dogs I meet start to bark. This has affected my ability to see how a dog could really be a person’s rock. That changed when I met Dolly, the service dog that lives in my hall. 


Carlos Arias Vivas | Why our cultural groups like Alianza shouldn’t be ignored

(11/14/17 1:09am)

On the night of Oct. 24, I received an unexpected call from my friend, Columbia University freshman Cat Sposato. After we exchanged a few quick words, I received an email with the header “Alianza Help.” The email was sent to garner support for Alianza, Columbia and Barnard’s only pan-Latinx organization on campus, which had just been denied recognition by the Activities Board at Columbia.


Carlos Arias Vivas | Dispelling the Early Decision fears

(10/31/17 3:13am)

On this exact date last year, I submitted my early decision application to the University of Pennsylvania. Filled with anxiety, I pressed the submit button to send the file that contained every little thing about my life. Essentially, I sent Penn Admissions my complete life story. It had all my high school grades, recommendations, personal statement and background information.



Carlos Arias Vivas | The truths we need from campus visits

(10/17/17 3:00am)

Throughout my college search, I made it my mission to be able to tour the schools that I found interesting. The only way I was able to do this was by participating in college fly-in programs that attract students from underrepresented backgrounds. These highly competitive programs allow for selected students to embark on an all-expense-paid trips to individual schools.



Carlos Arias Vivas | The hidden gems of resident dorms

(10/04/17 4:20am)

On a hot summer day, after being lost in the maze of the Quad, I finally found my room on the fourth floor. Through my sweating and panting for a breath of air, I saw a tall man stare at me from the corner while I was trying to figure out how to scan my PennCard to get into my new room. I was flustered, annoyed and tired because ,after a long day of traveling and lugging my belongings up so many flights of stairs, I couldn’t figure out how to do something simple.