Here’s something to do on the (rare) bright days in the months to come. If you sit at the perfect angle in the Van Pelt amphitheater, at the perfect time — two hours before sunset is a good bet — and you look southwest, towards the Wistar Institute, you’ll be treated to a faceful of sunlight streaming through the (mostly bare) branches above you. It’s far more than my eyes, at least, can handle; I always have to look away after a few seconds. But to have to squint in the middle of winter is a wonderful, warm feeling.
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GROUP THINK is The Daily Pennsylvanian’s roundtable section, in which we throw a question at the columnists and see which answers stick. Read your favorite columnist, or read them all. If you would like to apply to be a columnist for the Spring semester, please fill out the columnist application here.
It’s nearly the end of November, which means I’ve got about a month to finish 4,975 books to meet my goal in Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge. The goal was 5,000 — intentionally unattainable.
“Are you going home for Thanksgiving?” This is the question I’ve gotten the most over the past month. Before this year, yes, I did go home (pre-Thanksgiving flights to Texas, unfortunately, have only gotten more expensive with time). But though I’ve been home every year of my life for Thanksgiving Day, I have never been privy to a real Thanksgiving.
I’ve had a planner every school year, since (at least) third grade. Initially, these planners were of the school-provided sort that my parents had to sign each night, showing that they understood my assignments. Once teachers let us deal with assignments on our own, I began to pick out my own planners. I started with the cheapest available ones from Target (palm-sized, perfect for the amount of work assigned in middle school), and eventually graduated to a knockoff Moleskine that I used as a bullet journal.
It’s been a rough week. In my experience, the first week of November is always this way. It’s finally been chilly for more than two days in a row, there are barely any light filters into my apartment anymore and my cacti are slowly turning yellow, wasting away — did you know they could do that? I didn’t. I find myself, more often than not, staring at them from the couch for lengthy periods of time, feeling very sorry.
I’m turning 20 today. And Hillary Rodham Clinton is turning 70.
My mother, for as long as I can remember, has urged me to befriend more of my fellow Indian-Americans, particularly Hindu ones. It’s for my own good, she says — even more so now that I’m in college, where it’s so easy to get lost, but also so easy to find other Indian-Americans. “What if we don’t have anything in common?” I say. “You always have your culture in common,” she replies, and I can never argue much with that.
The change.org petition that famously (or perhaps infamously) made the rounds on Facebook Sunday night — entitled “The Ability to Have a Social Life at Penn” — has 2,380 supporters at the time I write this.
Whoever said “it’s about the journey, not the destination” had never been entrusted with the herculean task of picking out a film on Netflix for themselves.
The second-worst question on any application, the one that always makes my heart sink, is perhaps the single most common one: “Which extracurricular organizations are you involved in?” (The worst question is the one that inevitably follows: “Which leadership positions have you held in these organizations?”)
As I stand at the counter of a restaurant in Germany, counting out change, the proprietor notices I can’t quite speak the language and asks where I’m from. “Texas,” I say. Even here, there’s rarely a need to clarify — and sure enough, he nods knowingly. “George-Bush-Staat!”