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Senior Column by Dani Blum | Calling bullshit

(05/08/18 2:00pm)

On the second night of my freshman year, I shivered in a crop top on a frat house porch while a guy I’d never met debated whether I was hot enough to be allowed inside. I watched him watch me and felt sweat dribble through the layers of my foundation, my face twisting while I bit my cheeks to look skinnier. A male friend I’d come with nudged me. "You should have worn something sluttier," he whispered. By the time I actually entered the house, I wanted to throw myself away. 

Dani Blum | Embracing the Penn bubble

(03/19/15 12:58am)

I am terrified of my roommate’s wall calendar. I am scared of the time running out, of my inability to stay a freshman. My friends and I sieve our schedules through countdowns and deadlines. Two weeks until Easter. Four weeks until Fling. Seven weeks until finals. I procrastinate meeting with my advisor to discuss classes for next semester — I’m barely recovered from midterms, so I don’t want to plunge into the next batch of classes without thinking. The thought of completing a quarter of college feels more like a punishment than an accomplishment. I just want time to stop, to freeze on Locust Walk long enough to enjoy the spring weather and not think about having to leave. I know freshman spring is too early to feel sentimental, but I can’t shake the idea that the existence I’ve crafted at Penn has an expiration date. I’m stuck in a state of premature missing.

Dani Blum | Popping the pressure

(03/05/15 3:27am)

Leaning in the doorway of my friend’s dorm, a freshman girl from down the hall explained why she wasn’t enjoying Penn. “I hate college. It’s too stressful,” she said. The University doesn’t guide us enough. People are ashamed to talk about CAPS. There’s the constant guilt, the opportunity-cost calculation — if you sleep an extra hour, you fall behind; if you have lunch with a friend, you’ve lost time to study or join a club or add to your resume. “Penn is bad for me,” she concluded. “I’m just not happy here.”

Dani Blum | On pneumonia, planning and priorities

(01/15/15 5:10pm)

I spent the train ride back from Thanksgiving break mourning the mounds of turkey leftovers I’d forgotten in my fridge and mapping out my study schedule for finals. I looked up library hours and planned out a detailed itinerary, complete with denoted “gummy bear breaks!” and “five minutes to drop everything and breathe!” I figured I could survive my first round of finals if I just got myself together.

Dani Blum | Sit down or stand out

(11/18/14 1:45am)

S o me time around the last Olympics, I sat around, pretended to be knowledgeable about sports and saw a mini-documentary on Maria Sharapova. There was a reel of tape I couldn’t get out of my head of Maria winning the Wimbledon: Her racket arched upward, the ball sailing in a perfect palabora, Maria punching the air. The announcer boomed over the scene, “How does it feel to have accomplished your life’s dream when you’re 17?”

Dani Blum | Core values

(10/20/14 2:58am)

Ispend way too much time on Penn InTouch. With Advance Registration looming over my head, I feel obligated to spend my free time creating mock schedules, deleting them, testing out the possibilities. It’s fun, to an extent — I can take a mural painting class?! — but when reality sets in, the process gets more frustrating. Instead of taking any class that sounds interesting, I need to chip away at Penn’s College curriculum requirements. But while that’s an annoying aspect of registration, course requirements don’t deserve all of our complaints.