I’m not one for nostalgia. I don’t care about your grand thoughts on life, friends, graduating, etc., so I’m not going to subject you to mine. And really, what earth-shattering conclusions can you reach by the time you’re 21?
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I’ve never been one for big milestone events. I don’t remember my Sweet 16 and I never had a graduation party. Heck, I had to leave early from my senior prom, which is also supposed to be one of those big lifetime events.
For a lot of students, Fling — or any good time for that matter — is associated with copious amounts of alcohol. But what if it doesn’t have to be? Can Fling and sober even be used in the same sentence?
It’s impossible to ignore the recent string of suicides at our fellow institutions. Two suicides occurred last month at Cornell University, a Yale University junior took his life last week and a Penn student reportedly committed suicide last fall. I could quote statistics about how many students attempt or succeed at suicide. Or I could talk about how Penn’s campus is a stressful environment. The Daily Beast ranked us fourth out of “50 Most Stressful Colleges” and shamelessly used Cornell’s recent tragedies to illustrate the effects of a “pressure-cooker environment.” But statistics can be misleading and linking stress to suicide is another way to sensationalize the act rather than to offer proactive information.
Here are some important facts about me: I A. don’t have a smart phone, B. don’t have a Mac and C. still take handwritten notes in class. And fine, I’ll admit that every single app on my iPod touch (except Tap Tap) was downloaded by my 12-year-old sister. My sister also informed me that it could surf the web — something I learned after months of using it. Needless to say, I don’t consider myself particularly tech savvy.
At the beginning of November, I wrote a column examining some of the benefits and drawbacks of directly electing an Undergraduate Assembly president. With the elections in full swing, it’s been both interesting and enlightening to watch them unfold.
Grades are overrated. Yeah, I said it. And no, I’m not advocating any hippie, satisfactory/no credit system (sorry, Brown). I’m just saying that grades are so arbitrary, it’s hard to take them seriously as an indicator of future success.
Imagine a library without books — if such a thing could exist. It might look like a large space full of tables and other places for people to use laptops, discuss, collaborate and, perhaps, read e-books. It might look a little like … Weigle Information Commons?
If you haven’t heard the news, apparently our health and education systems are broken. Test scores are low, we can’t get our kids academically proficient by 2014 and the schools that need improvement often aren’t making adequate yearly progress. Uh oh.
Think back to when you had to complete AlcoholEdu, or similarly, online traffic school. Having rules lectured at you is adequate for something as cut-and-dry as blood alcohol content and driving rules.
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like salty things. Pretzels, hot dogs, pickles? Bring ’em on. And yes, I know that I’m probably dehydrated a lot of the time from all these sodium-dense foods.
Everyone pushes themselves to the limit during finals, and I’m no exception. I happened to get bronchitis this year as sort of an added bonus. I scheduled my flight home for a few hours after my last final. After taking that final, I threw some clothes into a suitcase, dragged myself to the airport, through security, up to my gate and collapsed in a heap. At home I slept almost endlessly and tried to keep my cough under control so my parents wouldn’t worry about me lapsing into pneumonia.
A few weeks ago, I was comfortably hidden (or so I thought) in the back of Leidy Labs 10, a lecture hall that seats hundreds, responding to my friend’s story of weekend drama via text. I’ve always considered myself to be polite, so I was shocked when the lecturer unabashedly called me out for texting. While it’s always rough getting called out, it’s usually for good reason. I hadn’t considered my divided attention in that context to be rude, but I was incredibly embarrassed.
When I first heard the phrase “Fuck My Life,” I was definitely put off. Not that I don’t drop the occasional F-bomb myself, but more because phrases like “I hate my life,” or “Eff my life” seem like such melodramatic and inappropriate things to say. Eff my life? Really? Come on, your life just can’t be that bad.
This week, an enormous achievement quietly flew under the radar of most college newspapers. After years of work, six universities — including Penn, Harvard and Yale — committed to make desperately needed medicines more accessible to developing countries. The implications of this commitment could be increased access to high-demand medications in HIV-ridden countries, as well as increased research for little-understood tropical diseases — transforming millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries.
While it’s never wise to be opposed to change for the sake of sticking to the “tried and true,” it’s equally unwise to embrace reform without a fair and balanced judgment of its potential consequences.
With advanced registration just a little over a week away, mock schedule mania has begun. Alumni, professors and fellow students extol the virtues of taking random, interesting-looking classes — and with good reason. Languages and regional, religious and gender courses give students the chance to see the world from a different perspective, offering topics that the average Penn student has never encountered. Testimonials abound from those who took a class on a whim, only to find a deep and lasting passion for the subject. But while it’s fun to surf Penn InTouch for the most unique class out there, it’s not narrow-minded to discount interesting subjects closer to your personal identity.
This weekend, I met up with a friend — a Yale alumna, planning to go back to New Haven for The Game (Harvard vs. Yale). I never knew her to be a dedicated football fan, and asked why she was so excited to go. She replied that all the students, and most alumni only one or two years out, go to The Game, partly to see friends and support their team, but also for the giant tailgate. That got me thinking: We’re the Party Ivy! How is it that we don’t have a proper school tailgate?
Everyone loves things to be convenient, personalized and, if possible, both. Does this mean we’re lazy, spoiled and self-absorbed? Possibly. But like it or not, it’s become the norm to have services catered specifically to our needs. Suggestions for friends on Facebook, books from Amazon, music choices from Pandora and search terms on Google are all ways in which our needs get magically preempted by the faceless, amorphous Internet.
It’s late, and you’re looking forward to your nice warm bed. You’re about to open your door, when you hear suspicious sounds coming from your bedroom. Reaching for the doorknob in your sleepy state of mind, you suddenly realize your roommate has an unexpected guest, and it’s gonna be a long night on the common-room couch.