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Jessica Gooding | Let’s prioritize self-care this summer

(05/27/20 8:12pm)

The batteries in the scale on my bathroom floor stopped working sometime in January. While flaunting my floral mask and waiting in my local checkout line recently, I grabbed the AAA batteries I needed for my scale to illuminate again. When I got home, my scale revealed I was up eight pounds. I wasn’t surprised. My normal physical activities had been slashed throughout quarantine. My sportiness barely resembled the exertion to which I had been previously accustomed. The notification my scale provided wasn’t what bothered me. Obsessing over a weight goal is not a healthy approach to self-care. What did bother me was not feeling great, physically. 


Jessica Gooding | Parents at Penn deserve a round of applause

(05/25/20 1:56pm)

Looking back, the chaos of this past spring semester has been impactful. COVID-19 relentlessly slithered its way into everyone’s personal, professional, and academic lives. As Governor Tom Wolf recently announced, Philadelphia county will begin to phase out of stay-at-home status and shift from the red to yellow phase on June 5th. With the storm of finals finally over and grades posted, I am beginning to reflect on how hard it was to be a stay-at-home parent and a full-time student in quarantine.  


Jessica Gooding | All students forced to leave campus should receive a housing credit

(05/02/20 12:41am)

A few weeks ago, Penn announced that it would provide housing credits to students based on their family contribution. However, for highly aided students, that announcement meant little to nothing because highly aided students do not have significant family contributions. At first glance, it makes sense that Penn shouldn’t be obligated to pay a credit to a student whose family didn’t pay a hefty contribution towards their housing. Upon further reflection, however, it became obvious that first-generation low-income students continue to face housing insecurities and homelessness. Highly aided students are vulnerable and in absolute need of housing credits, regardless of their family’s underlying income or lack thereof. Therefore, they should not be penalized for lack of familial contribution and should be entitled to housing credit.


Jessica Gooding | The opt-in Pass/Fail deadline needs to be extended until after finals

(04/08/20 8:41pm)

It seems like just yesterday I was strolling down Locust Walk, eating a freshly made s’mores sandwich while watching courageous friends quickly zip down the 18-foot slide that was festively set up on College Green. Thriving at Penn had organized the Valentine’s Day of Play event to promote “social wellness”; the distinctions between that day and the days we are currently wrapped up in are quite disturbing. 



Jessica Gooding | Penn's language classes need a new approach

(02/20/20 1:05am)

My time at Penn has provided me with more growth than I anticipated upon opening my acceptance letter. During my campus tour, my program director, Kathy Urban, gave me some unexpected advice: don't arrive at Penn with a strict plan. She emphasized making the most of the many opportunities Penn students are privileged to have access to. Her words continue to be extremely valid today. Over the last few years, I have developed extensively from my academic interactions and the friendships I’ve gained. My Penn experience has emphasized the limitlessness of opportunity. As my senior year approaches and Hey Day inches closer, I’ve been reflecting on some of my cherished Penn experiences and some of my not so cherished experiences. 


Jessica Gooding | Penn students, don’t fear failure. Embrace it

(01/23/20 1:10am)

“You’re used to being the cream of the crop and then you come here.” I heard these words slip out of another student’s mouth one day just before my class began. I have heard similar comments while on campus. Many of us have moments of failure that collide to create the feeling that we are coming up short or not shining quite as much as we can or should be. Those moments can easily become trapped in our minds. We should be supporting each other by deconstructing these notions and seizing opportunities to connect and influence each other. 



Jessica Gooding | Critically examining George Whitefield's statue in the Quad

(10/07/19 1:57am)

“Muy bonita” were the two most common words used by students to describe our campus recently in my Spanish class. I, too, used those words to describe our campus. Our professor praised us in agreement. There is no shortage of enchantment within the Penn community. On any normal day, Penn is a place to explore, learn, appreciate art, and share tickles with your friends through both words and affection. It’s amazing, some days there are goats to embrace, food to indulge in, but most importantly, it is a place where all of us are investing in our dreams. Goal chasing. Getting it. You could pick a student at random on Locust Walk and chances are, they would share something fascinating with you. The optimist in me would love to keep going with the positives but that’s not the direction of these words.