Friday, June 20, 2014

It Fits Like a Glove

We spent four days in Boston and we're finally in Philadelphia! Boston was nice, but it was so busy and I think we were all ready to visit a new place. Our flight to Philly was pretty short and comfortable. We started by settling into our hotel(which is much nicer than the Boston Park Plaza). Our schedules are kind of weird because they revolve around the times we can make it to information sessions and tours, so we have to eat whenever there's time in between. It's not the most comfortable thing, but it's definitely worth it because we're able to visit so many schools. Since we're in Philly, we decided that we had to try Philly cheesesteaks. They remind me of Vietnamese sandwiches! I like that the hotel and restaurant were conveniently close to UPenn. Did I mention that we saw batman and his batmobile too?

Before going to UPenn, I already knew a little bit about it. A few Pinole Valley students attend UPenn and they're constantly raving about how much they love it. One of them is also taking advantage of the study abroad program. I'm excited to see how far Pinole Valley students have gone because their experiences have truly inspired me and encouraged me to follow in their footsteps. I also went through a phase of wanting to be in the medical field, so I remembered seeing UPenn constantly popping up as one of the best colleges to attend for that area of study. Now, I'm interested in business and it turns out that UPenn has an amazing business program too. One of the really distinct opportunities that UPenn provides is the Huntsman Program. Through this program, students can earn a bachelors degree from the Wharton School of Business and the College of Letters and Sciences. It's really rare for a student to earn two degrees at the same time, but I guess that's why it's so selective. Only 45 students can participate. I've researched the school for a while now, so I was excited to get a better feel of the campus today.

When I arrived at the information session, I was in complete awe that there were over 400 students sitting in UPenn's auditorium. That was basically all of MIT's, Harvard's, Dartmouth's and Yale's visitors put together. People came from all over the country to visit this school and the tremendous amount of visitors reinforced the fact that UPenn is exceptionally popular. Something I learned these past few days is that the Ivy Leagues really earned their names. Besides the fact that they're some of the oldest universities in the nation, they offer so many unique programs and professors to uphold their reputations. The speaker was eloquent and confident. Even when her microphone stopped working, she went on with the presentation with no hesitations. I'm still amazed at how well Ivy League students speak and write. They don't sound nervous at all and they represent their respective schools really well. After the information session, I stopped to take pictures of the auditorium. One of the hardest things for me these past few days has been trying to enjoy the campuses without continuously burying myself behind a camera. 
A part of UPenn's colorful auditorium
Our tour guide, Jordan Holmes, lead us around the campus while giving valuable information. I saw pictures of UPenn at the presentation in De Anza last year, however, seeing the campus in person was way different. Being on the tour allowed me to learn about the purposes of each building and the stories behind the statues. I love the architecture at UPenn too. All of the Ivies have nice architecture, but they each have a different look.  My favorite building was the Wharton Huntsman Hall because of two reasons: it's where the business classes take place and it feels like the perfect place to study.

A few of the buildings at UPenn
Inside Wharton Hall
We ended the night with yet another fantastic dinner. I sat next to Alex Feison, an alumna and college admissions officer at UPenn. She told me more about her job and the Huntsman program. Coincidentally, she reads the applications from Northern California. It seems like she really enjoys her job and loves UPenn enough to stay for a few more years! The guests at our dinners always have so much school spirit. And speaking of school spirit, Jordan Holmes(our tour guide from earlier) was also present and shared that he is the school mascot. I also sat next to my fellow cohort members and across from Josh, a rising senior at UPenn. He studies political science and came from Wisconsin. Besides all of the hard work Josh puts into school, I really admire that he's so humble. I had this misconception that Ivy League students were pretentious, but that wasn't the case at all. I think it's so commendable that he stays modest even though he has so many accomplishments. 
Alex and I
Being in Philadelphia has been thrilling. I've finally  found a school that has strong programs that relate to my interests. On top of that, the campus is nice and the surrounding area is lively. I like that UPenn is in a big city instead of a rural area too. I can see myself walking around campus and I really hope I get the chance to see the school again. 

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