Friday, June 20, 2014

UPenn, You Can!

Another busy day was ahead if the Columbia cohort! The day started with a plane ride to Philadelphia at 9:30am. The ride was not the best for me; I was suffering pretty terribly from the altitude. I quickly felt better when we landed though. We arrived to the Philadelphia at around 11 o'clock, and then shuttled to our hotel. the hotel was so much bigger than the other one! Me and Kendal actually had space to set our stuff down and live comfortably for a little bit. 

Before heading to University of Pennsylvania for a tour and information session, we went to a little place called Axis to try some Philly Cheesesteaks! They were delicious! I ordered a salad as well so I couldn't really finish it, despite already splitting one with Kendal. 

After that amazing lunch, we walked it off by heading over to UPenn, which was only about five minutes away. The presentation was quite honestly, a bit boring. It was nothing but a bunch of facts and figures that were spat at the crowd. That would've been more bearable if I hadn't eaten an enormous lunch and only slept 4 hours

The tour, however, was much more interesting. It was led by a rising senior named Jordan, who had admirable enthusiasm. He bounced around the campus, talking about actual campus life and how academics were at the school. I definitely preferred his session over the information session! After the tour, we headed to the student bookstore to stock up on UPenn gear! I personally didn't find anything to my liking but a lot of others in the cohort seemed to like the merchandise. .
The gorgeous campus.

Dinner with the UPenn group was very informative. I learned so many lessons from talking to everyone. We met up with the group which was comprised of four people: two admissions officers and two students. One of the students, Jordan, actually led the campus tours we went on earlier that day. I was happy to sit next to him and get to talk to him on a more personal level. On top of talking about the usual academics and dorm life of the school, we also talked about the transition of going from high school to college. More importantly, we discussed how he felt going from high school to an elite institution like UPenn. He said that he, along with many others, felt like they weren't good enough, but that quickly wore off when he realized there was more to college than grades. Jordan said that he had to get over not being top of the class, which he came to terms with when he wanted more out of his college experience than just academics. In addition, he said that the only real competition is yourself, and that it only matters if you reach your own goals. I really appreciated hearing that; it's hard to not compare yourself to others. The best I can do is set goals and expectations for myself and do my best to meet them. 
Jordan and I
I really cannot stress how much I learned from that deep talk with Jordan. He really taught me that in higher education, it's not always about just seeing that "A" on your report card but finding classes that interest you and pursuing your passions. In the college that I will eventually attend, I know that this belief will be a strong one within the school culture, and that I will have the motivation and dedication to achieve my goals. 

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