It was time to say goodbye to Georgetown this morning, as our group packed all of our luggage and left on taxis towards Union Station, heading towards Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! The station was absolutely gorgeous and it was bustling with people waiting to catch their train. Mr. Hillyer addressed the importance of traveling quickly and efficiently especially on public transport since they would arrive and depart very promptly. Unless you wanted to miss your ride, making sure that you get to the train on time is the way to go. As we boarded the Amtrak, I thought of how fascinating traveling from one state to another in the East Coast is. You can take the train from Penn to New York, spend most of your day there, and can still be back in Penn on that very same day. California definitely did not have that luxury, so it made the ride seem much more new and exciting.
In only about an hour and thirty minutes, we arrived at our destination. The weather in Philly was still super hot and stuffy, but personally, it was a lot more adaptable than the weather in Washington D.C. Although the weather was an improvement, it did not signify an easy trip for us as we walked to the Sheraton Hotel, carrying all of our luggage. In addition to the heat and heavy baggage, Penn's city blocks were huge compared to the ones in the Bay Area, and it took a lot of walking to reach the end of the block. We also had to weave around Drexel University in order to get to the crosswalk due to the city constructions (which seemed to have an endless amount in the East Coast).
Once we arrived at the Sheraton, we let the glorious flow of air conditioning engulf us as we checked into our hotel rooms. After a period of relaxation in our rooms, we set off for the tour and informational session at UPenn. The walk towards the university was very enjoyable as I took in the surroundings of the city. The urban atmosphere of Penn was distributed among the many people strolling on the sidewalks, the stores, and the buildings. Unlike the business vibe of Washington D.C., Pennsylvania seems to be much more casual.
|Benjamin Franklin, the founder of UPenn|
Finally stepping foot onto the campus where we would live and attend class at for three weeks was exhilarating. As we walked to the Irvine Auditorium where our informational session was going to be held, I was more than eager to learn more about UPenn's application process, campus and student life. Alexandra Feinson, the admissions officer and alum of UPenn, led a very interesting and stimulating session about the university's twelve schools (such as the School of Nursing and Law School), what makes Penn so much more unique than any other university, and all that Penn has to offer for their students. It turns out that the school has a wide variety of internship opportunities, granting 86% of undergraduate students the chance to have an internship. Alexandra also talked about how engaging the students of UPenn are in their community due to their extracurricular activities and their research for classes. She also described extracurriculars in the school as the highlight of student life with over 450 clubs and activities. It is also a very unique university due to the fact that it is one out of only five other colleges who are loan-free colleges. If a student is qualified for the financial aid packages as well, there wouldn't really be a reason for any admitted student to worry about their tuition and fees. I also learned a lot about the application process and what the university is generally looking for in a student. Although academics and test scores are factors towards a student's acceptance, Penn also encourages each applicant to display their personalities and be themselves.
Unfortunately, the campus tour was canceled due to a wide heat alert, but it was not an ultimate setback since I would be given plenty of time to familiarize myself with the school. As an alternative to the tour, the tour guides answered questions and shared their personal experiences with all of us in the auditorium such as traditions in UPenn. One of the traditions that they shared was "Hey Day" where the students of the junior class would dress up in identical straw hats while carrying canes to mark their transition into senior year.
Afterwards, we had our final fancy dinner at Butcher & Singer with UPenn students and representatives. I was able to meet Jordyn Myers, Giovannie Iaboni, and Jaron Ma—all three are currently students at Penn. Jaron talked about his dual-degree for Environmental Science and Materials Science Engineering and the different types of people on campus. Jordyn was also very helpful as she initiated a a conversation about many colleges that we might be interested in based on our personal preferences. They all opened my eyes to different choices for majors as well, especially when Giovannie mentioned the great Nursing School in UPenn. The dinner was filled with all kinds of stories of weird Penn experiences, thought-provoking discussions, the "work hard, play hard" motto of Penn, and information about college in general. I've learned a lot about the University of Pennsylvania today and I am proud to say that it is definitely my top choice for college.
As we made our way back to the Sheraton, we had our first mesmerizing experience of a thunderstorm with lighting and rain. We learn more about the East Coast everyday and I cannot wait for another wonderful adventure tomorrow!