Friday, July 6, 2012

UPenn: My First Ivy League School

The Amtrak Station
I can’t believe we got up so early to catch the train for Philadelphia! I was so sleepy – I mean, even if I went to sleep at 9 last night, I still would’ve felt tired. However, once I ate my small breakfast I started to wake up, and before I knew it, I was on my first train ride. On the way there, the AC was blasting through the vents and I nearly froze from the cold (a first here in the east coast).
Once we arrived, I got out of the building and was once again in the heat. This time was different though; the air in Philly was not as humid and it didn’t feel like I was swimming in the air. Yes, it was still hot, but it felt a lot better than the weather in D.C. After looking around for a while we eventually took a cab to the University of Pennsylvania.

Who knew UPenn’s 271 year-old campus would look so beautiful up close? I sure didn’t; in fact, I was expecting it to look very run-down and old. However, as I arrived on campus, I saw how extraordinary it was; the buildings were huge and the campus was filled with enormous green trees giving it a grand and serene look at the same time.

As we came in to the Admission’s office to check in our names, I was a little excited to be checking out my first Ivy League school. I have never even been near one before, and here I was, walking around the grounds of a campus that was once so out of reach.
Anyway, as the admissions officer began talking about UPenn and all its glory, I noticed that she was speeding a little through the presentation. Going so fast isn’t such a bad thing, but since there wasn’t a slideshow or visual aid available, it was a little hard to keep up with her. Even though she did this, I did learn some things about Penn I didn’t learn before.
For example, they have no actual major for a path to medical school. Even so, Penn still has an 80% admission rate from Penn to a medical school. The reason for this is because students can major in something else while preparing for the core subjects that medical school requires. I liked this a lot since it allows students to discover new things from the exposure of taking different classes rather than getting little exposure from classes that are all in the same area.
Also, UPenn has some of the best financial aid I’ve heard thus far. Almost every single student has some sort of help and the best part is that they really review every single aspect of your money situation. They view everything; from family size to family circumstances, and will talk to you or your family personally if there are any problems in the paying process.
After our session, we all went on a tour of the campus. As I have mentioned earlier, the campus is a wonderful sight to see. The tour guide was also great since he was really engaging and hilarious. He was extremely knowledgeable about everything as well, always answering every question shot at him as well. Speaking of questions, I noticed that everywhere we’ve gone so far, hardly any parents ask any questions about the school. However, that was not the case today at Penn. It was nice to see so many parents actually caring about the school their children are interested in going.
In the end, I think that UPenn is not the right school for me. It is an incredible school, and anyone going here is very, very lucky; however, I feel as though there are many other choices for me besides this one. If I am going to go to a university for four whole years, I’d like to make sure that I am completely happy with the choice I’ve made;and I don't think I am completely happy with UPenn just yet. 
After the tour we took a quick bite to eat and went on our way back to D.C. The trip this time was the total opposite of the one before. This time, it felt like a long time before we arrived back. Also, it was pretty hot inside the train. For some reason the cold air did not reach the seats in the back. Anyway, once we came back to D.C. we headed out to the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Both were beautiful and majestic landmarks and I am glad I got to visit them before I leave D.C. tomorrow.

As our stomachs began to growl, we all agreed it was time to have dinner. After a long walk around the area we finally settled on a small sushi place. Unfortunately, I think sushi tastes gross. However, the sushi here was actually not that bad. I definitely don’t regret going there for dinner – it really filled me up.

Now that our week of college exploration is over, I am excited to begin our programs at Vanderbilt University. I know my Pharmacology class will be a blast – I can’t wait!

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