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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fall Semester @ Penn

So, I have now completed my first semester and have just one more to go.  It feels like I just started and yet I applied for graduation today.  Bizarre.  So, I thought I’d give a quick recap of the semester on the blog.  
In some ways the semester was harder than I thought and in some ways it was easier.  What it comes down to is that I thought that if I worked hard I would have plenty of time to always be on top of my schoolwork and that wasn’t true.  I found that I had so much work piled on me that it took extraordinary efforts to complete it all.  On the other hand, I expected to not be “smart” enough.  Now, it’s not that I turned out to be a genius, only I found that making the grade was less about intelligence and more about how hard you work.  After the semester ended I did a tally of how many pages of essay I wrote (double spaced, 12 pt. font) and it came to 91 pages.  Half of those pages were written in the last week of the semester and about half of them were from just one class out of my five.
The best part about the program so far is the cohort.  I have to say that I like every single person in the program.  It has been a while since I’ve been somewhere long enough to make friends and I’ve really missed having some!  The thing about enduring a grueling semester is that it makes for some definite bonding.  Plus, by virtue of our application to this program in the first place, we all have some common interests.
Most of my classmates and I attending a brunch at the director's house.

The campus itself is ok, but I wouldn’t rave about it.  Facilities at BYU were nicer.  It could be that BYU just has an exceptionally  nice campus, but that is my assessment.  There are several gorgeous old buildings as you would expect from an ivy league campus, but it’s a lot smaller and there’s less wide open space.  The education building is very small.  It’s nice, but it isn’t big enough, so I had one class in particular that was ridiculously overcrowded.  I don’t really take issue with any of that, but what I do take issue with is that the campus gym is free for undergrads but not grads.  What is up with that???  I pay the same price for tuition (which is a ridiculously large amount) and you can’t even let me go to the gym for free???  Yeah, I take issue with that, especially since it happens to be right across the street from my building and I can watch people working out through the window while I am in class (not in a creepy way, in a longing way).  Sometimes I really wonder where my tuition money goes.  It is at least 5 times higher than even the non-LDS tution for BYU and yet I can’t figure out what added benefit I am getting other than being able to put the Penn name on my resume, which has ceased to seem like that large of a benefit since most of the time when I say where I go to school people say, “oh, Penn State?”  
Anyway, there’s always more to say, but I guess I’ll leave my school assessment at that.    As for next semester, I feel rather optimistic.  It should be easier for several reasons.  First off, I already know that two of my five classes will require little work.  Second, I already know what to expect and what I need to do to make the grade! 


  1. It's funny you say that about Penn on your resume. Part of why I started the masters program at IU South Bend is that the diploma would just say Indiana University. So I know if anyone saw that they would say "Wow! IU! So you went to Bloomington?" Um......*cough*, not really.......

  2. haha, I TOTALLY know what you mean about telling people you go to Penn. My parents still think it's Penn State and I'm this close to buying them both those tee shirts with the giant "P" that say Not Penn State. Oh well...

  3. Glad you were able to have a nice break before the next semester started! Good luck- I am sure you will do great! We keep praying for you guys :-)