Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Experience in Pennsylvania!

Vanderbilt cohort showing our love for Penn.
Our day started at 5:45 AM. We were on a tight schedule to get to the Penn Station to take the Amtrack to Pennsylvania. Although we were all very tired we made it to the Amtrack in one piece. The Amtrack was busy but less cramped than the subway system in New York. During our wait for the Amtrack, Mr. Mannix explained how the Amtrack system worked. When the train arrived we rushed into our train. We tried to catch up with everyone and tried not to stall the line to get into the train. Since we had all our luggage it was difficult to get by the narrow train isles, but luckily there was a man on the train that helped us get our luggage up in the correct compartments. 

Our view from our room.
The Amtrack ride took around an hour. It was soothing and nice to be on the Amtrack. I am sure it was because I was half asleep, it was quiet, and it was air conditioned. When we approached our destination we got out and took a cab to our hotel. It was still early in the morning, when we arrived at the Sheraton Hotel. I was very hot and humid, but it was nice to retrieve out from the sun into the cool, air conditioned hotel. We didn't get to settle in our rooms but we got to rest, change our clothes, and get breakfast before we left.

We went by foot to the University of Pennsylvania. Since the sun was blazing, it was relaxing that the school was near our hotel. Walking to the school, I realized how important it was for me to go to a school that had close proximity to it's housing areas like Colombia. 

"What are you readin' Ben?"
Most of the information said at the session was similar to Columbia. For instance both schools viewed applications holistically and most of the the requirements to apply to the school were the same. In addition some of their resources for students were similar. The acceptance rate was also very alike.

One aspect that I admired about Penn was that they had a lot of extracurricular activities that were open to all students. They also have a lot of one-on-one advisory help for the student. There are advisers that help students with managing time, grading papers, and preparing for certain interviews. Penn offers the helpful resources that I would want to have access to when I go to college. Another aspect that I was interested in during the information session was their dual graduate degree, when a student can get two degrees from two of the schools offered at Penn in the same amount of time. Because of Penn's resources and advisory help, I can really see myself attending there. I absolutely learned a lot of interesting things about the University of Pennsylvania and I think that the tour/information session was helpful to understand what Penn has to offer.
"No Ben, I'm pretty sure I founded Penn?"

The White Dog Cafe's Menu
After the tour, we had lunch with the admission officer and some of students who attend University of Pennsylvania. We went to White Dog Cafe, which was a little cozy restaurant. I sat in a table with three of the students. They clarified a lot of uncertainties about the school and challenges that I will soon face as an uprising junior. I really appreciated the advice from the college students and enjoyed their company during the lunch. 

When the lunch was over, we returned to the hotel to rest. During this time my hotel roommates, Chiamaka and Jasmine, and I debriefed about the lunch. We talked about what we learned from the college students and relieved some of our uncertainties ourselves. Later on we all met again to get dinner. We went to this restaurant called Hip City Veg. I really enjoyed it. It was perfect for the end of the day. 

Vanderbilt cohort with the Penn students after lunch.

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