08 11 / 2013
04 10 / 2013
This is my seventh Family Weekend here at Penn and two things are always the same: Happy Proud Families and Somewhat Embarrassed Children. Well embarrassed children, this post is for you! Here’s my sage advice on how to overcome the embarrassment of your parent sporting a Penn Mom t-shirt or Grandpa wearing his Proud Penn Grandparent button: Embrace it!
Think of it this way, every weekend at Penn is “your” weekend. One time, the whole school year, your families are encouraged to come and see what your life is all about. One weekend is all you have to give them. One. I’m sure your families would remind you of the tuition they are paying or distances from which they traveled, which are all valuable. But, consider it this way…this is a time you get to show of your Penn to them. Show them why they should be proud and why you are happy to be here, even when they aren’t around. Enjoy that pride, bask in it!
So, let go of the embarrassment and start embracing the pride of the people who support you from far away and will continue to support you when things don’t always go your way. Give them a weekend, they’ve earned it!
10 9 / 2013
04 9 / 2013
30 8 / 2013
27 8 / 2013
27 8 / 2013
27 8 / 2013
Although I can’t even remember what I was struggling to stay awake to watch on Sunday evening (#oldpersonsundays), I couldn’t help but learn about the Miley Cyrus drama at the VMAs by logging into Facebook and Twitter yesterday. Having seen my own shocking VMA moments (thank you Madonna and Britney), I wasn’t all that shocked to hear about Miley. As I’ve read posts over the past couple of days, they run the gamut from general concern over her representation of women, cultural appropriation (taking elements of a specific culture, not your own, to achieve a specific image) and those defending her in the name of “slut-shaming”. However, as I’m prone to do when I see these “big” scandals emerge, I considered what this would look like if someone other than Miley (or Madonna or Britney for that matter) were to do it. I couldn’t help think….this girl decided to do on national TV what many women do in clubs, at parties and in many other social spheres several nights a week - particularly on a college campus.
No doubt, many college-aged women (and men) have strong feelings about Miley’s performance. (I also suspect plenty of them have no real feelings about her/the performance). For those students engaged in the dialogue, I challenge you to think about Miley locally. Next time you pick a Halloween costume or outfit for a theme party, notice if how “sexy” it is matters to you. If it does, ask yourself why? Next time you’re at a party and decide to break out the newest dance move you gleaned from a youtube video, consider if you might actually be appropriating someone’s culture. Are you making fun of someone or are you legitimately interested in the style of dance? If we’re honest, there are thousands of Miley’s at Penn (and you have plenty of company on every other college campus).
With the start of the school year upon us, and another “social season” underway, consider if you’re on a path to becoming Miley. College is a time for growth and much of that growth will come in the midst of failure. Just remember, you are making choices and those choices are being judged by others. Hopefully you’ll be smart enough not film your Miley moments (though undoubtedly, some of you will). But just because they aren’t immortalized in video, doesn’t make these choices any less important.
23 8 / 2013
I always love this time of year on a college campus when new students are arriving in droves, unloading their overstuffed cars, trying to act “cool” with parents in tow and learning what it means to be a part of the Penn community.
Recently my alma mater, Miami University (OH) posted a video in conjunction with Move-In day, showcasing advice to incoming students from alumni. Since someone clearly overlooked asking me (ha!), it got me thinking about the advice I’d give a new student. There are the tried and true pieces of wisdom like: study hard, have fun, make great friends, and get involved. An alum fro the Class of ‘37 astutely noted, “don’t be a playboy”, which is sage advice at any age!
Mine, upon reflection a “few” years removed from my own undergraduate experience is this: Enjoy the journey of self-discovery. If you end up leaving campus the same as you arrived, then you did it wrong. For better or worse, your high school self isn’t coming to campus with you. This is the time to learn to accept failure (and grow in spite of it), put yourself in situations which challenge you (and learn what your limits might really be) and connect with people who genuinely “get you” (and will create memories you’ll be recounting for years to come). Being at Penn will change you, or at least it should change you. Your job is to be your authentic self and if you don’t yet know who that is, you have four years to get acquainted. Welcome Quakers!