Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

‘Seeing My High School Friends Was Weird -- I've Changed So Much,' Reports Freshman After Fall Break


Photo by langll / CC0

Back in high school, Julia Matthews (W ‘22) knew she was always slightly outperforming her peers. She could understand math problems faster than most people, and she always gave the most insightful comments during classroom discussions. Of course, she was accepted to Penn. She’d read about the game changers, the innovators that graduated from Penn, and she aspired to walk the same path.

When Matthews went back home to visit her friends over Fall Break; however, it seemed that she was alone in her profound development. Her increased maturity and intellectual capacity were unrivaled among her quite average friends.

“It’s just like some of them are still stuck in high school,” explained Matthews. “They don’t understand what it means to be an adult. Sarah was still talking about who’s hooking up with Jason Coleman. Like, that is so high school, you know what I mean? In my PPE classes, I’m already learning about global economies and how all of us can really have a lasting impact internationally. When you put that into perspective, high school drama is so irrelevant. I just don’t get it.”

Matthews explained that she has experienced incredible growth emotionally and intellectually here at Penn. Even though she’s only been here for a few weeks, Penn has had a tremendous impact on her mental state.

“I almost feel transcendent, in a way. I’m just miles above everyone else, and each day the gap keeps on growing. The stuff I’m learning here, it’s just impossible to get anywhere else. I just feel so lucky that my brain is capable of handling all this information.”

"I mean," she muttered, "just look at my SAT scores. I'm miles ahead. Miles."