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OP-ED: Penn Should Teach More Practical Skills, Like How to Get a Dental Student to Marry Me


Photo by Lizzy Machielse / The Daily Pennsylvanian

As a student majoring in an interdisciplinary field in the College, I'm a fan of the liberal arts ethos, which tells us to explore what academia has to offer, discover our passions, and become more enriched citizens with a complex, multifaceted worldview. But at a certain point, we must also consider the importance of knowledge that will help us function as members of society. 

That's why, after nearly four years of college, I only wish Penn would have taught me more practical skills — such as how to do taxes, how to cook for myself, and how to get a dental student to marry me.

My sector and foundational requirements have led me to calculus, geology, and sociology, among other subjects. They were interesting, sure, but I find myself wondering when I am ever going to need to know how to calculate a Taylor series or know what "cultural capital" means.

I know for a fact, however, that the love of my life is somewhere in the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine down the street. And, still, I have no way of getting to them. Having the intellectual tools to find my future spouse, who is most certainly a practitioner of the dental arts, will be an indispensable life skill.

Frankly, I find it ridiculous that I'm supposed to know the definition of "ontology," but I am well on my way to graduating from this prestigious university without an engagement ring from a dental student who will provide for my beautiful, upper-middle class family and rock blue scrubs in the bedroom to boot. Really? Something seems off here.

I know how to write an essay. I know how to finish a problem set. But Penn, your curriculum lacks the useful information I will need to survive as a self-sufficient adult: namely, the precise steps I need to take to convince a Penn Dental student to carry me off into the sunset and live a happy, plaque-free life.