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Seven Acronyms Every Penn Freshman Needs to Know


Photo, with edits by Sammy Gordon, by Adams999 / CC BY-NC 2.0 and Peter Domiano / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

1. HPV

HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease, or STD.  While usually harmless and easy to deal with, some instances of HPV can lead to genital warts or cancer.  Students at Penn have reported contracting HPV simply by being in the vicinity of members of the Sprint Football team, and 95% of students living in the Quad have HPV.


Commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly, this drug’s effects last up to six hours—the perfect duration for your next music festival or mutli-stage computer science exam.  MDMA, or methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine, is known to induce a feeling of euphoria and heighten the senses of the user.  Adverse side effects include nausea, involuntary teeth chattering, and depression.  Pick up your MDMA prescription at CAPS or SHS.

3. LSD

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is commonly referred to as acid, and induces powerful effects of delusion.  Penn students love taking LSD with their coffee in the morning, and CAPS recently stopped prescribing it due to a lack of bioavailability. It is known to induce nausea and sweating, so be sure to carry your Pedialyte with you after you pop one of these bad boys.  

4. MFL

The Market-Frankford Line, or MFL for short, is the most advanced subway line in the world.  This feat of engineering travels 300 miles per hour (MPH) across the city of Philadelphia.  It can get you from City Hall to 40th street in under thirty seconds.  Another interesting fact: while on the MFL, federal and Pennsylvania state laws do not apply, so you can literally get away with anything.  It is also a great way to get to Whole Foods, and an ethical alternative to using Uber or Lyft.

5. HFM

HFM stands for Hand Foot Mouth disease.  It is an extremely prevalent illness here at Penn, with our student body accounting for 80% of all active HFM cases worldwide.  Get it by putting your hand on any surface within a one mile radius of Penn’s campus.  


LGBT, or Let’s Get Blackout Together, is one of the most commonly used acronyms at Penn. You’ll frequently hear students say, “Let’s go do some studying at the LGBT center.” This is just a fun way of saying, “Do you guys want to go out tonight?”  

7. IRS

The IRS, or Internal Revenue Service, is commonly referred to as “the most annoying thing” or “literally the devil” by certain Penn students.  It is the number one cause of Penn students going to prison, and it handles the Government's collection of taxes.  At Penn, especially in our business program called Wharton, students do not like to give their money away (unless it goes directly back into Wharton, which is Penn’s business school). So a lot of us get caught in sticky situations in which we owe the Federal Government money, but we do not want to give them money.  This is where the IRS comes in: They keep us in check, and are a ton of fun to be around.  So when you see them running down Locust or smashing a GSR window, be sure to give them a wave.