BREAKING: Freshman at Dream School Wildly Depressed
Photo by nydia hartono / CC by 2.0
November 18, 2019 at 10:36 pm
Despite recent reports that the University of Pennsylvania is ranked as one of the best universities globally, news broke this week that Penn freshman Blair Chuffman is depressed.
Given that Penn was Chuffman's number one choice college, she expressed disbelief that her mental health wouldn’t thrive here. She wondered if she had been misled when she visited Penn during spring break in her junior year of high school. “There were people playing frisbee on College Green,” she said. “Their serotonin levels seemed perfectly balanced.”
Since coming to Penn, Chuffman says, she has been surprised that the prestige of Penn’s four robust undergraduate schools, as well as its enriching liberal arts curriculum, abundance of historic architecture, and diversity of extracurricular opportunities, has not translated into a healthier emotional state.
More recently, Chuffman has entertained the idea that there could be underlying structural issues that may contribute negatively to students' mental health, including a lack of adequate mental health resources and the pervasive and damaging culture associated with a high concentration of high-performing students at elite institutions. Despite these realizations, however, she remains incredulous.
“In 2018, Penn was ranked the 16th best university in the world by U.S. News and World Report,” she said. “This year, we were ranked sixth in the United States, tied with Stanford and UChicago. And now you're telling me those statistics are arbitrary clickbait and unrelated to my actual quality of life?”