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Ned’s Declassified Penn Survival Guide


Photo by Wiki Commons (with edits by Julia Ellis) | CC0

Penn can be a scary and confusing place to navigate. But don’t worry! To help students turn the challenges of Penn into opportunities for growth, we at UTB have discovered the easiest tips and tricks to success!


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1. Consider keeping up with the latest trends: Ketamine

Penn is nothing without our traditions, new and old. Students throw toast on the field during football games, scream the night before the first-year economics midterm, and get addicted to many different types of ludicrous drugs. The latest and greatest trend to come out of this fine institution is a strong love of ketamine. 

Jenna Fale, a junior in the College, admits she has a hard time keeping up with all the latest drug trends sometimes, yet she says, “But I would never let that stop me. Even if I wasn’t on the forefront of the new ketamine trend, I still got around to it. All it takes is a little time management and preparation, so there’s really no excuse not to do it eventually.”


Photo by Julia Ellis

2. Don’t waste your time making any friends. Especially during your first year.

“I spent so much of my time trying to make friends before I realized I hated everyone here. I wish I could get the hours of small talk back,” says Engineering sophomore Mark Hoper. 

Seasoned Penn students will tell you that nothing good can come from making friends in this place. Your first year is notorious for gullible and defenseless students making friends with emotional terrorists. The students at this school have such a talent for being some of the most obnoxious pricks in the Ivy League, largely due to their inability to care about others. After a point, it becomes a ridiculous challenge to crop out all your ex-friends from your photos.

Hoper said he met his best friends on the fourth day of New Student Orientation at a frat party, and he was so thankful to have someone to eat with in the dining halls. His gratitude quickly turned into trepidation as his friends siphoned out his will to live.  

“The drama was outrageous, you know? Why do I need to choose between my best friend, who served us all three-week-old empanadas, and my girlfriend, who got food poisoning in the middle of her midterm? I mean not to play devil’s advocate but I can see valid points on both sides.” 

3. Make time for self care

Penn comes with a heavy workload that can be challenging and stressful. The most important thing to do is always take the best care of yourself that you can. This means to take plenty of breaks for your mental health! Whether those breaks are taking care of your plants or falling into a generational cycle of crippling alcoholism, make sure you make time for you. Every person is different, so if you find it helpful to blow off steam and slash your ex’s tires don’t let anyone stop you!

4. Everyone but you has it all worked out

Many at Penn have heard of "Penn Face" and the stigma that surrounds it. Some students find Penn Face toxic because it festers as this fake sense of perfectionism that exaggerates people’s successes and increases the imposter syndrome in others. But after several studies and surveys conducted over the past few years, it appears that the easiest way to survive Penn is to realize that Penn Face is real, everyone else is doing exponentially better than you. 

Sarah doesn’t edit her instagram photos — you’re just ugly. Brad really does have a 4.0 GPA, and you are right in thinking that you don’t belong here. Why did Bridget get an internship at Goldman Sachs and not you? Because who in the world would want you?

Micheal Sac (C '24), explained his struggle against Penn Face and perfectionism in an interview with UTB: “I used to feel like I didn’t belong because I got a B or C in a class, and all my friends told me they got straight A’s. They told me the class was incredibly easy, and I might as well just drop out if I couldn’t handle the intro-level course. They were, of course, right in the end. I am a worthless, dumb, ugly, waste of space, and I do not deserve to be happy."


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5. Considering transferring.

The easiest way to survive Penn is to get as far away as you fucking can. Does this hellscape not appeal to you? Do you want to have something to live for? Then go to Drexel. This school is by miserable people for miserable people.