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I have read through a dozen Change.org petitions. I have debated whether or not to take all of my classes pass-fail so that I can focus on the arduous labor of fusing my body to my bedsheets. I have convinced myself the world will end this year, so I don’t have to worry about grad schools analyzing the grades I received during a global pandemic.
They’re vaguely circular (on a good day). They live in warm styrofoam cups, steamy aluminum containers. They’re steeped in cheese and tomato sauce, and they rest upon vegetables that have become unrecognizable. Yes, I’m talking about Magic Carpet’s meatless meatballs — the bella donna, if you will. This is where I ultimately want to be laid to rest.
I’ve been in this building since it was a women’s gym. Back then, there was excitement, activity, the smell of young sweat and hope. Now, it’s just stuffy English majors pretending to be interested in Marx or The Faerie Queene. I can’t take it anymore.
Students at Penn all know that Philadelphia’s tap water is contaminated and completely undrinkable. They also know that in order to fit in, they have to carry around a huge water bottle to dramatically sip from in class to quietly boast about their hydration, and then leave class six times to aggressively urinate.
You may have seen me asleep in odd positions around campus — my spine crushed into shards from contorting my body to fit on tiny chairs, my face pushed into the comfort of a cold, wooden table, or me just laying in the middle of the pavement. Am I narcoleptic, or just extremely zen?
Most of the time, the carrels are empty. Occasionally, an exhausted student sits, slumped over books, apparently oblivious to the fact that she has decided to work at a carrel, the academic prison cell, even though other floors of the library have windows, sunlight, and are larger than 2 x 2 ft.
In ASTR 001, the stakes are high. No one in the class has ever seen a number before, and suddenly a professor who was involved in a Nobel Prize-winning experiment is trying to convince hundreds of emotionally concussed students that gravity can bend space. Yeah right, Mark.
Entering the Kelly Writers House induces a minefield of anxiety unless you have two visible piercings, are wearing a black turtleneck, have self-published your childhood poetry, or a combination of the three. However, as more students begin taking advantage of Amazon’s ability to self publish and start wearing turtleneck sweaters to combat the cold, it has been difficult for the writer’s house to distinguish who belongs and who doesn’t in the winter months.
In summer, the pointing gets to be unbearable. In fall and spring, the changing weather gives me absolutely no stability. But in winter, when the sun sets early and it becomes the norm to bundle up in bulky coats and sweaters, I shine.
Some people were recruited to Penn to play sports; some got in because they’re legacies; others, like me, got in because of merit. Pure talent takes many forms, but my creative genius shines through one thing and one thing alone: my elaborately dressed American Girl Doll collection.
You know who you are. You’ve got that Cartier bracelet, a job ready to go at Goldman, you wear suits to class, and you think you’re ready to take on the world, don’t you?
When was the last time you checked out a book from Fisher Fine Arts Library? Was there ever a time that happened? Have you ever looked up a book on Franklin only to find that it’s located in Fisher Fine Arts? No? That’s because they have exactly four (4) (fɔr/fɔː) books within their walls.
I fought valiantly. I did everything I could to avoid it. I watched Vine compilations on Youtube, funny videos on Twitter, and cooking videos on Instagram, but, slowly, TikTok began to infiltrate the mix. People reposted TikTok videos on everything, and I found myself watching them and laughing against my will.
I use the term “cock block” liberally because I feel it is the only way I can describe the simultaneous hope and frustration I feel when each morning is cool, but the late afternoon makes me prefer to light myself on fire than to endure the 85° sauna that is Philadelphia. I want to wear sweaters, school-girl knee socks, and button-downs — how else am I supposed to gain meaning from my English degree? But every day I have to go back to wearing shorts and a t-shirt like a loser who is being fucked in the ass by climate change.
No one seems to understand, except maybe the balding manager who stands by the self check-out and insists that I take a bigger bag if I buy more than two granola bars at a time. That’s how he shows that he cares.
I am funny. This is a thing I say to myself whenever my world is falling apart and I realize that all of my jokes are recycled John Mulaney material, and slowly my sense of humor separates me from my peers, because whatever I think is funny they call “an atrocity” or “brutal murder.”
It’s that time of year again: back to school time! I like to delay the purchase of my school supplies until the third week of classes, both because I enjoy the surge of adrenaline I get when I desperately search through my backpack for paper to take notes on, inevitably coming up empty handed then writing on a tissue for an hour and a half, and also because there is nothing in my life that provides meaning other than the purchase of stationery.
Since I'm an English major at Penn, you might question my sudden claim to illiteracy. You may find yourself asking, how did she type this? How is she taking any classes? However, it really is true: I can’t read anymore, yet I find myself enrolled in four English classes.
Now that Lent is over, Jeremy Taft (C ‘20) is excited to return to his old habits feeling fresh and spiritually rejuvenated. With Easter out of the way, he doesn’t have Jesus in his mind, looming over him while he goes back to doing drugs on the bodily surfaces of his roommate.
I knew this before, but after drinking until my internal organs were screaming loudly, seeing frat boys wear shorts with hems disturbingly close to their genitalia, and watching my friends pee on the side of Walnut street, I knew that without Fling to look forward to and enjoy, my life would be quite meaningless.