How to survive the Quad

Everything you need to know

The Quad is ancient


Ya, that means the architecture is pretty impressive, but that also means that it’s had years and years to accumulate problems. Last year, the lower quad flooded because the drainage pipes decided to stop working, I found out the walls are basically only held together by the 1000 layers of paint they put on them, and it’s got more leaks than the DNC, so maybe invest in a bucket.

It’s like you’re living in the Discovery Channel

Furry miscreant eating some wrapped chocolate it stole

There are furry miscreants that like to crawl through the window to trash your room (squirrels actually really suck). The creatures of the Quad love slobs, so clean your room, close your window, and find every hole in your wall and get it sealed, or you’ll have some unexpected house guests.

If you celebrate 420, disregard the above

If you enjoy recreational herbs, please ignore my comment about the windows, and crack one open! No one wants your second-hand high while they’re trying to finish their calculus homework (I’m looking at you, kid who lives at the end of the hall!).


It spreads everywhere, won’t go away, and always leaves you with a disgusted look on your face — it’s basically the fungal version of [insert the candidate you dislike here]. When I had mold in my room, maintenance tried everything short of burning the building down, and it still came back. So, when faced with a mold infestation, in order to preserve your health and well-being, you should move immediately to a new room…or a new country, depending on the type of mold.

Washing machines suck

The good news is that they’re free to use. The bad news is that you get what you pay for. So, unless you do your laundry at 3am, you’ll be competing with your fellow Quad residents for machines (in my house there were only three washers and three dryers). To add insult to injury, the machines are also perpetually broken and are never fixed. On the upside, now, you can be more eco-friendly and start air-drying your clothes! …and immediately realize you no longer care about polar bears and glaciers so long as your clothes get dried in a reasonable amount of time.

The walls are basically made of cardboard

Everything louder than your inside voice is audible to everyone in the hall or in the rooms next to yours. EVERYTHING! So, if you’re telling your friend your deepest, darkest secret, try to be quiet about it, or your deep, dark secret will just be deep, dark information. The real problem, though, is that it goes the other way around too. Your neighbor’s terrible taste in music? It’s now your new background music. Their inability to play the trombone well? Now, it’s your problem too. Their nighttime activities? Uncomfortably audible. So, I don’t know…buy some headphones?

Closed doors

Ah college, one of the few times in your life that you’ll be living around so many bright minds, sharing ideas and opinions…nope. Well, not the bright minds part, the other thing — the blah blah talking bit. I don’t want to sound bitter, but I only knew three people on my hall, and I’m not even the worst — some knew none. It’s actually a kind of weird experience. No matter which hall you visit, each one has all the doors closed and is deathly silent, like haunted house silent. You may be the extroverted type and try being the first to keep your door open or knock on peoples’ doors to talk to them, however, this only works part of the time. But look on the bright side: now you’ll have more time to get caught up on Game of Thrones.

Don’t forget your keys

If you get yourself locked out of your room enough, like me, you’ll start to get charged for being a nuisance, and, if you lose your keys altogether, they’ll charge you $200 for a lock replacement. So, before you leave your room, remember your three keys: the one to open your building, the one to open your room, and the one to open the treasure chest you keep the gold you pay your tuition in. Seriously though, they charge us a dragon’s horde in tuition, then nickel and dime us for losing our keys. WTF UPenn?

What goes up must come down

In short, everything you walk up the stairs and into your room will have to eventually be walked out of your room and down the stairs. So, realize that, unless you live nearby, everything you buy will eventually have to be stored or tossed, and DO NOT underestimate the cost of storage — I was an idiot and, now, I’m getting charged $1200 for all the junk I brought. Also, refrigerators and microwaves are kind of heavy and expensive, so just rent the refrigerator-microwave combo unit; you won’t even need either once you move out of the Quad.

If you have a complaint, have your parents call for you

I got this tip from a maintenance worker. He told me that, when a student complains, the complaint is pretty much ignored, but, when a parent complains, the problem is addressed immediately. Well, look at that. You’re old enough to vote, own a gun, and go to war, but you’re not old enough lodge a complaint worth investigating. Go figure.

Now, you’re all set. You know how to survive the Quad and can check one more concern off your list. All that’s left is saying bye to your parents, getting over homesickness,  passing classes, joining clubs, getting a social life, exercising, doing sports?, graduating, paying off your student loan, figuring out how to get a job, learning how to do taxes, growing-up, getting your life together, finding your true purpose in life, and finally…leaning how to tie a tie. Good luck!

UPenn: Penn