Reliving the first week of school as an upperclassman

We’re back at it

Wherever you were over the summer, interning, working, or taking a much needed break from your hectic in-school lifestyle, the time has come to disband from the comforts of that schedule and return to campus. That’s right, once again you must pack up your belongings and say goodbye to the people and places that made your most recent living situation warm and safe. It’s that strange time in our lives where it is as if no space is permanent, we are perpetually living out of a suitcase.

Enter moving back to campus.

Perhaps you’re experiencing excitement mixed with fear, and nervous anticipation of what’s to come. Envisioning the semester and planning for how difficult – no, how rewarding it’s going to be. After you’ve lugged what seems like endless suitcases and moving boxes, and rearranged your room just the way you like, there is a brief moment of silent contemplation before the semester hits.

No wait, it’s not that silent. It’s really, really loud and crazy escapades with your friends…NSO BABY! It goes something like this:

1) “guys, let’s play some games!”
2) *conversations yelling over music*
3) “How was your summer?”
4) *music blasting*
5)  ~selfies~
6) *Greetings*
7) ~more pics~
8) *rallying late at night*
10) “Are you a freshman?”
11) ~bad dancing~
12) ALLEGROS!!!!!!!!!!!
13) blurry encounters
14) (arguably) bad decisions
15) *goes to bed at 4 a.m.*
16) *wakes up at noon*
17) *gorges on brunch foods*

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Now that the celebrations of returning to campus and reuniting with friends is over, it’s time to sink back into the grind. Here are some of the things we are encountering during that first week:


Suddenly the familiar seems…unfamiliar

You’ve been here before. You’ve walked the campus grounds time and again and you have a great idea of where everything is. Yet, during the first week of classes this strange phenomena occurs where, regardless of the familiarity, you haven’t quite walked the grounds like this before. You still get somewhat lost getting to class. Somehow you still experience that brief moment of fear that you have walked into the wrong room, even though you checked 50 times. Relief doesn’t come over you until another student or professor makes note that yes, this is the class you signed up for.

You don’t know what to expect or have an idea of how your class schedule is going to flow because you haven’t experienced it yet. So now you’re running all over campus because your professor “needed just a few extra minutes,” but you have class right after. You’ve become that guy walking in late, standing in the back of a packed lecture with no seats left.

Oh wait, my bad, there is a seat left in the middle of the third row…

Then you contemplate either sitting on the floor in the back for a moment OR causing a scene and push through 10 people, distracting everyone because the professor has already begun the lecture.

But finally sit down and shake your head, deciding that you MUST leave the previous class early or you will be that person for the remainder of the semester.

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Trying to make a good impression becomes tedious

Meeting people for the first time holds a lot of weight, and during the first week of classes we are hypersensitive to this.

We dress somewhat to impress, as opposed to the “hobo” look we’ll be sporting right around the first midterms.

We have to introduce ourselves time and again.

“My name is Katie Petroski, I’m a junior majoring in English and I’m ambidextrous” is almost habitual for me to say now.

By the last class meeting of the first week, we’re trying to come up with a different way to introduce ourselves because we’re just plain bored of repeating ourselves. One more fun fact about yourself will completely throw you over the edge.

And no, I do not have a question about the syllabus.

Don’t be that person that keeps us from leaving class during syllabus week, either. Office hours are there for a reason!

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That overwhelming feeling

You’re still trying to snap out of summer mode. All of a sudden you need to buy numerous books and other supplies needed for your classes.

*silent tear for bank accounts*

Clubs are urging you to join them. There are welcome back picnics, the sudden forty-plus emails a day in your school inbox reminding you of on-campus recruiting already.

*silent tear for the unknown future*

And some “Thrive at Penn” drug and alcohol modules you’re supposed to complete but totally completed last year. Your clubs, organizations, and sports teams have meetings. You’re still trying to catch up with all of the people you haven’t seen over the summer. All the while professors want to hit the ground running. What does that mean for you? You’re already behind on your assignments.

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In all, excitement outweighs all of the other whirlwind of emotions. It feels great to get back into the swing of things. We’re about to uncover some extremely interesting topics, meet extremely interesting people, and push ourselves to new heights as we continue our college journeys.

UPenn: Penn