Johanna’s First Month at Penn


Johanna Villanueva 

University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2014 

Hometown: Los Angeles 

High School: John C Fremont 

 My First Month at Penn

So one month is officially done with, and it amazes me that I have survived. 🙂 This first month was definitely a difficult one. I remember the first day of class being the most depressing since, unlike high school, you don’t (usually) have classes with your friends. I remember that day feeling really lonely. For me, being in a place where I know no one is particularly hard because it is definitely not my comfort zone.  

 As soon as my classes were official, I started meeting people. I’m actually a really shy person, so the only way this happened was through my friend Gaby who is really outgoing and meets people as a hobby. I have her for my calculus class(large lecture) and writing seminar (about 16 ppl). 

 For my two other classes, Freshman seminar (about 10) and my psychology class (about 300) I don’t know many people. In my freshman seminar, I only know one guy whom I met through my peer advising group. He’s also in my math recitation (really small class). Still haven’t warmed up to anyone since I only see them once a week and then never again. Or I forget what they look like. My psychology class is too big to know anyone. I’m pretty sure there is someone, but I haven’t seen them. I sit alone usually. I sit in the same exact row every time I go to that class and as the weeks progressed I’ve enjoyed it much more. Sure, there is absolutely no personal attention, but the class is interesting and I meet new ppl everyday. (Apparently I’m the only one who likes to sit in that exact same row every time.) One thing I’ve learned this month is that no one tells you to do your work. I’m sure you’ve been told this before, but seriously. If you don’t write an essay, your professor doesn’t talk to you and urge you to complete it. Plus, if you have a question or look like you need help, you have to seek help. Office hrs are really useful. 

 I don’t want to make college sound horrible, it’s actually pretty great. I came here with the preconception that I was going to be overly depressed and that I wasn’t going to meet anyone, but I guess what’s helped me through this is the fact that everyone is going through the same thing. In my suite, I have friends that are always inviting me to eat, watch Glee on Hulu, watch a random movie, play Taboo, buy Penn’s awesomest cookies known as Insomnia Cookies, go to shows,etc. My roommate is pretty awesome and the very first day we set ground rules and so far, things have worked out great. Dorm life is probably the coolest part of being in college.

 My biggest fear coming to college was the whole growing up thing. It still hasn’t sunk in, but I think it is because being in college away from home hasn’t been that different. Sure, I’m away doing my own thing. Not having to ask permission to do anything. But I still feel like I’m near my family and friends. Facebook makes it possible 😀 and calling and skype. and having a huge picture wall.  Midterms are coming up, and the only advice I have here is don’t procrastinate. I procrastinate tons, but I am very organized and keep track of what’s due when and when I’m going to do it. Also, don’t procrastinate essays, they don’t turn out that well. There is more I’m sure, but I can’t recall it at the moment.   Can’t wait for fall break this weekend. Going to visit my friend at Princeton. But before that, need to focus on midterms. Yay.

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About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

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