I have a confession: I’ve never taken a creative writing class at Penn. I’ve never taken any type of writing class at Penn. I’ve never even taken an English class at Penn. In fact, the last time someone in an academic setting gave me feedback on my writing other than “this is good” was probably in 8th grade, when my English teacher took off points because I said “era in time” and that is redundant. And yet, somehow I am the Editor-in-Chief of this publication.

So this semester I signed up to take English 117: The Arts and Popular Culture because 1) my predecessor told me to, 2) my Managing Editor is taking it with me and 3) basically everyone else on Street ever has taken it (this may be an overstatement but, like, barely). In my mind, it was going to be an easy class. We have to write about the arts and popular culture, and I literally run the arts and popular culture magazine at Penn. Besides, I know how to write.

But then I realized, what if I’m bad at creative writing? 

I thought about erring on the side of caution and switching the class to pass fail, but I didn’t. I also thought about dropping it, but I’m not going to. Why? Because I think it’s time to find out if this is actually something I’m good at. And I think that it’s senior year, and that it would be easy to take bullshit classes and not challenge myself, but that just sounds like a very good way to waste a $66K tuition check.

When I came to Penn three years ago, I challenged myself by joining Street. This summer, I challenged myself by moving to Chicago by myself. Every time I challenge myself, I become a better person. It’s not fun, but the result is worth it. And I think that applies to you no matter where you are in life. 

So, as we officially kick off the school year at Penn, keep this in mind. Do something new, break the monotony, stop wearing fucking Adidas Superstars. Staying static is easy, changing is not.


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