For the first time in two and a half years at Penn, I’m trying to do my reading. For all my classes. Seriously. All of it. Are you surprised? I was too—but we shouldn’t be.

I worked my ass off to get into Penn. I spent hours pouring over textbooks and novels. I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again my notes. I didn’t just need to learn the material, I needed to master it. But as soon as I got to Penn, my commitment to reading and absorbing took a nose dive.

I always complain about how much reading I have. Don’t professors know I have other classes? Yours isn’t the most important one. I do other things.

And then I realized how horribly, horribly obnoxious that is. It wasn’t that I was frustrated by the amount of work I was assigned. I was mad that I got assigned work at all. Which makes no sense. Because this is a university. I didn’t come to Penn to sit in my bed and watch Mad Men for the fourth, fifth, and sixth time (which I have done my freshmen, sophomore, and junior year). I came to learn. I came to be pushed harder by my classmates and my professors, and to absorb as much useful knowledge as I humanly can in four short years.

My professors don’t care that I need to look for a job. They don’t care that I spend most of my time working on Street, and they certainly don’t care that I really, really want to go out on Thursday. Nor should they. And honestly, I shouldn’t either. This is a school. How ungrateful, how childish it is of me to demand that my academic life orbit around everything else I have going on.

Penn accumulates hundreds of unbelievable professors, people who have spent their life’s work on research and the mastery of one subject. So instead of staring at them blankly when they ask me any question (which they do not deserve), I’m going to open my book and do my damn reading for once.

And you know what? It’s been great. I feel engaged in class. I don’t have to scramble during midterm season (this is a slight lie, I am still scrambling, but it’s definitely a more organized scramble). I don’t dread being called on anymore. And, of course, I’m learning. And isn’t that the point?


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