Ah, the mid-semester crunch: the week or so before Spring Break when professors refuse to acknowledge the demands of other classes, TAs are overwhelmed to the point of becoming useless and Penn students become notably hermitic.

It’s not so much that we never leave the house; it’s that we never leave our respective corners of the Penn community. Our dear campus is such a culture of little niches — tiny little worlds of majors and departments, clubs and teams and groups — that it’s incredibly easy to get lost. You can easily find yourself drowning in your work or your responsibilities, forgetting to come up for air, much less a little quality time with friends. And by quality time, I mean more than a couple drunken hours at Smoke’s. Or even the hungover next-day recap.

Does this sound like your M.O. of the past couple days? No plans to emerge from under your mountain of work (or leave the Rosenparty) any time soon? No worries: I'm not judging. I’m as guilty as the next work-obsessed recluse — there are weeks when the only thing that connects me to my friends are listservs, group BBMs and Facebook threads.

So let’s make a pact: for the sake of our mental health, let’s be social. Genuinely social. Soberly social. I mean lunch, some kind of excursion (Oh hey, Arts pg. 16-17) or any kind of real conversation that requires some effort. Because I have a hunch that when we only go through the motions of friendship — without really caring about and supporting each other — we might as well be alone. Or at least in a dozen different long-distance relationships (the subject of our inagural fiction contest's winner, written by Sean Whiteman's story, pg. 10).

Besides, we could all use a study break not spent on Hulu, Facebook or — and this pains me — Under The Button (which just celebrated its 1,500th post!). Go an a sticker hunt (pg. 5), be a high-rise rebel (pg. 6) or take a trip around the world on iTunes (pg. 14). Do whatever, just do it together. I’ve got a feeling it’ll make all the difference.

'til next week,



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