I walked in to room 329 of the Anthropology department a little late on the first day of classes. Sure, it was a little unsettling that everyone around me looked prepubescent, but I just assumed I was feeling a little more senior than usual.
It wasn’t until the professor asked how we were finding freshman year that I realized: I was in a freshman seminar. Sure, this would’ve been acceptable about three years ago when I was an actual freshman, but now this simply seemed uncouth.
It was a total happenstance that found me cavorting unenlightened into room 329. Thanks to the abhorrently crafted core curriculum system in the College, I found myself needing to fulfill the society sector requirement in order to obtain a diploma worthy of the Penn name. No matter that I’m a history major who spends the majority of her class time dissecting diverse societies. No matter that being foreign and finally, after three years, learning how to spell things with “z”s instead of “s”s and therefore fully integrating myself into American society should automatically qualify me for completion of the requirement. No. I would have to find a class that fit into my schedule and fulfilled this ludicrously moronic requirement.
I thus signed up for an anthro class, seeing as I’d never taken one before. It was a small seminar so I assumed that was the reason I had to seek permission from the department to take it. But in retrospect, it was obviously because I was the only idiot who didn’t realize it was designed exclusively for freshmen. Regardless, I found myself surrounded by nervous-looking eager beavers who were on the cusp of their first college class and were clearly deeply disturbed by my presence. They had probably viewed this class as a haven away from the prying and judgmental ears of older folk who would disdain their juvenile comments. They — unlike the professor — were clearly disturbed when I awkwardly revealed that I was a senior.
Despite that traumatic first day which found me red-faced and shamed, I decided to stay put for the semester. I’m sure you’re wondering why I haven’t dropped this class, to which I say, would you? With hardly any work and no mandatory attendance, this class is a dream come true. Besides, it’s the only one that fits in my stupidly full schedule and fulfills the requirement. I’m just grateful my professor is indulging my innapropriate ways.
Admittedly, I feel silly every time I enter 329. I’ve always shunned core requirements and taken challenging and intellectually stimulating classes, rather than sat in a 600-person lecture and learned why mice get sad sometimes. But this attitude, albeit rewarding in some areas, has left me with holes in my transcript.
I deeply resent Penn for its rigid bureaucratic core, but I need to graduate come spring. So I’m finally facing up to the fact that this semester, at least, I’m going to have to shirk my idealistic notions of education in favor of Penn’s. I won’t be happy about it, but at least the man can't keep me down much longer.