I was going to write my letter about Fling. I was going to write about how every event is off campus, about how much money everyone is spending on the Pool Party. I was going to talk about how Fling has become the worst representation of Penn’s fucked up social hierarchy.
But on Monday, while I was sitting in my stupid Comm seminar, I opened an email telling me—and every other student at this school—that a Junior girl in Wharton had died. And then, 20 minutes later, I found out that she had gone to high school with me.
My high school is huge. There are roughly 2,400 students enrolled—632 in my graduating class, specifically—and it keeps getting bigger. The top 20% is a feeder to Penn. 21 of us came here in 2013, and I haven’t really seen any of those 20 other people, including her, since.
On Monday, there was a “gathering of sharing and support” for anyone that knew Olivia. I went, and so did the 20 other people from my graduating class. But there were also people there that knew Olivia in countless different ways. In fact, so many people came that they had to move half us to a different room because we had exceeded the legal capacity.
At that moment, Huntsman 250 was comprised of some portion of the people that had made up Olivia’s Penn experience. It is impossible to keep track of all those whose lives you touch, but at this moment I remembered that this number is probably much higher than any of us expect.
I think that it is easy to think that you are alone. It is easy to shut people out, and it is easy not to talk about things. I don’t think we should ever do things just because they are easy, but I also think that sometimes we need a reminder that there are so many other options. You are never alone, and you can always find someone to talk to, even if it is the last person you would expect.
Monday was my reminder, and I hope that this can be yours.