Among College Hall and Locust Walk, the Quadrangle is one of the first images to appear after searching up Penn on Google Images. To outsiders it is one of the more majestic buildings on campus, but to students, the Quad is seen as the ultimate symbol of freshman life at Penn. What could be better than living in one huge building with hundreds of other freshmen trying to figure out their lives at college? It’s the perfect place to find friends, whether that be in your hall, a short walk away to another residential college, or in McClelland. Whenever you need to study with a classmate or comfort your friend after a rough night, you can be at their room within a couple of minutes and if it’s cold, you don’t even have to leave the building. Many students find their friend group in the Quad or generally enjoy the constant liveliness that is the result of students from all different types of backgrounds being crammed into two blocks. The Quad is almost like a mini neighborhood, but it is a neighborhood that is part of the fabric of Penn.
At this point you may be realizing the elephant in the room—freshmen live in places other than the Quad. Kings Court English, Hill, and New College House, to name a few, are the less well–known, less glamorous alternatives to the Quad. How is it possible that housing, something that can be left up to chance, can influence a freshman’s experience so much? There are some freshmen (including myself) who ponder this question everyday, but thankfully Penn offers chances to move and discover what you’ve always wondered about living somewhere else. Mia Marion and Revi Aloni are two such freshmen who have gone the full nine yards and made the switch from somewhere that wasn’t the Quad, to somewhere that is the Quad. As students who have had two homes throughout the year, these are their thoughts and feelings about what it actually means to move into the Quad.
34th Street Magazine: Where did you live before living in the Quad and where do you live in the Quad now?
Mia Marion: I lived in Kings Court, now I live in Fisher Class of '28 in the Quad.
Revi Aloni: I was in Hill, and now I’m in Class of '28 in Fisher.
Street: When you initially selected housing what did you put as your first choices? Why?
MM: I put Ware single. I wanted a single because I decided that I was going to Penn right before the deadline and the housing deadline was pretty near to that. I wanted to be in Ware because I heard it was social and it was a nice part of the Quad and the rooms are big. The first 3 choices were all in the Quad.
RA: We put the Quad, I don’t remember the exact order but it was the biggest and closest to Wharton and the most social.
Street: What was your initial feeling when you found out where you were initially living?
MM: I was disappointed because I heard that a pivotal part of the freshman experience at Penn is living in the Quad with other freshmen. I was kinda dreading move–in day
RA: At first I was upset but then I was honestly really excited because it was new.
Street: How did those thoughts change after you actually moved in?
MM: When I moved into KC I found out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be...but I felt excluded a little from the people I heard having fun in the Quad and I felt excluded from my friends in the Quad.
RA: It was nice but it started to get inconvenient when walking to parties, and frats and even to class. Class at 9 a.m. in Huntsman was difficult, but I still liked it. I wasn’t necessarily thinking about moving to the Quad, it wasn’t a huge thought in my mind. I also work at Hillel so that was really far and I’m there all the time.
Street: When you lived in your original housing, what was your impression of how people lived in the Quad?
MM: I still thought it was super social and a lot of fun, more fun than KC.
RA: I started to realize most of the people I was friends with were in the Quad and they would hang out late night and I felt a little excluded.
Street: What compelled you to decide to apply for a room change into the Quad? Bad hall? Roommate? Bad Room? Friends in the Quad? Did it take multiple attempts?
MM: When I initially found out I wasn’t going to be in the Quad and was so disappointed I talked to an upperclassman who said I could change and people have had successful experiences moving into the Quad.
RA: Honestly my roommate had been toying with the idea for a while, and the night before the deadline she said why don’t we just apply and see what happens, and the app was super easy and we got it and we moved in the fall.
Street: What was your first reaction when you found out that you made it into the Quad?
MM: I was just so excited, I was a little sad to leave my old roommate but I knew we could be friends still, and my new room was in a really good location in the Quad near all of my friends and I knew it was going to be a fun semester.
RA: I was honestly really nervous to switch because it felt like a schlep to move everything but at the same time I was really excited. It took me a few days to decide if I wanted to do it.
Street: What was your expectation of how moving into the Quad would change your life at Penn?
MM: I thought I would have a lot more fun, and be more social, it was really inconvenient in KC to hang out in the Quad with my friends and I could just run over to their rooms and I could now hang out when they had impromptu get togethers
RA: Aside from convenience, I didn’t think of it being a huge change. I thought the first few days I would have to change a lot of things, but I didn’t think it would be a huge change to my college experience.
Street: What was your first week in the Quad like?
MM: My first week was a little overwhelming but also a lot of fun, I had to learn the lay of the land but everyone in my new hall was nice and friendly and it was nice to have my friends hang out in my room.
RA: It didn’t feel that different from Hill, but it took less time to get to class and one day it was pouring and I didn’t have to convince myself too much to get out of bed.
Street: How did actually living in the Quad compare to your expectations?
MM: It pretty much lined up with what I was expecting.
RA: I love living here now, going over to a friends room is so easy, walking to Hill feels farther than it actually is, I’m really glad I moved.
Street: How much of having a good time in your residence do you think is influenced by having a good roommate or hall versus being in a good location or a good building?
MM: It’s a lot more influenced by having a good hall and good roommate versus living in a building that’s really nice, living in NCH would be really nice but I wouldn’t want to live there because it isn’t social.
RA: I think having people you know around you is important but I don’t think they need to be right there, one thing I like about the Quad is that everyone is here in the building who I am friends with but not in my hall.
Street: Are you happy with your room change or do you have any regrets? Was it worth it in the end?
MM: I’m very happy with my room change, no regrets, completely worth it.
RA: Yeah I am really glad I did it. No regrets but I am not a very regretful person in general!
Street: Is there anything about your old room that you miss?
MM: I miss my roommate but I see her a good amount.
RA: Not really honestly. Since I ate kosher there weren’t many options at Hill so I don’t miss it that much and it didn’t make a huge difference not having it.
Street: What advice would you give a freshman next year who wants to move into the Quad?
MM: I would say just submit the room change form and if you get it, you get it but it’s what you make of it. You will have a good time no matter where you are.
RA: I would say probably that if you feel strongly about moving definitely go for it and if you get it great but if you don’t move, Hill has a lot of advantages and make the most of it. If you’re not in Hill it depends.