The Penn—and arguably the American—mindset follows a linear path: dedicate your high school career to getting perfect grades, go to college, secure a top–notch summer internship, then off to the corporate world you go. There are times when a step off this road can feel like the end of the world, so it's important to remember that the world is much bigger than University City.
So here are five things to do with your life when you feel like dropping out.
Any traveling pet owner can understand the dilemma that is leaving your companions at home while you're without your beloved furry friend. But the new trend of international pet sitting may just be the key to any travel–based emotional and financial issues. Through companies such as Trusted Housesitters or Nomador, animal lovers can connect with pet owners looking for care for their pets in exchange for a place to stay. TikTok travel couple Jori Kerr and Austin Andrews gained tens of thousands of followers through their series of videos documenting their journeys across the country in the United States, Germany, and even Grenada. "We love this way of life so much that we hope we can make it permanent," Kerr said, and it's pet sitting that makes their adventures are possible.
Join a Fishing Boat
Sometimes it can be nice to get off campus and try something out of your comfort zone—but why not take a plunge further into open waters? Becoming a crew member of a fishing boat is not your ordinary office internship, but it can be a great way to develop a strong work ethic and an appreciation for the land and sea. Case in point: incoming Penn law student James Chang (C '22). James spent two months aboard an Alaskan fishing boat, diving deep into the life of being a deckhand on the Pacific Northwest waters. Maybe James' journey will inspire you to take a leap into a post–grad gap year.
Get back to your roots through the Neolithic practice of nomadic pastoralism still used today. The only things necessary to begin your career as a pastoral nomad are livestock and high spirits. The agricultural tradition is most commonly practiced in parts of Central Asia and East Africa. However, the arid landscapes of rural Pennsylvania and the Northern Rockies can still prove to be great routes for your next Spring Break excursion.
Get a Unique Certification
While a medical license can take upwards of a decade to receive, there are many other extraordinary careers you can become certified in just a few months or even weeks. With $40 and an age–appropriate ID, you can become a professional beer judge. You’re given 60 minutes to answer 200 questions evaluating different types of brews for taste, aroma, and “mouthfeel.” Alternatively, you may wish to have a different kind of positive impact. A certified happiness coach helps others gain a better perspective on life. For those with less patience, just a couple of hours of free time can grant you ordination at a variety of online ministries.
Run For Office
It's easy to feel hopeless with the emerging pressures of adulthood and a new career, so consider running for a government position. While you might be a few years away from the presidency, in many states, you can become governor before you’re able to drink. To run for Philadelphia mayor, there is an age minimum of 25, but 2025 might just be the year for those 18+ to try their chances as a judge of election. And who knows, maybe your next project can involve lowering the age limit.
It’s important to remember that even if you fail that midterm or get rejected from that club or internship, you can always jump on a fishing boat and sail far, far away from here.