Other 30

What are some cool places to visit in Philly? To bring a visiting friend or family member.

Philly is a great city with a lot to offer. If you are looking for fun things to do during the day, I would recommend checking out Reading Terminal Market, the Delaware River waterfront, and Rail Park. There are also a lot of historical attractions - you can see the Liberty Bell,  tour Independence Hall (where the declaration of independence was signed and constitution created), or visit some museums on Benjamin Franklin parkway. If you want somewhere to go at night, I'd recommend One Liberty Observation Deck, a viewing point for the Philly skyline.

Pesky Penguin, April 10 2019, 8:55 am

Best/most underrated study spots on campus?

Check out the Singh Nanotech Center if you can! It's frankly not always the greatest option to get work done as you'll need a laptop and there's no Starbucks nearby, but it's aesthetic and the natural light is calming...quite different from Huntsman. I'm not sure if access is open to non-SEAS students though, and I know it closes earlier than most.

Bovine Bear, April 9 2019, 2:34 AM

I kind of like working at Sobol because there's a lot of light and the tables are fairly nice. Plenty of outlets, nice music playlist, and Wawa is right around the corner if you don't want to shell out $10 for an acai bowl (although honestly, it's worth it).

Absent Aardvark, April 9 2019, 3:06 AM

Also take a look at this post for best coffee shops around campus (but they probably aren't underrated). I also personally like the new political science building across from the bookstore.

Angsty Armadillo, April 9, 2019, 1:52 PM

Fisher Fine Arts carrels are great too! It's like your own little stall above the rest of the library.

Zesty Zebra, April 9, 2019, 4:50 PM

Opinions on whether Penn students are really more depressed than students at other schools/Ivies?

Who can say, really? Maybe transfer students might know, but in truth, college is jut difficult. For most of us, it's the first time we've been away from home, and becoming an 'adult' can be terribly stressful and discouraging at times. I think if you asked your friends at other schools all across the country, they might think that they're more depressed than other students at other schools. It's all subjective: some people seem to be really enjoying their time here at Penn. But if you're like me (and you might be if you're asking this question), you might be having a really rough time.

In fairness, Penn does have the highest mental health rating of all the Ivies, boasting of a solid D+ (seriously, and do note the sarcasm: I'm sure there are things the university could be doing better to support the students attending it. But CAPS does exist, and when things get too hard, it is a great resource. Be open and honest about what you're dealing with with those you trust and that might help make a difficult experience a little easier.

Perky Puffin, April 9 2019 2:00 PM

I feel like I really need a break from Penn. Should I take a semester off?

Penn can be a very stressful place. If you are felling this way, you should consider what the best course of action is for you. This might include taking a semester off. Students I know that have taken semesters off have benefited from the time away from Penn. Coping with stress at Penn can look different for everyone so I would consider speaking with trusted mentors, family, friends and advisers to make the best decision for you. Reaching out to a counselor, finding other ways to escape the "Penn bubble", and developing healthy stress relief strategies can also be really beneficial if you decide taking a semester off is not the best option for you. Hoping everything works out for you.

Trusty Turtle, April 9, 2019, 9:50

Where are the best brunch places near campus?

White Dog (!!!!), City Tap, and Sabrina's. These are all like $10-16 per entree, so they're a bit pricey but definitely worth.

Absent Aardvark, April 9th 12:44 am

Affordable things to do in Philly?

I personally love long walks on the Schuylkill. The Schuylkill River Walk is gorgeous and picturesque, and my favorite thing to do is walk to the Philadelphia Museum of Art--which is 'Pay as You Wish' every Wednesday and the first Sunday of the month. You can take the Walk down to Boathouse Row--which is simply lovely.

Closer to Penn, movies are $5 on Tuesdays, but I don't think it's that much more expensive on other days during the business week.

Finally, look into places with student discounts!

Perky Puffin, April 8 2019 8:32 PM

College Houses offer a lot of discounted events in the city as well. For example, Harrison College House goes to shows in the city just about every week for only a $1 copay! Other college houses have discounted sports game tickets, concert tickets and other events.

Trusty Turtle, April 9, 2019, 9:39 AM

Can I step on the compass?

I actually did not hear about the urban legend (that you would fail your exams if you walk through the compass on Locust Walk) till my sophomore year, and I'm pretty sure I had committed multiple offenses when I was a freshman. My grades were still ok. Well, somewhat ok.

Rambling Raccoon, April 7 2019 5:05 PM

The legend stems from a fraternity - they were using this as a way to see who is a freshman (who avoids the compass). Definitely not necessary to avoid the compass but full disclosure, I have been for the past semester.

Pesky Penguin, April 7 2019 6:15 pm

How can I get a cat in Harrison?

As an emotional support animal, absolutely! (DP article here). I've also heard great things about therapy ponies (equine therapy), but unsure if the school will be cool with them.

Rumbling Raccoon, April 7 2019 4:49 PM

What laptop should I get for M&T? Mac or something else? What do most people prefer?

I'll just answer this in regards to Wharton and Engineering, respectively:

Your Wharton classes won't have huge demands on your laptop other than maybe requiring you to download software like SPSS or NVivo or Stata, which run fine on either Mac or Windows (the installation process for SAS is a bit complex, though).  

As for Engineering, I would suggest buying Windows. Although CIS is fine on both Windows and Mac, a lot of other software (especially if you're thinking about civil, mechanical, or electrical engineering) is optimized for Windows and may not run as well or have the same range of application on a Mac. The Mac vs. Windows ownership among my friends is generally half and half, I would say.

I personally have a Surface Book 2 and it hasn't failed me yet. I like it a lot more than Macs because it's a lot more flexible in regards to various uses (coding, design, video editing, etc) and I think the Windows OS is a lot more functional. All in all you should be fine regardless of whichever you choose (since as a student you'll have access to a lot of resources if you find your laptop suddenly lacking), and I would probably prioritize thinking about the cost, battery life, and which specs you want on your laptop over Windows vs Mac.

Absent Aardvark, April 7th 2019 1:25 PM

Weird flex but ok.

The response above pretty much covered everything. If you're a CIS major like I am, Macs probably work a lot better for upper-level CIS classes. With a Windows laptop, you can always run everything on a virtual machine – it'll just be less convenient. If you plan to study any major other than CIS or NETS, what kind of laptop you use matters even less.

That being said, if you do plan to get a Mac, you might wanna take advantage of Apple's student discount, which you can get with a letter of acceptance from Penn.

Rumbling Raccoon, April 7 2019 4:29 PM

How expensive is MERT?

Currently it is free. Penn has a program that runs between 5 PM and 3AM that has no ambulance fee. Traditionally, the cost was around $1000. Yikes.

Read more here:

Zesty Zebra, April 7, 2019, 3:06 PM