It had already been a long night, and I knew it was going to be one of the longest I’d had yet at Penn. Since lunch-time, café goers had been in Huntsman Hall where I’d been working on my Status Report, one of Management 100’s climactic assignments, in which every Freshman in Wharton is tasked with updating the rest of their cohort on the progress of their client project. The day had gone by as my presentation partner and I edited slide after slide, flipped our report’s logic entirely, and practiced ceaselessly to each other and our TA. Now, around 10 pm, it was dark outside and Huntsman Hall was clearing out.
Exhausted, and starting to feel lonely as Huntsman became progressively more barren, I took a break from working on my delivery and checked my email, there to be reminded that the M&T Board had organized a study break for that very night, and in a classroom mere seconds away! Sorely needing the break, I headed over.
In the lecture hall I found my friends, warm cookies, and a moment to catch my breath and be reminded of why we do the work that we do in M&T and at Penn. My friend Samantha, who, coincidentally, is on my Management Team, had just done her Status Report the week before and comforted me with stories of how she and her partner struggled late into the night too and gave me feedback on our presentation’s logic. In turn, she asked me to teach her some of the basics of SolidWorks for a Bioengineering project she was working on. I welcomed the opportunity to take a break from the management jargon of negotiations and, in just a few minutes, helped her sketch, draft, and design a structure in CAD. Afterwards, over peanut-butter-chocolate-chunk Insomnia Cookies – my hands-down favorite – upperclassmen at the event provided context to the Status Report and Management 100 as a whole, reminding me that the presentation wouldn’t make up a huge portion of my grade in the class and that my team’s grade was much more dependent on our client’s satisfaction than our reports to our class.
Especially during long nights at Penn, the active M&T community, represented by the amazing friends I’ve made in just the first semester of my Freshmen year and the upperclassmen who’ve answered my questions, anchors me in the moments I most need it. As I grapple with management theory and build the technical skills that I dreamed I would in college, my M&T friends and mentors are my shield.
Chris, from Maplewood, New Jersey, is a member of the M&T Class of 2018. He studies Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics within Penn Engineering and has yet to declare his concentration in the Wharton School.