With graduation fast approaching, we’re taking the month of April to honor our M&T Class of 2015 with a few Senior Spotlights. This installment comes to us from Jason Kong about his Philly favorites.
It’s incredible that four years at Penn are so quickly coming to an end. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in Houston’s Hall of Flags meeting my classmates for the first time. The past four years have been filled with countless laughs, memories, experiences, late nights, tears, and unforgettable friendships. Selecting one element of my Penn experience to write about is a hard task. More memorable to me than the classes and the campus, one element that stands out to me about Penn has been its embeddedness in Philadelphia.
Sure, there are numerous amazing colleges promising amazing educations and post-graduate opportunities. However, not as many of these colleges are nuzzled in the heart of a city so full of character as Philadelphia. Coming into college, I had imagined the core of my experience would take place within the campus boundaries, to be specific, within each brick and mortar classroom. Through freshman and sophomore year, I remained mostly on campus and occupied myself with classes and clubs. Moving into junior year and especially this year, I’ve realized how incredible it is to have the city of Philadelphia so readily accessible.
What’s so great about Philadelphia, you may ask? Foremost, it provides a perfect outlet for days where you have work to do and want to get away from campus. Through my senior year, I’ve tried to make it a habit of visiting a new coffee shop every week to read or do work. Even though it’s almost the end of the year, I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface; beyond the immediate downtown (Center City), there’s still plenty of boroughs and neighborhoods each offering their unique style. Furthermore, when campus dining options become boring (which I promise they will), the city presents a wealth of new and exotic food options, ranging from the cheap but delicious lunch carts to four star options that are affordable during Restaurant Week (two weeks each semester where participating restaurants offer a $35 prix fixe menu for dinner). Restaurants are also open later — if you’re looking for some grub past midnight, you can take a relaxing walk into the city and visit 500 Degrees for burgers or Chinatown for bubble tea. Lastly, being so close to a city means having some awesomely scenic running paths. As someone who has just taken up running very recently, it’s been hugely encouraging to run through the city and track progress block by block while watching historical monuments whiz by or enjoying the Schuylkill River trail towards the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Take it from me as a wistful senior – get to know the city early and often!
Jason, originally from Midlothian, Virginia, is a member of the M&T Class of 2015. He studies Computer Science within Penn Engineering and Finance, Management, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Operations & Information Management in the Wharton School. After graduation Jason will join Morgan Stanley in Menlo Park, California.