Before Penn sophomore Joyce Kim moved to Philly from Dallas, Texas, she didn't know much about it. She could hum the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and had watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. "The way I saw it," she writes in the Daily Pennsylvanian, "the best thing about Penn's location was its close proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C." Ouch.
Then Penn scared the bejesus out of Kim with their mandatory safety videos during orientation. She hardly left the "Penn bubble" at all for her first semester. Now, it's true, the Penn bubble is part of what parents pay for, but Kim got curious. And she did the unthinkable: She left the computer, put on her running shoes, and went exploring.
The rest of her piece is a much-needed corrective to those videos and to the perceived overweening emphasis on student safety to the exclusion of other things:
Students' safety is one of Penn's top priorities. But in maintaining this goal, it shouldn't forget to tell students about the hidden treasures West Philadelphia has to offer. Penn students have a lot to gain from engaging with the neighborhood. And it doesn't have to be through tutoring kids in the area — it starts with getting out of the Penn bubble.
A college education is not just about academics, it also has a lot to do with learning from your community. It should invite you to think about your role in the neighborhood, the city and the world.
All you have to do is take a walk.
Joyce Kim, you are September's Neighborhood Flag-Bearer of the Month. Thanks for carrying a positive message to others about the world beyond campus.