Coming back to campus this fall, I was excited to see what the year would have in store - but for a different reason than most of my class of 2015 peers. For them, it is the first of many lasts—the last first day of classes, the last course registrations, the last summer before real life happens. I normally do things a little differently and have recently decided that I would take five years to finish my undergraduate degrees instead of the normal four. It was a bittersweet moment when I met with advisers to officially change my academic status to a 2016 graduation date. Even though I’ll have a different experience this year during my senior year, part 1 of 2, I’ll be able to actually live my life instead of just surviving the rest of the days trying to get through all of my classes.
After transferring in to The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the end of freshman year, I had a quite a few additional classes to catch up on to complete my bioengineering and my Wharton degrees. I thoroughly enjoy both sides of my academic experience at Penn and wanted to fully pursue both sides with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) degree instead of a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree along with Wharton concentrations in finance and management. I came to Penn not wanting to have to choose between business or engineering, so instead I chose to do both and have loved it ever since!
|Cathryn and her dog Zoey|
I also realized there was more that I wanted to experience in college rather than racing through my classes and giving up other activities that I love like Chi Omega Sorority, SWE Educational Outreach, AWE Advisory Board, club volleyball, and running among other things. Although I am constantly learning through my classes, I feel I have learned the most through these other activities because there isn’t a textbook to learn from or a professor to ask for help during office hours. Instead, you are forced to learn as you go. Failure is only a failure if you don’t learn from it! Whether it is solving Chi Omega’s tax issue with the IRS or piloting a new SWE Educational Outreach mentoring program, I am constantly challenged outside of the classroom to become a better leader and a smarter student. I couldn’t justify giving up these experiences and giving up what I wanted to explore in college.