“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
In my introductory microeconomics course, my professor had this quote on her syllabus. Luckily, she qualified it with, “but I’d be happy to have lunch with you free of charge at the University Club!”
Students in the College can go to lunch five (5!) times a semester cost-free with current or previous professors, teaching assistants, or advisors. You can go with up to 2 other classmates. I try to go as many times as I can, and they’re always very enjoyable!
Often times we’ll talk about the course, why we choose Penn, our major, and career aspirations. The professor usually explains their research and how they became interested in their field, or regales us with stories of when they were in our shoes as an undergraduate. But lunch topics stretch beyond academia, and one of the great strengths of the program is it affords students the opportunity to get to know their professors outside of being a brilliant academic (they also root for the 76ers and watch Netflix!). As an added bonus, the food is great; the menu changes each day, but there’s always a delicious salad bar, fresh fruit, and a wide selection of cakes for dessert!
I’ve gone with professors from a variety of fields—physics, economics, psychology, history, and religious studies. With my Game Theory Professor, we talked about the Great Gatsby. My friend and I also participated in a miniature version of her research experiment during lunch! With one of my physics professors we talked about the physics of baseball, and how a physics background could translate into a career in sports. I usually get so engrossed in the conversations that I lose track of time and am late to my next class!
This semester, I’ve used up one of my Take Your Professor to Lunch spots. I will most certainly be using my final four!
-Nathan S, C’19