From Applications to Elections

            Approaching the Early Decision deadline, every presentation seemed to end with one dreaded question: “What did you write about in your college essay?” This prompted me to reread the words I had written four years ago.

            I was surprised to see how I had written about my desire to go to Penn because of all of the ways it provides avenues for learning outside of the classroom. I specified how I wanted to intern at an art museum, work on the 2016 presidential election, and teach in Philadelphia public schools.

            Fast forward four years. This week, I spend my Sunday leading a gallery tour at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On Wednesday morning, I wake up early to attend a rally downtown to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Every day, I spend countless hours making phone calls and knocking on doors for the Hillary Clinton campaign. On Friday, I lead a group of Penn students to West Philadelphia High School where I am the head teacher for a program that teaches News Literacy in a senior year government class.

            As a senior in high school, I had no way of knowing exactly what Penn had to offer or what I would achieve in my college years. However, I did recognize my passions and realize the issues that drive me. My love of art and politics are so engrained in my identity, that I knew these would be essential to the communities I formed in whatever university I ended up at.

            Two sweatshirts, a sweater, a jacket, hat, scarf, gloves, boots, a pocketful of snacks. I have all of the essentials ready for the six hours ahead of me to wait on line in Penn Park in order to see Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine on campus.

            I stroll up to the VIP table with the rest of the Penn Dems Executive Board. After spending months on our voter registration and get out the vote efforts, we were rewarded by the campaign with wristbands allowing special access to the front of the rally.

            Five more hours of waiting ensue…and finally Hillary and Tim come out. With the Philly skyline as a backdrop and Penn’s campus just around the corner, these are the moments I could never have even dreamed of as a reality of my college experience.

            After cheering throughout her speech, she exits the stage right in front of us. All of a sudden, Hillary Clinton, the woman who I have gave more hours of my life to this semester than I could even count is right before me. One of my friends tells her of the conference we had planned that weekend for college Democrat groups around the Northeast and she congratulates us for our success.

            With less than a week to go, I am so grateful for the contribution I have been able to make on Penn’s campus and in Philadelphia through my involvement in Penn Democrats. Years from now, I will be proud to tell my children that I did everything in my power to help elect the first woman president of the United States, and most importantly in such an essential swing state as Pennsylvania.   

Hannah C, C'17