What You Wish You Knew: Paddy L, C'19

I had the great joy of chatting with my one of my closest friends, Paddy L, about his experiences so far at Penn. He is from North Salem, New York, and he is a Psychology major with a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior and a certificate in American Sign Language. When asked to reflect upon what he wished he knew as a freshman, he replied, "Coming into college, I know I was lucky in that I knew how to relax. But in the high stress of an Ivy, I think I often lost track of how acceptable it was to just breathe. A tendency to schedule, measure, and optimize one's free time is unleashed with increased academic rigor. Understanding that I didn't need to succeed in my relaxation, but to simply do the act, would've been very beneficial. I am a huge proprietor of stable mental health- freshmen especially should be aware, regardless of their chosen institution, of exactly how to ensure they have it." He emphasized this need and desire to always maintain balance in his life, especially during his freshman year, and not become swept up in the chaos of college. As for some survival tips, Paddy swears by the mantra, "Don't try 'to survive,'" which he explains further, "personally I indulge. I am a glut in every domain that I love: psychology, theatre, my friendships, ASL. The requisite to such is an ability to shed. So, be willing to give up, whether that be a friend, a class, a passing opportunity. Whomever is reading this is likely a master multitasker, superb at overextension; however, college is about amplitude. If you want to love something, you've got to be willing to actually love it." Again, Paddy circles back to pursuing this balance in life, even if that means passing some opportunities up or letting things go. Because surely enough, Penn offers more opportunities than you could ever dream of, but at the end of the day, it's about picking and choosing so that you stay in touch with yourself. 

—Katherine F, C'19