After my first semester here, I have discovered that the most effective way to take advantage of Penn’s plethora of adventures and opportunities is to simply pick one, and go for it. Although there exists the freshman temptation to constantly remain in the presence of newly found friends, there is extensive value in taking a risk and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.
After joining PIPAC, Penn Israel Public Affairs Committee, I was very minimally involved, attending general board meetings once every other week. Although temporarily dampened by the blatant influx of newness, I was still determined to explore, so after receiving an email from PIPAC offering a fully subsidized lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., I immediately clicked on the link, not giving myself time to overanalyze.
I woke up drowsily at 5am Friday morning, and boarded the bus to D.C. I was nervous about my lack of knowledge on the pertinent topics, and of course my lack of friends attending the trip. Upon arrival, the student leaders handed out extremely comprehensive topic sheets, and we were separated into our designated lobbying groups.
This trip ended up being one of the most intellectually stimulating and rewarding experiences I have had so far at Penn. Realizing not only my own passion for and knowledge of the topic, but that of my peers and of influential government officials was truly inspiring. I felt empowered; for me, this trip reinforced the importance of stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, and most importantly taking advantage of the opportunities Penn has to fulfill this feat.
-Sarah G, C'21