Before I came to Penn, what had me most excited about being here was simply the idea of college. The knowledge that I would be able to pursue my passions whenever I desired was more exciting to me than words can portray. With over 300 clubs on Penn’s campus, I knew that I would be able to find a group that specialized in at least one of my many passions. I also knew that there existed the opportunity to explore activities that I had never done before but could perhaps enjoy. Unfortunately, this “pursuit of my passions” did not play out as I expected it to.
I, like many other students, got sucked into the hole of doing what I was expected to as opposed to what it was I wanted to do. I joined clubs that would help with my professional development and focused on getting all that I could from them. Of course, professional development is important, especially if you desire to pursue a career in business. However, I soon began to feel the effects of not having a diverse range of activities that I could look forward to. By the second semester of my freshman year, I was, to say the very least, bored. Most of my classes were in Wharton, my clubs were all Wharton and my life was 100% business. Professionally, I felt like I was in a great place. Personally, however, I was lacking something. Therefore, I promised myself that, during my second semester, I would find and join a club based purely on my interest in it.
This desire manifested itself in the form of Penn Latin and Ballroom dancing. I had zero experience in ballroom dancing and this was hilariously apparent during my first class (and painfully apparent to my dance partner). However, after just the first meeting, I knew with certainty that I was going to have an AMAZING time in the club as it provided me with the creative outlet that I had been missing.
I have since joined two more clubs that align with my personal interests, and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I now feel comfortable drawing the conclusion that if you are investing time into the things that make you happy then you’ll not only be happier, but also better able to pursue the less-fun-but-necessary aspects of life. My advice for all current and potential college students is to strike a balance between the two. So, yes, focus on professional development because that will play a big role in your future. However, also focus on personal happiness and if you can find something that mixes the two, you will be quite content.