As we know the pressures of grad school are immense, and sometimes it can feel like we are sinking. So here are a few top tips that I have picked up during my time here at Penn for not just surviving, but also thriving at Penn.


 1. Stay full and caffeinated

Make use of the many free food opportunities on campus. This tends to be at different events or on Monday evenings at GSE. Also there is an endless supply of free coffee and tea from the Grad Student Center- which is definitely the place to go get your (free!)Caffeine fix.

 2. Stay healthy

Your health is key, so definitely take care of your self, whether it be by going to the Student Health Services or CAPS (counselling and psychological services). There are many resources on campus that are there to keep you healthy and happy.

 3. Seek Help

If you feel overwhelmed with class work and assignments, don’t be afraid seek help from your professors, they are very understanding and more than happy to support and help you. Also definitely take advantage of the great workshops and resources that the Weingarten Center has to offer. They even help to look over essays and assignments for classes! 


1. Go beyond your program

I know that at the beginning it can feel like your cohort is your lifeline and they are the only ones who really understand the pressures of your assignments and your schedule. It’s important to remember that there are so many other students on campus! Go to the wider GSE events; go to campus wide events and even venture out off campus.

2. Get involved

Definitely take advantage of the vast amount of great events and opportunities that happen on campus daily. There is always something happening. It ranges from talks by famous politicians, to dance competitions, to shows. Also there are great volunteering opportunities through the Netter Center here at Penn, which gives you a chance to get to know the wider community of Philadelphia. There are also a lot of on campus jobs available as well as many different student societies and clubs. There is something for everyone!

3. Get to know Philly.

Philadelphia is an exciting city to live in, whether this is the first time you are living here or in the US, or whether you are a home-grown Philadelphian. There is always so much you can do here, especially if you are a student. There are free events in the museums and exhibitions, free walking tours as well as countless great bars and restaurants.

Obviously everyone survives and thrives differently here at Penn, so this list is not a definite list and does not represent everyone’s needs. This is merely a guide to what I have found has helped me survive and thrive here at Penn!