Twelve hours ago, Christine and I were struggling to carry my two suitcases down the stairs so that I could check out of the dorms. Ten hours ago, I was at the Liberty Bell on a last-minute sightseeing mission. Eight hours ago, I was buying food with the rest of the Penn cohort at the Philadelphia airport. Now I have no roommate, no Philly, and no cohort, but I know that the memories of this experience will stay with me for a very long time.
After a lot of tearful goodbyes, we left the Fisher-Hassenfeld quad for the last time. Mr. Lawrence sweet-talked the front desk people at the Sheraton into watching our luggage for us while we took a quick trip downtown to see the Liberty Bell. There were a bunch of exhibits before the bell itself, discussing its forging and past uses. I was surprised that the exhibits mentioned the contrast between the declaration of liberty that the bell represented and the reality of oppression that women, African slaves, and other minority groups were facing at the time. It wasn’t something that I had expected to see at such a patriotic museum, and I appreciated the honesty.
Once we took pictures by the historic landmark, we bought lunch at a nearby food court. I got a Philly cheesesteak, my first ever. It wasn’t amazing, but I think that’s because it came from a food court instead of one of the famous restaurants. I’m just glad that I got a chance to try one before leaving Philadelphia.
Our plane ride was pretty uneventful. I spent most of the time reading Fast Food Nation, my summer reading assignment for AP Lang. Although I don’t usually read nonfiction, the subject matter is fascinating and I’m looking forward to class discussions about the book. We walked off of the plane to greet our parents, each of us proudly wearing UPenn sweatshirts. I’m going to miss being so close with everyone in the cohort, and even though we’ll hang out, it won’t be the same. I was really happy to see my family again, but I'm going to miss the independence that I had at UPenn and the friends that I made there. I'm so thankful that I had this opportunity to branch out and experience college life before beginning college apps, and words cannot express my gratitude to the ILC for making this possible.