Rutvi is a first-year IEDP student from Pune, India. She studies higher education in developing contexts.

Disclaimer: It is nearly the end of Fall semester, so I don’t have classes on Tuesday anymore. Today, I allow myself to catch up on assignments, have fun, and meet friends.

7:00 a.m.
I have been up for a couple of hours already. Yes, I am one of those! I spend my morning (or dark hours given it is almost winter) either working on assignments, calling home (we are on an eleven-hour time difference) or reading a book. Currently reading Indra Nooyi’s “My Life in Full” and drinking orange juice. Before I leave my room, I have finished most of the work that is due today.

8:00 a.m.
Thanks to a friend, I discovered Penn’s bio pond which is almost in my backyard. This is a place of absolute calm and peace and I try to take a walk around here each morning. I am listening to the sounds around me when I walk. Look, it’s still Fall in the bio pond!

8:30 a.m.
I don’t have class today, but I will join my friends for yoga soon, so I get my standard breakfast, oats. My mom and IEDP friends who are reading this, I can almost hear you laughing at my predictability!

11:00 a.m.
At the risk of sounding preachy, I have found the University of Pennsylvania to be a great place to grow. Between classes, assignments, and just life, it’s important to take a minute for yourself. Here’s me signing up for Penn Rec’s yoga event held in the historic arena named Palestra. After an hour of stretching and asanas with my fellow IEDPers Paula and Prashansa, it is announced that I won (!!) a raffle. Shout out to Giant’s Heirloom Market for giving me a bag of organic goodies.

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
I make my way back to my College House with Prashansa who makes us a beautiful lunch. We also spend this time planning for Finals Week. Early in the semester, we attended a session by the Weingarten Learning Resources Center which has prepared us for this crunch time. Here’s lunch!

3:00 p.m.
Since I live on campus, I have quick and easy access to services like shopping for groceries, mail pickup, student run café and so much more. I spend the next half hour getting myself orange juice from the McClelland Market, packages from the mail lockers, and hot chocolate from William’s Café.

4:00 p.m.
Now I’m at Perry World House, Penn’s center for international exchange, policy engagement, and public outreach on pressing global issues, to hear Cappy McGarr, Emmy-nominated co-creator of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.  

Cappy talks about his book “The Man Who Made Mark Twain Famous: How Humor Can Unite Us” and it’s such an experience being in the audience. As someone who read Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and visited the Mark Twain House in Connecticut over Thanksgiving, I’m totally fangirling. To add to this, I get a signed copy of Cappy’s book!

5:00 p.m.
As the founder of the International Student Forum at my College House – Fisher-Hassenfeld, I now meet with Graduate Resident Advisors from other Colleges Houses. Here are Mary, Tanya, and Prashansa with me as we discuss our event plans for international students living in our Houses.

8:00 p.m.
Even though I haven’t been in class today, I have spent most of my day with IEDPers. Now I head out to a bonding dinner with my team at Fisher-Hassenfeld. We go to an Asian restaurant called Dim Sum House and we get a LOT of food and incredible oolong tea.

9:30 p.m.
It has been a long day but there’s one last thing I must do. I take the Penn bus towards Center City to see the light show at Dilworth Park. Philadelphia’s City Hall comes alive with festive lights, and it is a reminder for me that architecture will continue to be a huge part of my life.

“That’s all Folks!”