Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to Penn!
In any given year, this would be a time of great excitement – campus would be teeming with students moving into new dorms and apartments, meeting and catching up with new and old friends, learning the layout of the buildings on campus, and familiarizing oneself with neighborhood and the city itself. However, this isn’t just any given year. By now, many of you have probably made the difficult decision of whether to stay where you are or make the perilous journey of moving to Philadelphia. Regardless of your decision, I want you to know that I support your decision and welcome you to the Penn and SEAS community!
Despite these challenging and uncertain times, I would like to emphasize that there are certain aspects of preparing for your first semester at Penn that do not change. As a first year MSE student, it is important to understand your program requirements. Make sure you read up on the program requirements and remember to try to take at least one to two core classes in your first semester. For ROBO students, information on program requirements can be found here. For MEAM students, the information is here. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your academic advisors, respective graduate program coordinators, or me if you have any questions.
Second, normal full load is three courses for the first semester although some of you may decide to register for a fourth class. Since scheduling conflicts may arise, make sure you pick a couple of back-up courses in case you are not able to get into one or more of your first choice classes.
Third, remember that this will be your first semester in a new school, possibly within a new academic system, coupled with the new class format. Remember to give yourself some slack and be prepared for a few bumps here and there as you settle into the term.
Lastly, keep in mind that while we are physically separated, we are all in this together. Do not forget to reach out to your fellow students, classmates, professors, and staff even if it is just to introduce yourself.