Dear PEER, Thank you for giving me a freshman year full of happy memories and lasting friendships. I hope that this community continues to prosper through the years because without PEER, I fear that incoming freshmen may have a difficult time realizing that underneath the surface, Penn is still full of genuine, loving, and supportive people. Here is a list of my favorite PEER memories:

  • Going on the movie-like retreat that I dreamed of growing up--”log cabins,” bunks beds, board games, scavenger hunts, and talks about life included
  • Hotpot to celebrate Lunar New Years after a long week of midterms
  • Feeling scared that Morgana might come to life in the dorm bathroom after an intense game of Avalon with past and present PEER mentors. Also, being VERY shook after finding out that Shannon was Mordred (WHAT!)
  • Seeing the paper figurines made by Chinese refugees at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York--it made me probe about the current refugee situation
  • Eating fun-foods such as bubble tea ice cream at Bar Pa Tea and lassi at Mood Cafe with Shannon <3
  • Chuckling every time Shannon uses “sketchy” to describe anything and everything
  • Lowkey feeling the need to brag about my amazing mentor and spoon-feed other people her food every time she brings baked goods to PEER events
  • Feeling very touched when Shannon brought me chai bars--that she made, of course (hehe)--as a study snack
  • Heckling intensely at Sabino, Yen Yen, Varun, and Sherina while watching Beyond the Seas and the Skies (PTS show)
  • Having PEER heckle me during my cultural show debut--I put up the poster in my room <3
  • Being SHOOK by Sabino’s “other PPA side”--SPOILER ALERT: Sabino was not acting during the PTS Show
  • Being SHOOK again--this is a theme--at Bhavish beatboxing and playing the recorder at the same time
  • Enjoying hot chocolate, the “Shelter” music video (thanks for the playlists Varun!), and talking about Avatar: The Last Airbender and buying sketchy things from China for 6 hours in Bhavish’s room with Milly, Jimmy, and Eaton.
  • Fangirling at Kanika, Jobert, and Albert (West Philly Swingers!!) rock the stage at the Emily Sachs Show
  • Starting every week off being real with Rudmila, Chelsea, Jamie Y., Christine, and Jamie C.
  • And of course, getting sooo many ~feels~ whenever I think of how grateful I am of PEER (feat. acrostic poems about PEER Board during the no-talent talent show) and how this year has come to an end

Even though I’ve only listed the highlights of my year with PEER, there are plenty of painful moments that PEER has helped me work through as well--isn’t that how it always is? People--especially Penn students--like to remember the proud and happy moments, but that does not mean they don’t have just as many frustrating and disillusioned ones as well. I will embrace those memories as well. With every panic attack at 1 AM to every burst of rage and confusion to every flood of uncertainty, I have had a row of ears and hearts to listen to and level with me. Having had this immense blessing, I realize that regardless of where you go, when you have a village who has your back, Fear is no longer unconquerable.

With Love, Melisa