If I weren’t on Drexel’s five-year plan, I’d be a Senior. Put another way, at most other colleges, this would be my last year of college. Technically, Drexel gave me Junior status at the beginning of this quarter, but now that the last full week of classes is coming to an end (and the academic year with it), I consider it truly official now that I’m a Junior.
So, my last full academic year at Drexel begins (my Senior year I expect to graduate at the close of the Spring quarter.) It’s been a pretty incredible ride. Campus has changed a decent bit since I started here, mainly on the south end of it. It’s always been very interesting to come back to Philly after a co-op in Princeton for six months and seeing how much changed while I was gone. I’ve met a lot of people now, from all majors at Drexel. And if all goes according to plan, late next month, I’ll be working in Australia for my third and final co-op. While it won’t be the study abroad in Japan I dreamed of doing Freshmen year (that was a long shot), I’m still pretty excited to be going abroad for six months.
That said, there is a lot you can do here at Drexel in a year. I’ve been to two LAN parties in the library, I’ve learned way more about our campus than I think most students here have, and I’ve learned to expect a fire alarm every two weeks or so to go off in the dorm (among other things). From what I’ve seen, we appear to have a president that genuinely cares about student concerns too. And I think that is going to be very important for this university the next ten years, probably more. While plenty of jokes can be made about the constant construction on campus (Drexel Construction Institute being one of the better), it has been bringing some much-needed improvements to campus. It looks like Lancaster Square is next on the list, and we badly need to fix up that street. JFK Blvd and the Powelton Railyards look like they’re still a couple of years away, but once work there gets started, I think there’s going to be some drastic changes to campus. But, I probably won’t see them.
Nonetheless, I think there are some exciting times ahead for this university. I’m happy I’ll be around for another two years to see some of them. I honestly don’t mind at all that the people I knew from high school (and earlier) will be [probably] graduating from college before me. Some of them will definitely be in less debt than I will, but I agree with our billboard at 30th Street: Drexel’s an investment. That’s why I’ve invested in it for three full years now and see no reason why not to do so for two more.
So, to the freshmen getting ready to move in next month, the Drexel Shaft does live on, but I think we’re definitely working on it. I know we have a retention problem. So does the administration. It really is hardly a secret. I’ll be blunt, don’t expect to keep the friends you make freshmen year. I lost some of mine right at the end of the year. But I’ve made many more since then. Stick around. Like Market Street, Drexel is hardly going to be a smooth ride for you, but it’s one hell of a ride I’m glad to be taking.