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Student Voices: The Year of Why

For the 2018-19 academic year, the Provost’s Academic Theme is the Year of Why. “The concept of asking “why?” is key to advancing knowledge; philosophers and thinkers build on historic foundations as they move forward with new discoveries. We often associate inquiry with technology and scientific advancements, yet it exists in every aspect of our intellectual culture. Above all, asking “why?” is a central aspect of Penn’s history and identity: founded by Benjamin Franklin, one of history’s great thinkers, Penn was designed from the outset to be different from other schools of its day by inviting examination and discussion across disciplines” (The Year of Why, 2018).

At Weingarten, we asked some of our own students, who represent various disciplines and schools, and range across undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, professional and executive programs – why they use the Weingarten Learning Resources Center. Here are some of their responses:

  • Senior, School of Arts and Sciences, AND 1st Year, Masters of Bioethics, Perelman School of Medicine:

“For me, I think that using Weingarten Learning Resource Center (WLRC) has been one of the biggest advantages to my academic career at Penn. This group not only wants what is best for each student but also knows how to work with each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. There are many reasons for a student to use WLRC, but I use this space in helping me be true to myself. What do I mean by “being true to myself,” you might ask? Well, sometimes as students we are not realistic with how to manage our time. In fact, my first draft of my weekly calendars never have time allotted for eating, grooming, or other “arbitrary” tasks. However, not taking into account the walks around campus or other duties that come my way throw of my ideal–yet semi-robotic–schedule. The team at WLRC teach me how to not only be realistic and but also the importance of not doing work 24/7. Using this resource at Penn has made me realize the importance of mental well being and has proven effective in my successful academic career. Aside from helping me “catch my life,” I know that the people I work with truly care about my success. I feel fortunate to have a piece of my Penn family in WLRC, and I will forever be grateful for what they contributed to my academic career. I always recommend WLRC to my peers because there are hundreds of reasons to stop by.”

  • Senior, Wharton Undergraduate Program:

“Going to WLRC is one of the best decisions I made at Penn. I go at the beginning of every semester to define my priorities and set a schedule. Over time, I learned effective time management techniques, improved at prioritizing and imposing self-deadlines, and grew to be more proactive and intentional about how I want to spend my time. I also went during overwhelming time crunches and received great help. WLRC is a judgement-free environment. No one will judge your priorities or blame you for not starting an assignment earlier. Instructors are here to support you, and you may develop great relationships!”

  • 2nd Year, GSE TESOL Masters Program:

“I have already used WLRC services for more than one year and I have gotten so many benefits and help in learning and obtaining learning resources. In general, I attended several workshops held by WLRC and booked appointments with the instructors there also. I always made appointments with a particular Learning Instructor and she gave me lots of helpful and beneficial suggestions for my academic writing. Overall, I think I have made big progress on my academic writing skills with the help of my Learning Instructor and become more skilled at polishing my writing pieces as well. The valuable help from the Learning Instructors there is the most essential reason for me to keep using this service.”

  • 2nd Year, Wharton Executive MBA Program:

“The Learning Instructor from WLRC services has been a tremendous mentor to me. Coming from educational non-profit background, I was not very confident going into my Wharton program, which is known to be quantitatively focused. She and I met regularly throughout my first year – she not only provided practical tips but also helpful encouragement. As a result, I was able to excel in my first year!”

  • Doctoral Candidate, GSE Reading/Writing/Literacy Program:

“As a part-time student, the WLRC helps me manage and balance my time with school, work, and life. Being able to listen and share strategies for reading, writing, and overall organization is a tremendous help. I’ve found the WLRC staff from the front desk to advisors to be incredibly welcoming and encouraging.”

  • 2nd Year, Wharton Executive MBA Program:

“I started using WLRC services at first because I wanted to improve my communication skills (i.e. speaking with confidence and eloquence). Now that I have been using this service for over a year, I use WLRC services beyond just for improving my communication skills. I get to talk with a great coach who helps me think through a lot of professional and personal issues and questions. For example, I learned that, in order to improve my communication skills, I need to learn to become more confident of my capabilities and skills. It wasn’t just about my communication but more about the perception that I have about myself. From this perspective, it has been an educational resource for me academically and personally. The Weingarten Learning Instructor is a great coach and a mentor, and I believe more students should use this service not just for trying to learn a certain topic but for broader purposes that the WLRC services offer.”

  • 2nd Year, GSE TESOL Masters Program:

“WLRC has been my favorite place at Penn, because the Learning Instructors here are so helpful and caring. They have been good friends to me, giving me constructive feedback on my essays, as well as useful advice about studying abroad. I feel so blessed to have found this place, without which my study abroad experience would not be this rewarding.”

Welcome Back PENN Students!

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By Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Fellow & Instructor.


The Year of Why. (2018). Retrieved from

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