Name: Mark Bai
Year: Senior (C’16)
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Major: HSOC – HMF Concentration
1). What is Penn Quest?
PennQuest is a preorientation program where we take around 120 incoming freshmen into the Appalachian mountains and backpack/hike for 3 days and 2 nights. It’s an amazing chance for freshmen to meet and see each other as they truly are before they experience the grind that can be Penn.
2) What does being a Penn Quest leader entail?
As a PennQuest Leader, the ~30 of us plan the logistics of the entire trip, select the freshmen who get to go on PennQuest, and we lead (as pairs) groups of 10 freshmen through the woods. As a Senior, I get to be involved in the selection process for new leaders as well. However, the most important aspect of being a Leader is facilitating the development of close friendships amongst the freshmen in our groups, and helping these freshmen make the transition to college by being a mentor for them during the school year. Additionally, we’re here as upperclassmen friends that the freshmen can rely on for anything.
3) Why did you decide to be a Penn Quest leader?
The PennQuest leaders for my freshmen year were absolutely amazing, and to this day I have a very close relationship with my PennQuest Mom, even though she graduated 2 years ago. She helped me tremendously during my transition to Penn coming from Nebraska, and I wanted to be able to do the same for others. Also, PennQuest is such a diverse community of people so I wanted to join to expand the types of experiences I would have at Penn. Plus, I enjoy hiking (half)naked in the woods.
4) What is your favorite Penn Quest memory?
On the last night of PennQuest, every group conducts a candle light ceremony in which we go around and say what we genuinely appreciate about each other. I’ve been lucky enough to experience this special event 3 times now and it is by far my favorite aspect of PennQuest.
5) What is your most embarrassing Penn Quest memory?
My freshmen year I would always try and give piggy back rides to my PQ leader whenever I was drunk… During the second night of NSO, I was giving her a piggy back ride walking down Spruce when I drunkenly stumbled off the curb and ended up throwing both of us onto the street. Thankfully, she was fine, but I ended up with a broken foot that I had to endure for the rest of NSO.