The Penn Student Dictionary

by guest columnist Andres Gonzalez

Hello, there, and welcome to the University of Pennsylvania! This handy guide will get you accommodated to the Penn culture. Here are a few terms that you should become acquainted with, as you will surely be using, hearing and reading them constantly.

You know what this means. Do not use this word sparingly. The more the better. You are not a Penn student unless you use this word literally in everything you say.

“I literally can’t believe I just failed that midterm after literally staying awake for three days, literally living at Starbucks, and stopping to literally hook up with like 5 people at Cav’s.”

“I literally made my girlfriend wear that Amy Gutmann mask while we made love. It was literally the hottest thing anyone’s ever done for me at Penn.”

“There are literally dozens of dying frogs in my bathtub after my “The South comes to Penn” party literally went to Hell.”

I can’t/I just can’t
This phrase is to make an underwhelming situation seem overwhelming.

“Come look at this video of a sloth attempting to cross a road.”
“Wow, I just can’t with all the cuteness.”

“You know what, now that I think of it, Aquaman is probably one of the most underrated superheroes of all time.
“I just can’t with you right now.  I mean, I just can’t.”

“Alright, alright, hear me out: What if there was some way to turn all the squirrels on campus really really big, and then… just hear me out now… we were able to ride them to class?”
“I just can’t with your idiocy right now.”

(Fun fact: Outside of Penn, this phrase is most commonly used in interracial pornos.)

Use this to point out only the mildest inconveniences.

“Starbucks ran out of skinny vanilla lattés. Struggles.”
“I had major struggles focusing in class thinking of all the extra calories I had to chug.”
“I knew I was on the struggle bus when I went home, stared at myself in the mirror, hating the image before me, while I rubbed my body with chocolate sauce.”

Is that a thing?
Use this term to question anything mildly interesting or out of the ordinary.

“I don’t really like the taste of Diet Coke. I think I’d rather drink some water.”
“Oh my God, do people really do that? Is that even a thing?”

“Come look at this video of slugs reproducing. Isn’t this the most majestic sight you have ever seen?”
“Wow, you pervert. I didn’t even know they posted sick shit like that on the internet. Is this what you get off to?”
“No… no… look, it’s really cool.”
“Whatever, perv. Are you even a thing at this school?”

“There are some people in the world who really like chocolate sauce. So much so that they can’t be erect without it being rubbed all over their bodies.”
“Is… is… that a thing?”

See: Literally

But Actually
“But actually” is a phrase used for emphasis at the end of a phrase that usually requires no emphasis.
“If I buckled down and studied instead of wasting time all day, I’d have better grades.”
“But actually.”

“There are many injustices in the world and there are many groups on campus are doing something about them. I should get off my ass and help stop that damn Kaiser from nuking Gettysburg by buying war bonds.”
“But actually.”

“You know what, that phrase is really overused and kind of annoying. I think I’ll write a humor column that makes fun of how absurd it can be.”
“But actually, you should.”

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