Philadelphia
Former President Obama eating a philly cheesesteak (Image via Pinterest)
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Philadelphia

Philadelphia isn’t just philly cheesesteaks and soft pretzels.

The City of Brotherly Love is one that is full of opportunity and inspiration. With the city having the fifth highest population of college students in the nation, college life is something that has shaped the city, and vice versa. Whether you go to one of the “City 6,” which are Temple, Pennsylvania, Drexel, Villanova, Saint Joseph’s and LaSalle University, or a community college in the city, here are five aspects of Philadelphia life you can relate to.

1. The Eagles Reign Supreme

Philadelphia
The Eagles football team (Image via SI)

This is probably the most important aspect of Philadelphia, which any resident can tell you. You must love the Eagles almost as much as you love your mother, only support the Giants when they play the Patriots and hate the Cowboys over everything.

This year was the first time the Eagles have ever won the Super Bowl and to say that the city went crazy is an understatement. Schools and universities canceled classes, businesses closed down and people rioted in the streets.

After the Birds clenched the NFC Championship, and then the Super Bowl title the week after, fans were out in the streets celebrating both wins for the underdog team. Students and other residents of the city who aren’t even Eagles fans put on green and black in support of the Eagles.

Students who have traveled to live and study in the city were in support of the Eagles because of the amazing camaraderie the fans share. In a special moment of brotherly love, all of the universities in the city dropped their rivalries with each other in unified support for the Birds.

Although Eagles fans have a reputation of being rowdy and totally over the top, it seemed as if the entire country was supporting the Birds during the Super Bowl just to see the Patriots finally be defeated.

Eagles fans are known for being uncontrollably loud and obnoxious, even being named first on GQ’s Worst Fans in America. Despite these amazing credentials, Philadelphians know they have the best team to support and that if you ever hear the Eagles fight song, you must sing along.

2. Philadelphia Winters

When asked what winter is like in Philadelphia, most Philadelphians would say something along the lines of “uncertain, long and brutal.” Despite Pennsylvania having the most famous groundhog in the country, winter usually lasts a little longer than what Punxsutawney Phil says.

From the months of November to late March, the walk to class and work can consist of winds strong enough to push you to your destination, flash snow storms and the occasional suspiciously warm day.

Usually around once a month during the winter season in Philadelphia, there will be a day where it is so unseasonably warm, if you aren’t outside you might miss it. During this day, college campuses are flooded with students trying to find an outdoor space to lounge and relax in the warm sun.

Snapchat stories are filled with people showing off the totally insane concept of being outside for leisure.

3. The Homeless Population

The homeless population in the city of Philadelphia is an urban problem that many cities across the nation face. In 2016, there were 705 unsheltered homeless people in the city of Philadelphia. Homeless people tend to be attracted to college areas because they are heavily populated, so college students quickly adapt to coexisting with homeless people.

Being approached by someone in need of money or shelter in the city has become a part of everyday life, and this has caused universities to become more active in their community to help minimize the homeless population.

At Drexel University, all students are required to take Civic Engagement 101. In this course, they are required to complete at least six hours of volunteer service in the city. Students can choose to volunteer at various organizations, such as Manna, the Bethesda Project or the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

UPenn also has civic engagement classes called Academically Based Community Service or ABCS courses, but they also have a hub for civic engagement, called the Civic House. This is where students can go find out different volunteer opportunities and also participate in alternative spring breaks.

Schools all around the Philadelphia area have programs like these because civic engagement is so important in a city where homelessness and poverty affect 400,000 citizens.

4. History is All Around

Philadelphia
The William Penn statue in Philadelphia (Image via Curbed Philly)

Philadelphia is known for its historical presence in the creation of the United States, and this is extremely apparent if you live in the city. Often, directions are given by saying something is near the historical attractions, like City Hall, Penn’s Landing or the Art Museum. Street names are also almost named after historical figures, like Washington Avenue or Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Students who live in the city are, on some level, familiar with the history of Philadelphia because it is all around them. A statue of the founder of the city, William Penn, overlooks the whole city by sitting at the top of City Hall. Benjamin Franklin has his own parkway, bridge and science museum.

The city is very keen on naming everyday monuments after those who lived here and did exceptional things, and because of this, students and residents of Philadelphia know the basic history and are constantly reminded of those historical figures by just simply walking to class.

5. Dealing with Stereotypes

Philadelphia faces a lot of different stereotypes about the people and the attractions in the city. When visitors come, they automatically think of going to Independence Hall to see the Liberty Bell, seeing the Rocky Statue at the Art Museum or going to West Philly to see Will Smith. In reality, most residents rarely ever go to those places, or even go at all.

The most famous stereotype Philadelphians face is the idea that everyone eats cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and Tastycakes. While this is an extremely accurate stereotype, Philadelphia has so much more to offer and residents are constantly struggling to show people that the city has something for everyone.

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