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Book Club of Love 

at the University of Pennsylvania

All My Stories

     Book Club of Love at Penn (BCLP) is the first wellness student book club at the University of Pennsylvania.

      Through a common passion for books, students from different schools at Penn share their burgeoning ideas and build enduring friendships.

    BCLP encourages interdisciplinary collaborations and personal development.



By Xi Cao, starring Jenny Li


By Cynthia Zheng


By Yifang Xu


By Huichao Dong


by a brilliant stranger, starring Victoria Li and her friends

New Orleans

By Vicent Wang, starring Roger Zhang

By Orly Ren

New York

by Yulia Chen

By one awesome member

By Yifan Shi

By Ying Shen


By Linjun Fan


By Lillian Liu

1. The Philadelphians

Philadelphians are what makes Philly the source of forever awe and mesmerizing beauty.

The people here melt my heart and truly makes a foreign international student like me come to identify Philly as my home away from home.

I come to know so many beautiful souls in this city of love.

They are the people who care for me deeply.

They are the people who send me flowers when I am having a rain day.

They are the people who love you with all they have to offer.

They are the people who teach you what selfless hospitality is.

And they are the people behind my motivation to emulate their brilliance and generosity through this book club.

2. The community at Penn's Graduate School of Education

GSE is not only the world's best education school, it is one warm-hearted, close-knitted family that translate rigorous learning into real-world impact.

GSE is where I learn from the most inspirational faculty, classmates, and staff members,

where I cement my understandings of educational linguistics,

where I reach for greatness through teamwork.

I always remember the beautiful wisdom our Assistant Dean for Student Services, Ann, shares with us through her many loving emails for us, “It truly takes a village to make it through life.”

3. The Schuylkill River

Most mornings, my classmate and I pound the river trials together with laughters.

There are always wonders, surprises and inspirations waiting for us at Schuylkill.

As an intercultural communication student,

here is a treasure trove to practice the knowledge we took from the classrooms,

and get to know more incredible Philadelphians.

Written by Cynthia Z., Penn GSE

Art credits to Steph Edwards // @toyoufromsteph

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ― Hermann Hesse

When was the last time you really took a break? I don't just mean a 5 or 10-minute break before you continue to complete the work you have been doing non-stop for the past few hours. I mean a good break. A break that gives you the relief of thinking to yourself, "oh wow, I really, really needed that."

I've realized that the world doesn't stop around us nor does it stop for us. But that doesn't mean that we can't pause for a moment to take time for ourselves.

The hustle culture praises productivity. It tells us that as long as we are being productive, we are rewarded with satisfaction. But how true is that? By definition, the hustle culture is an active lifestyle where you are constantly working in order to be 'successful'. Yet, how can one define 'success' in the first place? Is it really effective to only work, work, and work? These are some of the questions worth asking and considering.

Research shows that overworking can lead to several negative consequences such as burnout and anxiety. Overworking can also affect one's sleep and ultimately, job performance. A study by Pencavel showed that while working for long hours may lead to more productivity, it is only effective to a certain extent. This study also showed that when working past 50 hours per week, the level of productivity goes down. Therefore, there is an optimal level to working. Once someone goes past that level, the rate of efficiency decreases. When comparing those who took rests during the week against those who did not while working the same number of hours, it was shown that those who took rests were, indeed, more productive. Thus, more working hours does not necessarily always = more productivity.

Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of working hard. I admire those who work hard to achieve their life goals. Their resilience inspires me to work hard, too. I just do not love the idea of overworking to the point where you do not take proper care of yourself. I am a firm believer that it is important to put yourself before your work. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Only in your best can you work your best.

So, if you are reading this and find yourself needing a break, please do it. It is okay. Whether it is taking yourself out on a picnic, baking those cookies from a secret recipe you have been wanting to bake for the longest time, or simply sleeping in... do it. I will be here cheering you on!

You are also more than welcome to come to our club meetings as a form of relaxation, hehehe. We would absolutely love to have you join us!

Meanwhile, I will soon be putting my phone on silent mode, ruminating over the words of a book I have been meaning to read for a while now, and finally, cozying up in my own bed under the blankets while I devour those chapters.

I will talk to you later!


Cynthia Z.


Maudud, O. E. (2021, May 7). The hustle culture is a lie, here's why. The Daily Star. Retrieved February, 2022, from

Purtill, C. (2021, April 10). Companies can't stop overworking. The New York Times. Retrieved February, 2022, from

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