Disclaimer: Penn State is a great place to be during any month of the year. That said, some months are better than others.
I had the idea to make this list after my roommates and I had an hours-long debate about it because we know how to make good use of our time. The list only considers things that happen exclusively at Penn State or college staples (so something like the opening of Rita’s does not make March better than other months). With apologies to State College townies, I’m excluding May and June because of the lack of students here for the majority of those months. From worst to best, let’s have at it:
No disrespect to Syllabus Week II and the lack of exams, and all disrespect to the no-end-in-sight cold weather that turns campus to tundra and accompanying malaise. And while some may see the length of time we spend away from State College in January as a good thing, we should savor the time we get to spend here, no?
Allen Street looks incredible in December, no question about it. Besides that, there isn’t much going on in December except teachers burying you with pre-finals assignments they forgot to give you earlier in the year and the volleyball team bringing home a championship, probably. And, again, I see a long break as a con (don’t take that the wrong way, Mom).
THON is a spectacular event, but without it, February would really suffer. The great eyesore to our reputation that is State Patty’s Day, though on March 1 this year, usually falls in February. It’s still freezing out. During February, you’re too far removed from the start of the semester to excuse yourself being lazy but too far from the end of it to motivate yourself for a stretch run. February is tough. At least the now-perennial Penn State basketball upset happens in it.
I don’t have beef with March. It’s just that I don’t have much reason to love it, either. We aren’t here for the middle of it, we’ll probably watch March Madness from the outside looking in and the middle of the semester is tough work-wise.
You’re probably sensing a trend with the months that have breaks in them by this point. But besides that, November is awesome — Penn State football gets football weather and probably beats Wisconsin as shown above, you can have Thanksgiving dinners with friends, the weather isn’t too bad and other big sports begin.
Full disclosure: I was a LEAPer in 2011, liked it so much I stayed here again in 2012 and am totally biased toward Penn State summers. But really, they’re awesome, primarily because you can enjoy the Penn State life with way less worries than the regular season. The back end of August even catches Syllabus Week I. There is not a thing to dislike about August at Penn State except the lack of classmates here.
April is amazing. You can finally walk outside without looking like Randy in “A Christmas Story.” It sucks that the year is ending, but it goes out with a bang: Blue-White Weekend, Movin’ On and Relay for Life will keep most of us entertained while seniors feel the heat of 55 Days. A great month, April is.
See August, with two key additions: Those taking classes spend the whole month here, and, of course, Arts Fest.
My roommates and I got to be sunglasses-wearing hot dogs for an entire weekend because of October, so it’s a pretty sweet month. Homecoming Weekend is in October, during which this happened last year. The workload is tough this time of year, but the amount of things to look forward to makes up for it.
Remember that Green Day song about September that you probably used as a encapsulation of your problems in high school? Things change. September at Penn State is the best of the best. The tailgating scene is beautiful, and you can spend an entire month basking in the glory of having returned for a new year. No one thing separates September from the pack, but no month provides as much constant fun as No. 9.
Tell me how wrong I am in the comments below.