My decision to come to Penn State did not come as a surprise to anyone. I was one of those “brainwashed babies” who came out of the womb sipping the blue and white kool-aid and there is actual video evidence of some of my first words being “Go Penn State.” It was practically embedded in my DNA that I too would be a Nittany Lion — see the picture above as evidence.
My paternal grandparents had their first date at the Corner Room and my dad purchased the ring he proposed to my mom with at the local Kranich’s on College Ave. My older sister and brother came here before I and now, my little brother is a freshman that is left to continue the legacy. To say we are a Penn State family is an understatement — literally, you should see my dad on game day. While my decision to come here was definitely influenced by those before me, I was never forced into being a Nittany Lion. But after being exposed to Happy Valley for so many years — and Death By Chocolate ice cream — I felt that it was impossible to go elsewhere when nothing could really compare.
So now, it’s hard to sit here and accept that my four years are coming to an end because that decision to come here seems like it was made not very long ago. I guess if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that life happens in the blink of an eye. One second you’re moving into your shoebox of a dorm room in Stone Hall and the next, you’re desperately trying to make the most of your life as a responsibility-free young adult before the burdens of post-graduation ensue. And to that, I say a big ‘eww’ like Jimmy Fallon does in one of his late night skits.
It seems like just yesterday that I met my best friend, who quite honestly, I thought was kind of awkward and shy at first, and we were arm in arm walking back to East from Frat Land. Just yesterday, I feel like I was chatting with the girls down the hall in Ritner over casual bathroom conversations and late night pokey sticks who would eventually become my roommates. Just yesterday, we started pregaming together after finding out that we hung out with the same circle of people and realizing our love for pizza and synchronized dancing. It was at one of these pregames that we decided we were officially best friends and commemorated that milestone by naming our group one of the most ridiculous names we could think of, just for the sake of getting people to say it, and it stuck. Now, over two years later, I’m dreading the thought of leaving this school and not seeing them everyday.
Attending Penn State was one of the best decisions I could have made, for it has given me a great education, some of my best friends, and a clearer outlook on who I am as a person and where I want to be in the future. Although it feels as though I just arrived, I know that this university has prepared me for what is to come, and has given me some amazing people to help me through the next chapter of life.
I ended my high school graduation speech with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Ferris Bueller, but I think it’s even more relevant now than it was then.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
As I wrap up my final week in State College, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing — taking in how picturesque Old Main looks on a sunny day, noticing the joy I feel when indulging at the creamery, enjoying the late nights with my best friends and making the most of the cheaper than dirt drink specials, because before I know it, it will no longer be my home. These four years have flown by, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re having fun.