Learn the Words
Learn the Words
For the glory of old State,
For her founders strong and great,
For the future that we wait,
Raise the song, raise the song.
Sing our love and loyalty,
Sing our hopes that, bright and free,
Rest, O Mother dear, with thee,
All with thee, all with thee.
When we stood at childhood’s gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State,
Dear old State, dear old State.
May no act of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name,
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear old State, dear old State.
I have had this idea for a post stuck in my head since graduation day. A good friend of mine texted me while she was getting ready for her graduation and asked about the “when we stood at childhoods gate” line of the Alma mater and what it meant.
I explained that it’s when we stood at the end of our traditional childhood but ready to enter Penn State freshman year — ready to become who we will be in life. A few days later I thought some more about it and wondered to myself, just how many people only know how to recite the words of the Alma mater or worse just sing “we don’t know the goddamned words”? How many people graduate without it all clicking — whether you are a freshman, grad student, or alumni?
I beg of you to please learn the words and what they mean.
Everyone says that college changes your life forever; it is the time of your life that molds who you are. In the summer of 2008, I moved into 143 South Hall at Penn State Hazleton, I met people who would change my life, I began a world class education, and most importantly, I became a Penn Stater.
Being a Penn Stater to me is more than the classes I took, the Saturdays at Beaver stadium, the all nighters, the activities I was involved in, and even my 55 Days at Café 210 West. While all of things contributed to my definition of being a Penn Stater, being one is even more. Restating what hundreds before me have said, Penn State is a community. Freshman year I memorized the words to the Alma mater, I knew them but it was years before I learned them. I started to learn them the day I hiked to the top of Mount Nittany with CCSG Staff 2010-11, and I finally knew I had learned them this past November.
Penn Staters, before it is too late, learn the words!
The world is full of skeptics, hypocrites, and those who just want to bring you down; Penn Staters have learned this first hand. Cancel the season, burn your diplomas, negate your degrees, tear down the statue, or even close the school — these are all things that we have heard. Whether you have turned the other cheek, or fought your hardest for the blue and white you have something in common, you know in your heart exactly why YOU are proud to be a Penn Stater.
I’m sorry to say but Joe Paterno didn’t make you a Penn Stater, neither did Smeal, Greek Life, your activities, or your thesis topic. Your love of Penn State, the feeling it gives you, and the values instilled in you make you a Penn Stater. Learning the words to our Alma mater truly makes you understand these values.
The words to the Alma mater are never handed to you in a simpler form because to truly learn them, you must live them. As a Penn State community we have now lived them, but what have we learned?
For the glory of old State, For her founders strong and great.
Our actions are not simply representative of ourselves; they are representative of the rest of the community, those that have come before us, and Penn State as a whole.
For the future that we wait, Raise the song, raise the song.
The generations of future Penn Staters are dependent on us to restore the glory to Penn State, and to be better than ever.
Sing our love and loyalty, Sing our hopes that, bright and free, Rest, O Mother dear, with thee, All with thee, all with thee.
We will come together as one in both triumph and tragedy. We will always remain faithful to dear of state and not be ashamed. Keep faith in Penn State, even in the hard times.
When we stood at childhood’s gate, Shapeless in the hands of fate, Thou didst mold us, dear old State, Dear old State, dear old State.
When we came to Penn State, we were not yet the person we are destined to become. The values and experiences we acquire at Penn State will make us that person.
May no act of ours bring shame To one heart that loves thy name, May our lives but swell thy fame, Dear old State, dear old State.
We know our actions do not solely represent ourselves, do not act in a way that would defame our community that we love. As we live on with the values we have learned, let us make our lives better and our actions speak for themselves forever improving dear old state.
Many ask how to get through this, the darkest time in the history of Penn State. Some say hope, some say change, and some just don’t know. I think that we need to keep doing what we have always done, just be Penn Staters. Penn Staters that live life for the glory. Thank you Fred Lewis Pattee for taking all of what Penn State is and putting it not only into a song, but an anthem for life.