Sorry I’m NOT Sorry: Four Years, No Regrets

I had no intentions of ever coming to Penn State. I applied on a whim because I didn’t have to write a personal statement. And as I rode around in a bright blue university bus during my prospective freshmen tour with my mother (a well-known figure among the Onward State readers), one of our tour guides said, “You can never make a small school big but you can easily make a big school seem small.”

Sold. Hook, line, sinker.

Even though I was only one of four Staten Island Techies coming to Penn State, I was never actually worried. I am the type of person that is heard way before I am seen. Looking back, I realize just how much my loudmouth, naive seventeen-year-old self had to learn. And interestingly enough, (underclassmen: READ HERE) not a single one of those important lessons was learned while sitting inside a classroom.

I learned to look past my first impressions of people. That douchebag looking boy with the black knee socks and the ginger girl my mom tried to convince to do her laundry on Thursdays during FTCAP quickly became two of my best friends. And even though they mocked me every week for dropping out of pre-med to become a communications major, we stayed close over tater tots and two-hour Sunday brunches in Pollock.

I learned to look at the best of every situation. Living in an all girls dorm my freshman year sounded like an awful experience for someone who cared way more about Sportscenter than Gossip Girl. It was truly a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t one of those girls who came to college for an MRS degree and a husband; I was here to find bridesmaids. And I definitely did.

I learned to open my mind to opinions that are different than my own. The New York Jew joining the Professional Agricultural Sorority. It’s not a storyline that you’ve heard before. I didn’t even know there were HUNTING SEASONS. I am proud of myself for completely going out of my comfort zone and forming a sisterhood with people I may not have even considered as friends in high school. Without my sorority, I wouldn’t have had the chance to stand for 46 hours straight or the opportunity to hold countless leadership positions or taken advantage of one of the best Greek systems in the country (the week-longs and the excessive amounts of gear were an added bonus).

I learned that your GPA doesn’t actually matter. Two years of interviews for jobs and internships and not once have I ever been asked about the grades I received. Let me repeat that, I have never been asked once about my cumulative GPA. Stressing over a 3.3256? Stop. Right this instant. Companies care more that you are a real person outside of the quiet room in the HUB. I promise you, any night spent with friends will be much more memorable in twenty years than the grade you received on your Eng 202A paper.

Remember the buffalo. I lied. This is the one important lesson I learned in a classroom, thanks to an amazing man named Frank Clemente. The buffalo bounced back from near extinction and are once again one of the most prominent animal populations in the United States. If the buffalo can do it, so can you. I learned to never doubt my own limits and even more importantly, to never doubt my own dreams.

My dad will be happy to hear me say that the lessons I learned at Penn State surpass its $100,000+ price tag. As much as I may have complained about them on Twitter, I have loved waiting on lines. While at the White Building, while getting a Mixed Greens salad, while ordering $2 teas at Café, while entering Beaver Stadium. I have loved the lady who wishes me a good morning on the White Loop. I have loved every weekend spent on street corners in the freezing cold raising money for families fighting pediatric cancer. I have loved living in a building on the 400 block of East Beaver Avenue that constantly smells like a frat basement. I have loved swapping crosswords with my best friend as we sit next to each other in large lecture halls, a tradition that started the spring of our freshman year. I have loved every countless hour I have wasted on the second floor of the HUB with my fellow THON captains. I will miss it all; it was all part of the real Penn State experience.

It has been four fulfilling, remarkable years. Yes, I may have matured and I definitely have gotten a lot better at crossword puzzles, but I am still just as loud, just as ballsy. I am still a true-blooded New Yorker, but I have a little Pennsylvania around the edges. People say you graduate to move onto bigger and better things. I’m not quite sure. But I am absolutely positive that I’m taking every experience, every memory and every friendship that didst mold me at Dear Old State with me… wherever that happens to be.

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