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Reflection Leads To Thanks For The Past Four Years

Before I write this column, I should let you know that it is already four days late. It took me until the events of Sunday night to realize how easy this column was to write. Here it goes…

My world halted to a stand-still on Sunday night. Standing downtown watching fireworks being lit off in the middle of Beaver Avenue during the “Death to bin Laden” celebration finally made me realize that my time here is up. And yes, while I will be moving on to Florida State’s graduate school next year, I will never have the ability to have moments like those of last night again. So, I want to thank you Penn State.

First off, I’ll get the technical stuff out of the way. Thank you Penn State for giving me a great education. Yeah I know these columns are supposed to be about everything but my time in the classroom, but the meteorology program here has put me in a position to do great things down the road if I should choose to stay down that career path. I spoke with some of the greatest minds in science on a day-to-day basis and that is knowledge and connections I will never be able to replace.

Now onto the things that actually are important. Thank you Penn State for the people you allowed me to meet over the past four years. Without your institution, I would not have met:

  • My best friend and subsequently his family who became like a second family to me.
  • The tattooed, lip ring-wearing hipster who I have become great friends with faster than anyone I ever have before.
  • My Papa Bear, who mentored me to make sure I could survive at this school once he graduated and moved on.
  • The two most inappropriate girls I have ever met. I know I will still be cracking inside dirty jokes with them well into my later years.
  • The professor who did anything for me, who believed in me and whose lessons will be with me for the rest of my life.
  • The girl who shot me down (twice) but who finally realized that I might not be such a bad catch after all.

These are only just some of the people you have allowed me to make connections with during these past four years, people that made their mark and will have a lasting influence in the person that I will be in the future.

Thank you Penn State for allowing me to be involved. Although Onward State is not an official student organization here on campus, it being here has provided me with an outlet to get away over-zealous meteorology types at times and write about other things that matter to me.

You allowed me to help a child live a better life through THON. You allowed me to meet two great families that deal with problems I could never think of facing everyday and help take some of that burden off of their back. You allowed me to have the 46 greatest hours of my life dancing in the Bryce Jordan Center knowing that I was truly making a difference in someone’s life.

Thank you Penn State for the good times you have allowed me to experience. I know that you look down on the whole partying thing, BUT I would be remiss to say that there were nights that I will never forget in apartments all across this town. But that’s not all. Thank you for allowing me to have the random snowball fights in winter, the experiences that won’t be forgotten in Beaver Stadium, the potluck dinners, the Cafe Tuesdays, etc, etc. None of them would have been possible without you.

But most of all, thank you Penn State for broadening my horizons. I had a whole plan set out when I arrived on campus back in August of 2007 and I am so lucky that you did not allow for it to fall into place.

I was content with being the small-town kid and keeping to myself, but you forced me to get involved as I said before and my life is now fuller for that.

After that, I was content with going to every party, but your tuition would not allow for that and working at 6:00 a.m. on weekends became the norm. You kept me out of a lot of trouble and allowed me to meet some great people along the way.

Finally, I was content with being a meteorologist because it was something I figured I’d be pretty good at. And while I am graduating with a very decent GPA in the major and plan on going to graduate school in the same field of study, you showed me I could do other things, like write (And to all of you who say that this isn’t real writing, go fuck yourself).

I never felt the exhilaration in getting a forecast right that I did when breaking that our mascot was dismissed or that hockey would be coming to Penn State. You have opened doors to me that I didn’t even know existed and for those alternatives I am grateful.

And even with everything that I have done, I still don’t feel like I took full advantage of you, Penn State. But the opportunities that I did ravage have made me a proud Penn Stater.

Thanks for the memories, Dear Old State.

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About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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