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So Much for a Normal Senior Year

Well, this has certainly been a week that none of us will ever forget. A week filled so many emotions and an utter sense of disbelief. I thought our school was infallible and now we’re facing the worst scandal higher education has ever seen. This isn’t the way our senior year was supposed to be – I want my Penn State back.

Growing up I always wanted to go to Penn State. I attended games at Beaver Stadium and was even a volunteer usher my senior year of high school just so I could sit in the student section. Yes, I came to games three hours early and wore a bright red vest while everyone around me was having fun, but it was worth it. I fell in love with the atmosphere and the Penn State way.

Looking back it probably wasn’t the most intelligent decision I’ve ever made, but I only I applied to one school: Penn State. I just never wanted to go anywhere else and despite everything that’s happened, I still don’t.

Once the news broke, the flood gates opened. In the blink of an eye State College was the focus of the nation. Well, more like Joe Paterno was the focus of the nation. It sickens me that in the midst of everything that is happening, the media had to make this about Joe. Yes he was involved, but in no way is he the focal point. The victims, however, most certainly are. Maybe if any action what-so-ever was taken in the beginning of all this, Joe would be able to go out with some dignity.

The words “Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately” will forever echo in my head. 62 years of service and he was notified by a phone call– it just doesn’t get any more classless. I always tried to picture the day that Joe would retire and part of me hoped it would be my senior year, but after a Rose Bowl, not like this. Never like this.

I guess I haven’t really processed this whole thing. A week ago I was just a senior trying to soak up the little time I had left before it was time to face the real world. Now I’m trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered belief system. It’s too surreal, almost like we’re caught in the plot of a horror movie. This is supposed to be Happy Valley – we don’t deserve this.

If I could go back five years and apply to college all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. This is a travesty, but I know deep down that we will get through this. I would have loved a normal senior year, but the memories I have from the past three and the ones yet to come I wouldn’t trade for the world. We are Penn State and we are all in this together. One shameful act cannot and will not bring down this institution.  If anything, once we’ve weathered this storm, our bond will become even stronger.

The single most important aspect of this disaster is the victims and sadly they are often overlooked. Say a prayer for them, this is about how their lives are forever changed and nothing was done to stop it. To show your support, attend the vigil tonight in their honor.

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