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Plea to All Penn Staters: Please Don’t Transfer

I can still remember the first time I fell in love.

I was just a young lad, probably around eight or nine years old, and a family friend had taken me to Penn State for an alumni function. I don’t remember the details of the event, but I do remember walking down Pollock Road afterwards, in the middle of spring when classes were changing, and being enamored with the beauty and atmosphere of campus. I walked past the Lion Shrine and it gave me goose bumps, the same goose bumps I still feel every time I pass by it today.

A lot has changed since then, but my love for this place hasn’t wavered. That’s why it was an easy answer last week when one of my aunts called and asked if I was considering transferring. “The environment there, it will never be the same,” she said to me.  “How can you concentrate on your studies with all this madness going on?”

My aunt was right – the environment here will never be the same and it certainly has been a challenge to concentrate on schoolwork over the last week and a half. I have spoken to many other people who have faced the same concerns from outsiders, and I even met one person who was actually planning on transferring. But my aunt failed to account for one thing; this university is still the best thing that ever happened to me.

I can’t imagine going through all this nonsense as a freshman, and I suppose this plea is mainly for them. I can promise you this; if you’ve only been on campus for less than three months, this is not the Penn State that I fell in love with. I am thankful that I had at least one year of normalcy here, but I am even more grateful for the next three years I’ll have in this special place called Happy Valley. Trust me, it will get better. Don’t give up just yet.

Let me remind you of some things that have not changed, despite the recent scandal:

  • Penn State is consistently ranked toward the top of the list by recruiters for job placement. The Wall Street Journal describes us as “Bright, well-rounded students with the core competencies [that the companies] desire.” Despite what some people might say about the recent scandal causing employers to scrutinize Penn State applicants, there is an opportunity there to talk about how we as a community overcame adversity in an interview.
  • State College is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live. Crime rate is extremely low and students can walk around at any time of the day and feel safe. The downtown area is beautiful no matter the time of year. Everyone and everything in the area lives and breathes Penn State, which is a feeling that not many towns can replicate. It’s not called it “Happy Valley” for nothing.
  • THON. This really requires no explanation. To freshmen who haven’t yet experienced a THON weekend, you’re in for something truly special. The amount of money Penn State raises for cancer research cannot be contested by even Penn State’s biggest critics.
  • The research facilities and academics at Penn State are world class. No matter what area of study you’re interested in, there’s a place for you at Penn State. With over 160 majors, top of the line research labs, and student resources for just about every issue, the academic experience at Penn State is unmatched.
  • Penn State has the best alumni networking base in the world.  One in every 117 college graduates in America has a degree from Penn State, which consists of just fewer than 600,000 alumni. No matter where you are in the world, there is a member of our Penn State family nearby.
  • Student unity at Penn State is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. School spirit encompasses more than just football, and I’ve formed relationships here that I can’t imagine myself without. This is the best part of Penn State for me. My Penn State family means more to me than anything in the world. As Matt McGloin would say, the people you meet here are unbelievable.

These are just a few reasons that I hold Penn State so close to my heart. I know, it’s going to be awfully hard to trust people here again. Football Saturdays will never be the same. The next few years are going to be the hardest in Penn State history. But it is our responsibility, it is our duty, to maintain the level of excellence Penn State has come to symbolize. Sure, there’s going to need to be some rebuilding, and there are more tears yet to be shed, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

And so, I humbly ask you to continue on this journey with me.

If there’s anyone that can get through this, I know it’s us.

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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