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Face It: Winter Break Won’t Be a Break from Scandal

Dear fellow Penn State students,

It’s been over a month since we saw our leaders fall and our campus turn upside down. The dust, for now, appears to have settled, and the past two weeks have felt as close to normal as is possible these days in the wake of The Scandal. Now, as we hand in our tests, “sell” back our books (we all know it’s highway robbery), and pack our bags, we say goodbye to a semester full of memories we will cherish forever and moments we will forever want to forget.

After Thanksgiving break, I wrote about the disappointment many of us felt when the break we craved became an extension of the nightmare we all wish we could wake up from. While I want to believe that the upcoming winter break will be different, I know that will not, and cannot, be the case. For the foreseeable future, we’re stuck playing the role of spokespeople for the Penn State student body as we build from the ashes of The Scandal.

I grew up believing that life is “10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,” a phrase repeated often in my house by my dad (who is a damn good motivational speaker, in case you didn’t know). I have never appreciated that advice more than I have in the past six weeks, during a time when Penn State simply had no idea how to react to the events that had transpired. Moving forward, that advice will stay in my back pocket every time I step into a job interview, run into a friend from high school, attend a family gathering, or find myself in any other situation where The Scandal will inevitably come up

Make no mistake. The questions will keep coming. The friends and family you didn’t see over Thanksgiving break will ask you about it, and those you did see will be curious to hear your thoughts about the latest news and the mood on campus. Whether we like it or not, with every new development surrounding Jerry Sandusky, Mike McQueary, and the rest of those involved, new questions will arise and our opinions will still be sought after. And we need to accept that.

I repeated another one of my dad’s pearls of wisdom as I addressed Paternoville throughout that week that The Scandal consumed us all. That pearl of wisdom states that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” The toughest people, I’ve come to realize, are those willing to weather the storm to make sure that the Penn State name still represents pride, honor, integrity, and every other ideal that attracted us, as students, to spend four (or five…or six…) years there.

Be tough over winter break, Penn State. I know you’re still hurting, because I am too, and we will be for a long time. However, now that the initial shock appears to be fading away, we can answer the questions and comments we receive with the clarity and vision of the Penn State we helped, and will continue, to build.

As much as we would love to escape from The Scandal, we’re fit for the task of representing our university the way it should be represented to those in our hometowns. Make the haters feel foolish, and thank the supporters. Do laundry, and catch up on sleep. Enjoy your break, but remember that you’re always going to have to represent Penn State with a little more force than before. Have a great break. I’ll stay in touch.

For The Glory,

John

About the Author

John Tecce

John is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Paternoville Coordination Committee and as a THON Chair for Nittany Nation. He tweets a lot.

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