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Evan’s Senior Column: Let’s Get Weird

Disclaimer: This is one of those silly senior columns, and I talk at length about personal experiences and lessons. If this doesn’t interest you, you should stop reading now.

This is weird that this is my last Onward State post, right?

Like, I co-created this site with my buddy Eli and my randomly-assigned roommate (and buddy) Davis during the fall of freshman year. And now, almost four years later, I’m writing a goodbye post? And there are people who aren’t my parents who will read it? That’s bizarre to me (and probably even more bizarre to my 18-year-old self).

Even starting Onward State was a weird experience. The idea had been floating around Davis‘ head since at least the summer before freshman year (check out Davis’ comment on this Dean Brady blog post, probably the earliest documentation of any sort of Onward State-ish idea). I was eager to help out, since I (a) enjoyed writing, (b) thought Davis (and Eli, I guess) was a pretty cool dude, and (c) was a bored freshman fully embracing YOLO in a pre-YOLO era (The Golden Era).

After tons of planning meetings*, the majority of which took place in Davis and my’s dorm in 43 Simmons Hall, we launched the site in November 2008. And it began to grow. And grow. It was like one of those foam dinosaur things where you put it in water and it turns into a giant foam dinosaur thing, except the water was web traffic and Onward State was the foam dinosaur thing. Think this metaphor is too much of a stretch? Fuck you, this is my senior column.

*My personal highlight from these meetings? Naming the site. We were throwing around names like Keystoned or The Willard Blogger until I had some stroke of genius (i.e. I kept saying dumb names until one of them wasn’t dumb) and coined the name Onward State

The site’s growth saw Onward State evolve, in my eyes, from something to do to something impressive that I helped create to a true community. Growth begat both readership and staff beyond the three of us, and I have made some of my closest friends ever through my times at Onward State (I also met David Morar, who is an awful person. Can’t win ’em all). I’ll always treasure these friendships, as strangely as they came about.

CLICHE WARNING CLICHE WARNING CLICHE WARNING These last four years have been supremely bizarre, but good bizarre. You know what I mean? It’s hard to classify my college experience (or anyone’s) as “normal”, and that’s a good thing. If your college years aren’t at least a little weird, then you’re supremely fucking up. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, Boombox Guy–please heed my advice. Get weird. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Be dumb every once in a while. But not too dumb. It’s a delicate balance, I know, but try to find it.

Onward State’s growth over the next X amount of years will be fun to watch. There are a lot of talented, motivated folks on staff now, and I’m excited to see where OS goes under their leadership. Good luck, godspeed, and I’ll see you in the comments pages.

Despite everything that has changed throughout the last four years, though, at least one thing has remained constant–Nickelback still sucks.

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About the Author

Evan Kalikow

Evan Kalikow co-founded Onward State in November 2008 with Davis Shaver and Eli Glazier. Having previously served as a Writer, Editor, Standards Editor, and Community Manager, Evan is now a proud alumnus of both Onward State and Penn State. He was also named "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine in 2006.

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