PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

43 Simmons

As a college student, one of the questions I’ve gotten used to is, “What’s your major?”

For me, this has always been a conversation-starter.

Despite the advice of my mother, I pursued a major in history at Penn State. I have been in the College of the Liberal Arts since I entered the university as a freshman, but have had a love of history for much longer.

I chalk it up to brain chemistry. Growing up in an age of knowledge surplus instead of scarcity, I’m a glutton when it comes to factoids or otherwise interesting new information. I have been for as long as I can remember. History turned out to be a natural outlet for my curiosity. No matter how much time I invested, I could never understand the full story.

I was a history major before I was a blogger, but I was a journalist before I was a history major. You’d be surprised how closely the three are related. While in high school at Lawrenceville (@lville_school) I served as the Sports Editor of The Lawrence, followed by a summer stringing for The Lebanon Daily News (@LDNews).

It was a couple months into school, after a very  brief stint at the Collegian, when I finished fleshing out the full original plan for Onward State. Around that time, I was just beginning to get into one of my favorite courses at Penn State — J ST 083S. My freshman seminar, this course was taught by the Harvard-educated Baruch Halpern, one of the foremost scholars on the Old Testament and its origins. Halpern is one of those men whose intellect stuns you; the agility with which he can jump from point to point, transcending disciplines, has not ceased to amaze me in the eight semesters since. It was a feat I aspired to accomplish on my own, but with Penn State’s story instead of the Jewish people’s.

It’s not for me to say whether Onward State was successful in this task, but there are some things I want to tell you, our readers, now that I’ve completed my time here as a student of the Pennsylvania State University. Over the next few days — my final with the unique vision that being a current undergraduate grants me — I want to offer a series of reflective posts about what I’ve learned. I want to try as hard as I might to explain what it has been like to be the creator of Onward State and to see the past four years of Penn State’s history through my eyes. To understand that, though, first you have to begin with me.

43 Simmons

Onward State co-founder Evan Kalikow (@evankalikow) and I were assigned to be roommates randomly, or at least according to the official Schreyer Honors College explanation. It’s an implausible defense to me, too, but how can I doubt men and women of such nearly-targumic wisdom?

In any case, Evan and I were friends from our first digital encounter (over the website Lasagna Cat if you must know). To understand our relationship, start with Evan’s senior column. Needless to say, we were naturally bizarre most of the time.

Eli Glazier (@eliglazier), the other co-founder, lived in our hall and was often times the straight-man to our duo. Eli is one of those guys who seems to have arrived at University Park with a nearly-complete idea of what he wanted to do with his life. What’s more than that, he puts forth whatever he’s got whenever there’s an organization he’s committed to, whether it’s Onward State, the Presidential Leadership Academy, or the Penn State Journal of International Affairs. Despite having to put up with my leadership defects, Eli rose to combat whatever fire was hottest each evening while he was editor-in-chief or assigning editor or any other of the various titles we tried during the four-year long experiment that has been Onward State.

Evan, Eli, and I forged a friendship bonded in a common purpose of informing, entertaining, and engaging the Penn State community. The three of us have had a Penn State experience unlike any other. Like a dear friend of mine said to me in an email recently, striking at something I’ve hoped for since we started in 2008: Onward State has managed “to build and grow a brand new community.”

That all began in 43 Simmons, the dorm room Evan and I shared for our first two years at Penn State. That’s where we wrote the majority of posts that were published on the site during those first two years, and that’s where most of the organization’s early history was made.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that time and everything else that has happened over the past four years. It’s a lot to consider. So much has changed since we started; there are enough stories for me to fill a book. There are, however, some topics that I think in general define my Penn State experience. I want to publish a history of my time at Penn State this week, and explain what the past four years have made me feel. I want to tell you, our readers, what I’ve learned, and what I think we still have yet to understand. These posts, though I have been thinking about them for years now, are not written yet, so don’t feel bad about leaving questions or other thoughts in the comments, or by reaching me on Twitter at @davisshaver.

About the Author

Davis

Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

Comments

More by Davis

Penn State and the Process of Life

To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of higher education’s death have been an exaggeration. American universities produce more research and relevant knowledge for the world at large than any other institutions I know of. Tuition may be too damn high, but over the long-run, undergraduate degrees are definitely worth the cost. But Penn State could be so much more. It used to be, I think.

Bonded in Blue, White, and Worry

To Chairwoman Peetz

Athletics

Cole Miller Misses Cut At U.S. Open

Miller finished the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at +12, missing the cut by four strokes.

Evan Barratt Invited To World Junior Summer Showcase

Several Penn State Women’s Soccer Players Training In WPSL

Top-100 Wrestler Flips From Pitt To Penn State

Maddie Elliston Named Penn State Women’s Soccer Captain

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting At Beaver Stadium

If alumna Alex Perry hadn’t accidentally gotten into the wrong admissions line before a football game, she might never have met the love of her life.

Virtual Reality: Changing The Game At Penn State

Penn State Cracks The Top Ten In Niche’s 2018 Party School Ranking

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Freshman 101: How To Buy Football Tickets

Tickets go on sale for graduate students on Monday, June 18, followed by seniors on Tuesday, juniors on Wednesday, sophomores on Thursday, and freshmen on Friday.

Hackenberg Waived By The Raiders

Hackenberg was waived by the Raiders Tuesday only a few weeks — 21 days, to be exact — after he was traded to Oakland by the New York Jets.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting At Beaver Stadium

If alumna Alex Perry hadn’t accidentally gotten into the wrong admissions line before a football game, she might never have met the love of her life.

Send this to a friend