Pro-Tips: Your Last Weekend at State

While I still have another full year at Penn State, thousands of my friends, peers, and colleagues will see the culmination of their Penn State careers this weekend. You may or may not be excited about this, but many of you will likely have family and friends descending on State College to celebrate your graduation ceremony. We at Onward State (in particular @eweiss41) have collated a few ideas for a suggested itinerary for your final weekend as an undergraduate at Penn State.

8:00 amBreakfast at the Waffle Shop. One of the good ones. If you don’t know the difference by now, perhaps you shouldn’t be graduating quite yet. The line is going to be long (get used to it) so send mom & dad early and drag yourself there in time to meet them at the front of the line.

10:00 amDessert at the Creamery. This place is going to be a hot spot all weekend, because there’s nothing that parents love more about Penn State than the Berkey Creamery. Why not go early and beat the crowds? Plus, you have a long day ahead of you, now you’ll be able to burn off all of those calories from a heaping cone of Cinnamon Fried Ice Cream.

11:00 amWalk through campus. Begin that dairy digestion with a walk down memory lane. Visit your freshman year dorm, stroll down the Pattee Mall, or even text your friends and have them meet you at the fish tanks one final time. This is a great opportunity to get some of those grad photos around campus that you’ve been putting off. Plus, your mom will love it. If you’re looking to be a little adventurous, check out some unorthodox places to take your graduation photos. (Warning: you may have to wait your turn if Onward State loyalists beat you to them).

12:30 pmLunch at Cafe 210. Enjoy a Clem’s basket and a tea (or four) on the front patio of Cafe. Show your folks what it’s like to pre-game a gathering like that 1:25 ECON class you had last semester, and get your buzz on before your commencement ceremony. It’s going to be long, and you’re going to need it.

2:00 pmCommencement ceremony. The time has finally arrived. Don your cap and gown, sit with your classmates, and listen to the cliched advice of an underwhelming commencement speaker. Fear not — there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained during this grueling process. Take bets on how many times someone uses the phrases “follow your passion” or “you are the future”. Try to be the one to start every round of applause after the speaker delivers a crowd-pleasing anecdote. Whatever you do, just don’t fall asleep.

3:30 pm -Congratulations, you are now a Penn State graduate! Before you get online to order that sweet PSU vanity plate for your Ford Taurus, track down the Nittany Lion and snag that obligatory Christmas letter photo with the timeless Penn State mascot.

5:00 pm – With some time to kill before dinner, there’s no better way to celebrate your induction into the Penn State Alumni Association (as soon as you pay the membership fee, or get in for free like some alums do) than with whiskey shots at Zeno’s.

6:00 pmDinner. Hopefully your folks made some reservations at the Nittany Lion Inn (or Zola’s for all you high rollers) in advance. No, not earlier that day. Try a year in advance. If your name isn’t on a list somewhere, enjoy your $5 footlongs from one of Subway’s three convenient downtown locations. For a nicer sit-down meal, try the Cracker Barrel in Altoona.

7:30 pmPhoto at the Lion Shrine. No graduation weekend is complete without a trip to the most photographed spot in Pennsylvania. Definitely try to avoid graduation day if possible, but if not, the evening is a great time to go because the lines will be shorter, and direct overhead sun won’t be casting a dark shadow on your face from your mortarboard. You will regret not taking this photograph.

9:00 pm – Time to take the folks out on the town. Your night’s destination depends on your parent’s personality. Are mom and dad pretty chill and laid-back? Throw back a few Guinesses at Kildare’s. Is dad a beer fanatic? Show him the selection at Zeno’s. Raging alcoholics? Nothing that a Monkey Boy at Saloon or a Fish Bowl at Bar Bleu can’t handle. Unless you’re tremendously bold, I would avoid Indigo.

2:00 am – If mom and dad have managed to stay awake this long, top off your night with the greatest of Penn State traditions: Canyon Pizza. Slather some room temperature ranch dressing on a lukewarm slice and watch your parents stare at you in disgust. Aren’t you glad they got the full experience?

Hope we helped make the most of your final weekend as a Penn State student. Anything you think should be added? Let us know below!

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About the Author

Dave Cole

Dave graduated from Penn State in 2013. He was the Managing Editor of this website. Dave remains a proud Onward State alumnus to this day. Twitter --> @davecolephoto

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