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Freshman Expectations vs. Reality

Last August, I packed my life into three suitcases and jumped in the car to begin my life at Penn State.

Excitement was seeping out of my pores… as well as anxiety and motion sickness, but that’s a different story. Seven months later, life is great, but everything definitely did not go as planned. Thus, I present to you a few of my expectations of Penn State, followed by the, sometimes harsh, realities that followed.

Floor mates

  • Expectation: When I went to Girl Scout Camp in fourth grade it was one big slumber party filled with bonfires, pillow fights, and scary stories. I expected nothing less of my relationships with my floor mates.
  • Reality: I never have, and never will, sing Kumbaya with my floor. With about 40 people living on each level, you’re bound to find a few gems, but when the girl across the hall gets caught having sex in your favorite shower and the shirt your neighbor is wearing is identical to the one that disappeared from your laundry last week, things can get kinda awkward.

 Findlay Commons

  • Expectation: Freshmen unite! Good food, good friends, good times.
  • Reality: Don’t get me wrong, the 100-yard walk from my dorm room to Findlay has made it my number one choice, and the comfort in knowing that you’re dining with all of your freshman equals is one that cannot be found anywhere else. The food, however, is sub-par, and your hunger will only be satisfied if it is craving salad, grilled chicken, pasta, or… yeah, that’s it.


  • Expectation: This should be interesting considering I haven’t studied since junior year.
  • Reality: Two weeks ago I had five exams in a three-day span. It was emotionally scarring. I’m still not ready to talk about it. That is college.

 Football Games

  • Expectation: I never attended a PSU football game before this year, and wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I blew two paychecks on a season ticket.
  • Reality: Hell, I would blow five paychecks on this shit. There is nothing quite like being in a sea of college kids who are in love with Penn State as much as you are. Every cheer is awesome, every Blue Band song is awesome, and every overpriced chicken finger is awesome. The free pompom is also a plus.


  • Expectation: Every boy at Penn State will be hot, sweet, smart, and successful. I will love them all.
  • Reality: Well… there’s Tinder?


  • Expectation: Asher Roth has taught me everything I need to know: People will chant “freshman” at me, I should probably do something crazy, I won’t pass out with my shoes on, etc.
  • Reality: There ain’t no party like a Penn State party! I’ve witnessed everything from kids playing pong with a JoePa cutout to a forty-year-old dad getting a wallie. We have it all. Be careful at the frats though — the amount of dignity you’re willing to sacrifice for some free Natty is on your own terms (shout out to my GDIs).


  • Expectation: I’ll love it.
  • Reality: I love it.

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About the Author

Lindsay Hummell

Sophomore majoring in Biobehavioral Health.

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