PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Senior Column: Shapeless in the Hands of Fate

In 12 days, I will be a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University. Those words have yet to sink in, as I’m sure is the case for a lot of seniors.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out where the 17-year old freshman version of me went.

I had no idea what I was in for when I arrived in State College for summer session in 2009. Four years later, I still have no idea what I’m facing. I don’t know where I’m going, but thanks to Penn State, I have a pretty good sense of who I am and what’s important to me.

I learned a lot at Penn State. During my freshman and sophomore years, I learned how to memorize useless information, only to forget it an hour after an exam. I learned how to eat, shower, and make it to class in 15 minutes. However, throughout the next two years, the things I learned were a little more important…

Penn State taught me to question things. In the fall of 2011, I got sucked into everything that was going on, and as a result I began to doubt my school, its leaders, and the value of my education. I love sports, but I struggled to accept the fact that grown men could place athletics above children — above other human beings.

Penn State taught me to come to my own conclusions. During the early months of 2012, I had an epiphany. The football coach, whoever it may be, doesn’t define Penn State. The Board of Trustees doesn’t define Penn State. Neither does the President, the Athletic Director, or a tenured professor.

But even when the entire country (and maybe the world) focused on the actions of a few men, those men didn’t define Penn State.

The truth is, at least in my eyes, we — the former, current, and future students — define Penn State. During our darkest hours (damaging our own community on self-created drinking holidays, for example) we define Penn State. Through our moments of brilliance, like THON, we define Penn State.

On May 4, as I sit in the BJC wearing my cap and gown, I know I’m going to be thinking about everything I’ve learned here. Penn State has taught me how to treat other people, how to do everything with a sense of purpose, and how to act when facing a challenge.

As I said before, I’m not sure where I’m going in life, and I look at Penn State in a similar light. While lawsuits, sanctions, and fines are on the horizon, none of us can say for sure what will become of our school. We don’t know where Penn State is going, but collectively, it’s our job to make sure it gets there. Penn State molds us into who we are. As students, it’s our duty to return the favor…

When we stood at childhood’s gate,
Shapeless in the hands of fate,
Thou didst mold us, dear old State.

About the Author

Michael DeGothseir

Advertising/PR major, Blue Band drummer, peanut butter enthusiast.


More by Michael

10 Questions With Blue Band Drum Major Chris Siergiej

Meet Chris Siergiej, the newest Pennsylvania State University Marching Blue Band drum major. This past Saturday, Siergiej (pronounced SIR-gee) was chosen above nine other candidates to lead the Blue Band in 2013. Siergiej, who played saxophone in his first three years, is entering his fourth season with the Blue Band.

We caught up with Siergiej the day after his successful audition to find out how he prepared and what he’s excited for moving forward, among other things.

Report: Happy Valley Freshmen Are…Happy

13 People You’ll Work With in Group Projects


Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

This year’s sneaker is available to purchase online for $109.99.

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

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.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Fall Move-In Traffic & Construction Changes

When 40,000 students need to move back to State College over the course of four days or so, things are bound to get crazy.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend