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The 5 Stages of Leaving State College For The Summer

It’s hard to readjust to living life in your hometown after spending eight months in a place called “Happy Valley.” Nowhere else has quite the same atmosphere and “magic” of our campus, but unless you have a cool internship or are studying abroad, home is the most likely destination for students this summer.

Although most hometowns have their unique charm, leaving State College and returning home is an emotional roller coaster, especially for a freshman doing it for the first time. However, you can take solace in the fact that there are thousands of other Penn Staters just like you going through the same five basic stages of readjusting to life outside of State College:

Stage 1: Depression — You suddenly miss every single part of Penn State, even the things you hated at the time. Now the loud and crowded rides on the White Loop don’t seem so bad, and you find that the ever-changing weather was actually charming, and you’re missing the fact that your phone would always connect its WiFi to psuwirelesssetup rather the PSU, or worse yet, AT&T. Each day you find yourself thinking about what you would be doing at that time on a normal day at Penn State, which only adds to the sadness of being away from State College.

Stage 2: Appreciation for your home — As wonderful as Penn State is, there are some perks to living at home that are immediately evident such as home-cooked meals, conveniently located washing machines, Coke products, and sleeping in a bed in which you know exactly how many other people have vomited. In a short amount of time it will be hard to imagine how you were able to slum it without these comforts for a year.

Stage 3: Annoyance — After a year of independence, it can be irritating to live under the house rules of a parent. You’ll find that making your bed is still as pointless now as it was before college and that yard work is still the bane of your existence.

Stage 4: Obsession — If you can’t physically be in State College, the next closest thing is thinking about it constantly. Everything will remind you of something back in State College, and each establishment you visit will be compared to the State College equivalent (I’m still looking for a better place to get a bagel than Irving’s). And boy, are your high school friends getting annoyed with how many sentences you start with, “Well, at Penn State…”

Stage 5: Hope — Four months missing the best parts of Penn State including all of your friends is just too long. Thankfully, the summer is full of fun excuses to come back to State College and reconnect with your friends until you can spend another eight months together again in the fall.

However, as much as you may be missing State College now, take your time to enjoy summer: relax, reconnect with old friends, and evaluate whether or not you need to drink less next year, because before you know it you’ll be back in school and the process will start over again.

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