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10 Signs You’ve Been Involved With THON Forever

THON is such an integral part of Penn State’s culture. Some people spend all four or five (or six or seven, if you’re Boombox Guy) years of their college career dedicated to the cause. But even the most dedicated THONers get overwhelmed by #FTK hashtags, line dance lyrics, and committee socials from time to time.

So what are the signs that will help you figure out if you’ve been involved with THON too long? Just kidding, there’s no such thing as “too long” when it comes to THON — but we made a list of the top 10 symptoms that show up if you’ve been more involved with THON (or more dedicated to it!) than the average Penn Stater.

1) Your wardrobe is primarily made up of THON merchandise.

Short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, tank-tops, pinneys, sweatpants, booty shorts, and — the item everyone seems to strive for — quarter zips. You could easily wear nothing but THON clothes for a whole week, and you STILL wouldn’t run out of clothes to wear. Between your committee shirts, org shirts, and Kids Mail Call shirts from the past few years, you could probably make enough t-shirt quilts to keep all of State College warm.


2) Your THON merch even leaks into your kitchen.

You just HAD to buy the THON mugs for every year that you have been involved, right? And don’t even get me started on the water bottles! You are so FTK that even when you hydrate, you’re Brightening Every Journey.


3) You think fanny packs are cool… 

…and the more obnoxious, the better. Your ideal fanny pack includes some combination of sequins, glitter, and animal print. But you don’t draw the line at one! A long-time THONer has multiple fanny packs in his or her closet. You have also considered wearing a fanny pack around in real life — I mean, having everything you need sitting right on your hip is pretty handy. And to think, some people thought fanny packs had gone out of style.


4) You aren’t ashamed to rock a tutu.

Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, you probably have at least one tutu — although let’s be real, you probably have a few. This is mostly true of Moralers and other THONers who spend their weekends on the floor, but I’ve seen plenty of dedicated Penn State students rockin’ tutus in the stands FTK. And if you’ve ever danced in THON, chances are that you got one from your mom, your best friend, your roommate, your Moraler, and so on. Honestly, you probably have enough tutus to make a fort of tulle in your apartment.


5) You know the words to multiple Line Dances.

And just about anything can trigger a Line Dance. For example: “Stop requested!” “Cata speaks, next stop, BJC! 150 For the Glory — Wall Street Journal, front-page story...” And heaven forbid you should hear Superbass at a party and chime straight into “Adele, center stage. Hunger games, turn the page. Is that a feather in your hair? Honey Badger, he don’t care…” Okay, I’ll stop now, but you get the point. Bonus points if you know Line Dances from years before you were even a registered Penn State student.

Photo: Stefan Choquette
Photo: Stefan Choquette

6) You know creepy things about the Overall Committee Executive Committee…

…and seeing them in public is like spotting a unicorn. You try to tell some of your non-THON friends about your sighting, and they look at you like you have three heads… but you tell your committee, and they gasp with jealousy. So what if you know Ryan Patrick’s birthday, major, and hometown? It’s only weird if you make it weird.


7) You will never look at a tennis ball the same way again

Before THON came into your life, a tennis ball was just a regular ball that you maybe used to play fetch with your dog. Now you know that tennis balls give better foot massages than actual people. Well, okay, maybe not that far — but they ARE like angels singing to you after standing on your feet for hours on end.


8) Standing for a few hours consecutively feels like nothing.

Your non-THON friends start complaining that their legs, feet, and back hurt after the first quarter of a football game, and you laugh at their weakness. Three hours standing and cheering at Beaver Stadium is nothing compared to 46 sleepless hours of standing in the BJC.


9) Seeing a THON child makes your day.

Whether they are just sitting there or squirting you in the eye with a water gun, nothing can make you happier than seeing Four Diamonds families smile. These kids have been the inspiration for THON since it began, and if donating your hair, getting pummeled by them, or playing ridiculous games with them will make them happy, you are more than excited to oblige.

THON child (Caden)

10) Seeing the total never gets old.

Whether it went up or down that year, seeing those number cards raised one at a time will never fail to give you the ultimate adrenaline rush. You know that every dollar and every ugly cry is FTK.


About the Author

Mara Kern

Mara is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in business. She is from Cranberry Twp., PA and enjoys blogging, cats, tweeting, and not wanting to graduate.


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