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Freshmen 101: Your First Home Football Weekend

The first weekend of home football is finally here. For many, it ends a long period of craving to be at Beaver Stadium, screaming at the top of your lungs. For freshmen, it represents their first true Beaver Stadium experience.

So listen up, freshmen: it’s not something to take lightly. Enjoying a game in the best student section in the country is an honor, and you’ll never forget your first time. No matter how the team is doing, you can always expect 107,000 of your best friends to liven things up. It’s your duty to be a proud, prepared member of #107kstrong, so follow these tips to ensure your first football weekend is a great memory for years to come.

Find A Tailgate

Whether your family is making a trip up for the game or you’re in an organization that is hosting a tailgate, make sure you go somehwere. Tailgating is a Penn State tradition and there’s really nothing like throwing around a football with friends and family before a game with anticipation rising as kickoff gets closer. If there’s an environment that rivals that of the atmosphere inside Beaver Stadium, it’s the one surrounding it before and after a game. Plus, there’s usually free beer.

…But Don’t Overdo It

It’s one thing to be a little buzzed when you get into the stadium (actually it can make things even more fun), but don’t be the kid that passes out in the concourse because you chugged a fifth and shotgunned six beers at your tailgate (or in your room). Additionally, you’re in the stadium for quite a while, and nothing’s worse than having to leave to pee every five minutes because you broke the seal or developing a hangover in the third quarter.

Get Into The Game Somewhat Early

There’s no need to get to your seat an hour before the game. However, don’t expect to see kickoff if you leave the tailgate five minutes before the coin flip. The line to get in can, at times, be atrocious, mostly because of the students who leave their tailgate five minutes before kickoff. Being in line at least half an hour before the scheduled start of the game will almost always guarantee you see not only the game, but also the pre-game activities.

Know How To Get Into The Student Section

Don’t be that freshman. You’ll need to get familiar with the new mobile ticketing procedure before you head to Gate A. If you want to sit in the S-Zone, get to the game early and enter through the special S-Zone terminal.

Don’t Leave Early

I don’t care if Penn State is winning by 70 — do not leave the game early. One of the most incredible experiences of the game comes at the end: the singing of the Alma Mater. No exceptions: you will stay until the end of the game, and you will sing the Alma Mater.

Know The Cheers

Along with the Alma Mater, you should learn some of the chants and fight songs that we sing at games. The best way to do this is through practice. That means when the singing or chanting, join in! You won’t be the only one who’s unsure of the words, and what better way is there to learn? Don’t worry — you’ll catch on quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be singing and jumping around to Zombie Nation and Sweet Caroline.

If You Want Pizza Or Ice Cream After The Game, Run

What better way is there to end an incredible day in Beaver Stadium than a slice from the Big Onion or a cone from the Creamery? The only problem is that 100,000 other people will be thinking the same thing. The lines at both will pretty much extend to the gates at Beaver Stadium. The point is, if you plan to hit up one of these joints after the final whistle blows and the Alma Mater is sung (remember the rule about staying for the whole game), you better run…or be patient enough to stand in line for a while.

Never Forget The Feeling

Make a point to remember the experiences you will have Saturday that you will never be able to experience for the first time ever again: your first look at the field; getting tossed up and down after a touchdown; singing your heart out; losing your voice for the rest of the week. Never forget wrapping your arms around the stranger next to you and singing the Alma Mater. Never forget that Michigan still sucks. Every memory that you make at these games sticks with you forever. They’re special. Take a look around on Saturday, and take the time to take it all in. Above all, have the time of your life this weekend.

You’ll find that many of these weekends will long be remembered as some of the best of your life. Have fun, but also never forget our Alma Mater: “May no act of ours bring shame,” and that We Are Penn State.

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About the Author

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman is a writer for Onward State. His hometown is North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, a little under an hour from Pittsburgh. He is a sophomore majoring in Natural Resource Engineering in Biological Engineering. Please e-mail questions and comments to Also, follow him on Twitter @cole_man2.

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