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Put Your Friends Before Yourself: Shannon Fox’s Senior Column

Wow! It’s time for me to write one of these things. As I sit here and stare at the blank WordPress document in front of me, my very A.D.D. mind is running amok trying to organize the emotions I have about graduating next week.

I think it’s fair to start with a special shout out to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Unfortunately, unlike the headline states, they are not my friends. However, I do strongly believe we could be somewhat of a trifecta together, since I have grown to love — and even mimic — their work over the past few years.

As a meek 16-year-old, I didn’t have much confidence when it came to my future career path. After being laughed at several times when telling people I had dreams of becoming a lawyer or maybe even a politician, my very high ambitions as a young girl ceased to exist. I was in this weird limbo stage of wanting to go to college but unsure of the paths I wanted to take, or if I could even succeed. With bleach blonde hair and a small 5-foot frame, I had trouble with people seeing me as the smart person I knew I was.

As a high schooler, I would stay up late with my sister (Hi, Kae!) and be glued to Comedy Central for The Daily Show followed by The Colbert Report. Stewart and Colbert helped me develop my love for news, thus leading me to pick journalism as a major. My goal was to one day work for one of them, but funny how they both left their respective positions the year I graduate. (Seriously guys!?) But most importantly, they showed me that being smart and knowledgeable is a really cool thing, but it’s also crucial to have fun and not take yourself too seriously. This became my mantra during my time at Penn State.

My dad dedicated his career to helping other people; it was always something I admired and wanted to do myself. My writing has done that for me. I have been able to put others in the spotlight and make them feel good about themselves and about their accomplishments. I’ve also been able to write about social equality and the arts, things I am truly passionate about. Onward State has been the icing on the cake for helping me achieve some of those goals.

Changing gears a little bit, here is the part I’ve been waiting to write all semester! Sure my college experience has been unique, but so has everyone’s. I’m not going to rattle off things like “Do this,” “Don’t drink Vlad,” “Go out!” — none of that basic Penn State bullshit. I’d rather make this a testimony to the people who have helped me reach my success these past four years.

If there’s one thing I want people to know before I leave this campus, it’s how important my friends are in my life. The film It’s A Wonderful Life has always been a favorite in my family. Not only do I watch it every Christmas, but also several times throughout the year. In the film, this quote always resonated with me:

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”

Not to be boastful, but I have a lot of friends, and it is certainly not something I take for granted. I wrote several things over the past few weeks trying to explain what they really meant to me and the impact each one of them had on my life. There were simply too many to thank, and nothing I wrote seemed to fit right. The best way I could ~*evoke emotion*~ was by compiling a list of songs that we have shared during this past four years. Thus, the “Graduation Feels” playlist was born.

I started the playlist off with my favorite songs of all time…songs I want them to always remember me by. From there, every other song represents some pivotal moment or montage of moments I’ve shared with other people during my time here.

Everything from shouting Passion Pit at 3 a.m. with Kaite and Paige, to pregaming to “Bound 2” by Kanye. A song for all the times Anthony Magz would annoyingly sing the Lumineers to me and how it was possible to love every moment of it, but want to smack him at the same time.

I included the endless memories of Kater rapping Nicki Minaj and freaking out over cute guys when “R U Mine?” came on in the car, and the lyrics of “Good Times, Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin will always bring me back to Thursdays at the Phyrst watching Maxwell Strait and how I would freak out when I heard the first beat of the song followed by front woman Molly’s angelic voice (even though they played it every week.) Most importantly, some Brand New for the first time I got drunk with the Onward State squad and was asked to join staff!

So thank you to the people who helped me do this college thing! I will love you ’til my heart stops!

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About the Author

Shannon Fox

Shannon is a senior at Penn State majoring in Journalism and English. New York City born and Bucks County raised she often complains about State College's lack of good Italian restaurants. She is a lover of all things music and an avid football fan (just not the American kind) Toss her a follow on twitter @ShannonAudFox or Email her at [email protected]

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