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Penn State Love Stories: The Last-Minute Choice That Changed Everything

Finding the love of your life at a school as huge as Penn State is arguably fate by itself. But for Christina and John Outrakis, their story has an interesting twist — neither of them even wanted to go to Penn State in the first place.

During John’s senior year of high school, he didn’t embark on the typical college hunt because he only had one school in mind. He was set on going to Pitt, just like his older sister had before him. It wasn’t until his father finally convinced him to take a tour of Penn State that he realized how wrong he’d been the whole time.

Meanwhile, Christina was already committed to a small local college. Though she also had an acceptance from Penn State in hand, the full scholarship she received from the other university made the choice seemingly easy. But toward the end of her senior year, she began to question her decision.

“At the last minute I told my mom I wasn’t completely sure if it was the best choice, and we decided to send the deposit into Penn State just so I could have options and some more time to think about it,” Christina said.

In a sudden turn of events, both students switched gears and officially committed to Penn State. Neither of them had any idea this last-minute decision would change their love lives, too.

Christina and John each spent their first year on campus hanging out with a wide variety of new friends. Once the end of spring finals week rolled around, Christina decided to go out to a party and celebrate with a few girls she planned on living with the next school year. At one point during the party, the girls decided to introduce her to one of their guy friends — enter John.

“I didn’t remember meeting him, but he remembered me,” Christina said. “I was a few drinks ahead of him in celebrating the end of finals.”

The meeting was short-lived, but during their sophomore year, Christina actually started to see John more frequently. During their group hangouts with mutual friends, she realized she’d started to develop a crush.

“We spent a lot of time together as a group, and I always told [my friends] how cute I thought he was. I always made sure I looked extra nice if I knew he was going to be there,” Christina said. “He never really paid too much attention to me because he thought of me as that drunk girl he met freshman year.”

But on Halloween night, the dynamic between Christina and John changed when Christina’s roommates told John about her crush. The news was a surprise to John, but he decided to abandon plans with his friends that night so he could hang out with Christina’s group. Soon after, the two students realized they’d been missing out on something great and became an official couple.

(Photo: Christina Outrakis)

The two spent the rest of their time at Penn State together and simply enjoyed each other’s company. After graduation, however, their relationship turned long-distance.

“We got jobs in different states following graduation,” Christina said. “It was a tough few months, but then I moved to Wisconsin to be with him.”

From then on, the couple’s relationship grew even stronger. They got married at Penn State in 2013 and still live in Wisconsin with their children. John and Christina will celebrate their ten-year anniversary together — this Halloween, of course — and are forever grateful they followed their guts and chose Penn State.

“In the end, it was the best decision we ever made,” Christina said. “Luckily fate was on our side.”

Photo: Christina Outrakis

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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