So Long, And Goodnight: David Abruzzese’s Senior Column
Well, the day has finally come, I suppose. It’s a day I knew was coming, but hadn’t really accepted yet. This will be my final post on Onwardstate.com as a staff member, and I have so many people to thank for helping me get to this point.
As I look back on my college journey retrospectively, it all seems like this was just meant to happen. First and foremost, I need to thank Ryan Beckler for being my tour guide on that fateful February afternoon. Covered in snow, we walked in a large group around campus, with Ryan’s tour counterpart handling the bulk of the tour, as Ryan stayed back to talk with me about this incredible website called Onward State. I had just been accepted, and was still deciding on where I wanted to go to school. I’ll never forget that afternoon, because it was the day I knew Penn State would become my home. Thank you Ryan for your friendship and your mentorship. You’ve significantly changed my life for the better.
Shortly after attending summer session, I began to find my niche. I’d been accepted onto the staff without even applying, but once the fall hit, things changed. I didn’t take things as seriously as I should’ve, and I got a rightful kick in the ass from my managing editor, Kevin Horne. He called a meeting with me in Irving’s that I’ll never forget. He never told me outright that day that I was actually summoned to be fired, but somehow I knew. After that moment, I changed. Everything changed. Maybe because I knew I should’ve been fired. Either way, I know things would’ve been different without that meeting, and to Kevin, thank you for being the resource and the friend that you are.
That kick in the ass helped me become the writer, staff member, and person I’ve become today. It offered me perspective that I simply didn’t possess at the time, and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I don’t think I can emphasize how much all of this has meant to me. I remember going to Buffalo Bills games as a young kid and looking up in the press box, just wishing I could get the opportunity to cover a game and be behind the scenes. Onward State helped make that dream come true, and I’ll never forget the rush I felt up there. I’m truly thankful, because I can assure you my college career would’ve been starkly different had any other course of action taken place on that February afternoon.
Words are hard, for lack of a better phrase here. I got to experience things with Onward State that never could’ve happened if I’d done anything different. I wouldn’t have made the lifelong friends I made. I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the thrills that I did. I wouldn’t have met my girlfriend, Kristen, and I certainly wouldn’t be who I am without it. I’m appreciative of every single comment I’ve ever received. I can’t stress how important it was to just know that people read, and hopefully liked what they read.
To those reading who are seeking such opportunities, just understand that they exist. You just need to want it more than the other person. It sounds cliche, but if you hustle — in anything that you do — you will find success. If you hustle, you’ll achieve things you never previously thought possible.
I’d like to take this moment now to say some much needed thank yous: Thank you to Alex Robinson, Tim Gilbert, Bill DiFilippo, Grant Brown, Mara Kern, Zach Berger, Alex Bauer, Trevor Hayes, Sean Gregory, Ben Berkman, Mike Reisman, Greg Schlosser, Noel Purcell, founders Davis Shaver, Evan Kalikow, Eli Glazier, and every sweet boy and girl who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing this beautiful website with. Thank you to everybody who’s ever had anything to do with Onward State, because you mean something to me. If I didn’t name you, know that you are loved and appreciated.
I’m happy to say that I’m beginning my career in Happy Valley with Penn State social media, meaning I’ll be around town and near every live television camera — much like you see above. I could go on and on about this site and the people who make it run. I don’t have the words to adequately express my gratitude, so this’ll have to do.
For every memory I got to make, thank you for sharing it with me. Every article was a pleasure, every social post a joy. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it — never forget that.
To any future Onward Staters reading this, understand how special this site really is. It can change your life completely — just like it did for me.
Goodnight from the Shoe. Penn State forever.
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About the Author
Barkley discussed a number of topics — including his cameo at this year’s Met Gala and progress towards earning his Penn State degree — following his youth football camp in Happy Valley.
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