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Thanks For The Memories: Ethan Kasales’ Senior Column

While looking back on my college experience at Penn State, it’s easy to separate my first two years on campus from the last three and a half.

When I applied to Onward State in the fall of 2015, I had no idea how many incredible people I would meet and how many unforgettable experiences I would have the privilege of enjoying.

It’s not an option for everyone, but I’m glad it took me three extra semesters to graduate, simply because I learned so many valuable things in that time that I wouldn’t have if I had rushed through school.

Three bowl games, two men’s hockey NCAA tournaments, two women’s lacrosse Final Fours, and countless other road trips later, I’m so grateful for everyone who helped me along the way. I gained lifelong friends at Onward State and am especially thankful I was on staff for the blog’s 10th anniversary this past semester. I’m excited to see what the next 10 years have in store for this wonderful site and all of the people who help it run smoothly (most of the time).

Taking yoga over the summer in the White Building and picking up sociology as a late minor were easily two of the best scheduling decisions I made in college. Soc 119 with Sam Richards is a must if you still haven’t taken it.

Breaking both the bones in my right arm in a nasty bike accident near the Allen Street Gates in 2017 turned out to be quite a blessing in disguise, because it showed me the importance of yoga and self care (like drinking lots of water) in my daily life. And I have a pretty cool scar from my surgery to show for it.

As a townie who grew up going to games at Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center, it was an absolute pleasure covering Penn State athletics and having the chance to tell a few neat stories from some of the nation’s best teams. Many of my favorite memories from college — like the 2016 Big Ten Championship and the Rose and Fiesta Bowls — were made possible through Onward State.

Thanks so much to Russ Rose, Erica Dambach, Guy Gadowsky, James Franklin, and Missy Doherty for being so kind and accommodating at weekly media availabilities the last few years. I also want to recognize Will Rottler and Jocelyn VerVelde from the sports information department for their helpfulness and unwavering support of student journalism.

I enjoyed writing features on student-athletes far more than anything else, because the human angle was always more interesting to me than a random column or recap. I’m appreciative of the Curley Center’s John Affleck for teaching me that it’s never a good idea to start an article with a quote, but to try and finish with one if possible.

Lastly, I’d like to single out Onward State alums Kevin Horne, David Abruzzese, and Alex Bauer for being such good friends and mentors to me. My time at Penn State wouldn’t be the same without you three.

As a third-generation Penn State graduate, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have earned my degree at such a prestigious and welcoming place. There’s truly nothing like the Penn State community, and its global reach was evident wherever I traveled during my time on staff at Onward State.

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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