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Freshman 101: How To Enjoy Spring In Happy Valley

We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but State College’s notoriously miserable winter just might finally be coming to a close.

Warmer temperatures and sunny skies are starting to find their way into the forecasts, and students have taken the opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous weather. We’ve come up with a list of things you can do to make the most of the last few weeks of the spring semester and the beautiful weather that comes with it.

Hang Out On The Old Main And HUB Lawns

If you’ve ever wandered around campus on a warm day, you’ve probably noticed throngs of students enjoying the warm weather by simply being out and about on campus. The lawns in front of the HUB and Old Main are two of the most popular gathering spots on warm days.

Whether you want to sit around in the grass and study languidly or play a game of catch with a football, these lawns are perfect for lounging or play. The quintessential stereotype of college life, throwing around a frisbee while surrounded by classroom buildings, is definitely alive and well in Happy Valley.

Some students even take it up a notch by bringing volleyball nets. Others just lay down on blankets to soak up the sun and unwind between or after classes.

As far as the HUB is concerned, there’s plenty of outside seating and tables if you want to get some work done or eat while also enjoying the weather. Part of the HUB lawn is situated on a slope, but there’s plenty of room for fun and games beyond the small incline.

Hiking/Nature

If you’re trying to get in touch with the slowly awakening natural world, there are plenty of places to go hiking in and around the State College area.

Mount Nittany overlooks Penn State’s campus and downtown State College, and it features plenty of hiking trails to enjoy. Climbing Mount Nittany is both a bucket list goal for many Penn State students and a main goal of Pat Chambers’ basketball program — although the latter might take its #climb a bit more figuratively.

On top of that, there are several state parks within driving distance of Penn State’s campus. The Whipple Dam and Black Moshannon state parks are both within a 30-minute drive of campus.

The Arboretum may not necessarily fall into the “state parks” category, but the plants and displays there will blossom as the season progresses. If you decide to visit, be sure to take some extra allergy medication.

Penn State Golf Courses

Players of all handicaps and skill levels have been gathering at the Penn State Golf Courses on West College Avenue as the weather’s warmed, and there’s a lot to do in and around the clubhouse.

You can walk nine holes on either the blue or white course for less than $30 per player, and you can rent a golf cart for the day for $18 or $10, depending on how many holes you play.

Additionally, you can work on your ball-striking in one of the driving range’s 32 stalls if you don’t have the patience (read: skill) to play on either course. A small bucket of range balls costs just $5, or you can pay $8 for a large one.

If you need to work on your short game, you can use the course’s 7,600-square foot chipping green or the long putting green behind the driving range stalls. Cranking a driver 300 yards is fun and all, but it’s all for nothing if you can’t get close to the green or sink your putts.

Blue-White Weekend

Springtime in Happy Valley culminates in the best weekend of the second semester. Penn State football’s final practice before training camp is an open scrimmage at Beaver Stadium, and it’s the closest thing to a home football weekend you’ll get during the spring semester.

Penn State’s team is split into two squads for a four-quarter scrimmage, and football aficionados can get their first glimpse of the future during this game. If you aren’t into the Xs and Os, however, there’s still plenty to do, including a fan fest outside the stadium.

Tailgating also returns to Happy Valley with a vengeance. With a tailgating scene comparable to regular season games, Blue-White can satisfying your cravings for those Saturday mornings of debauchery in a grass field.

Daylonging

Some call it a “darty,” others prefer “dage,” but we all know “daylong” is the only correct term to use in Happy Valley. We also know warm weather is among the best excuses to crack open a cold one with your friends.

This might not be feasible on campus, but if you have friends who live in houses downtown, you may just be able to find yourself celebrating the occasion — or any ray of sunlight — in the best possible way: drinking. Others may take warm weather and sunshine for granted, but this is State College, dammit. We just endured months of cold, snowy hell, and it’s time to celebrate the end of that.

When you see the White Loop and sidewalks of downtown State College flooded with current and throwback jerseys, you’ll know daylong season is truly underway.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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