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Waiting Gets You Nowhere: Ryan Haines’ Senior Column

I’m not here to write a column about saying thank you to the people who mean the most to me. It isn’t my style — the people who mean the most to me already know they’re important. What I DO want to do with this column that you’re subjecting yourself to reading is to write a column I would have found meaningful as a younger student.

The important idea is that waiting will get you nowhere. Honestly, you can stop reading here if that already makes sense to you. Either way, waiting will get you nowhere. I wish I really understood this as a freshman instead of waiting to figure it out. I didn’t wait to get involved with THON, but I did wait to figure out how to make THON most meaningful to myself.

I joined a great org freshman year and made many friends that really helped me find my way, but I spent too long ignoring the fact that I didn’t feel like anything I did was contributing to THON. This year, I figured it out. I switched the org life for the committee life (shoutout OPP) and I wish I had done it earlier. There were 30 of us instead of 200, and I really felt like a part of the “Big Blue Family.” If I had just stuck with an org, who knows if I would have had as fulfilling of a senior year?

I spent ENTIRELY too long waiting to join staff on this blog. I know you’re sick of reading columns about how much people love this blog, but it’s true. I spent most of my student career as a “Friend of the Blog” but it took ’til this semester for me to bite the bullet and apply to join staff despite the constant encouragement from some of my best friends.

I wouldn’t trade being on staff for anything except for maybe being on staff even longer. I had the opportunity to experience so much that I wouldn’t have if I had just stayed a “FotB.” I went to Pittsburgh for the NCAA championships, I got to write about the local State Parks (which I love), I’ve gotten angry emails for writing April Fools jokes, and it’s been a ride the entire way. I could have stayed in a comfort zone and just slogged my way through senior year, but I would have regretted it.

It’s funny that the one area I never seemed to hesitate with was sporting events. You’re at Penn State, for Pete’s sake — experience everything you can. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to experience beating Ohio State (on my birthday), winning a Big Ten football title, winning an NIT championship, and attending the wrestling national championships as I mentioned before. Sure, you can watch all of these events from your dorm room or from the bar, but it isn’t the same. Not to sound like a broken record or Shia LaBeouf, but…

You’re gonna realize that you regret it if you don’t. I don’t know what else to tell you. I know I regret not taking advantage of some opportunities during my time here, but at the same time, it was four of the most incredible years of my (admittedly short) life.

I almost didn’t even come to Penn State, which you’ve probably read that in a ton of senior columns. But you’ve probably also read a bunch of seniors saying they can’t imagine their lives otherwise. You’ve also probably read a bunch of seniors talking about how they’ve felt fulfilled during their time here, and all I really want you to take away from my column is to make sure that you can look back on your time here and really feel like it made you better.

My column isn’t about me trying to glorify me, it’s about telling you to make sure you have the best experience you can. Just say yes to everything you can. The world doesn’t happen in your room.

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About the Author

Ryan Haines

Ryan is a senior majoring in Economics with a minor in German. Hailing from Lancaster, PA you might be surprised to hear that he is not Amish. Reach out with questions and comments at [email protected] or on Twitter @HyanRaines.

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