Staff Picks: What Do Seniors Wish They Did At Penn State Before Graduating?

It’s currently the last week of classes for Penn State students, and seniors have slowly come to terms with the fact that their college careers will end with a whimper.

For those soon-to-be graduates, perhaps the biggest loss of the coronavirus pandemic was their eight remaining weeks to experience being a “normal college kid.” Sure, it’s entirely possible (and likely) that those seniors still would’ve had unchecked boxes on their bucket lists. But there are undoubtedly a few more unchecked boxes with those last eight weeks of college washed away.

With that in mind, here are our staff’s thoughts on things they wish they did more as college students.

Anthony Colucci: Take Better Advantage Of On-Campus Speakers

Looking back on college, one thing I wish I had done more of is go to the many different lectures and Q&A sessions that different organizations host throughout the year. From events headlined by some pretty notable figures and run by SPA and other clubs to TEDxPSU and State of State, which host mainly local speakers, there always seemed to be someone coming to campus every day and you didn’t even need to pay to see them talk. And I feel like I barely took advantage of these opportunities.

Off the top of my head (and quite randomly,) some I wish I had taken the time to see include Jill Biden, Josh Radnor, Ali Krieger, and Sandy Alderson. But in the moment, I always felt like I was too busy to take a couple of hours away from my work to go. I’m sure there were at least a few nights where I could’ve afforded to step away and probably pick up something interesting, if not just enjoy their presence.

Emma Dieter: Study Abroad

Especially given the state of the world nowadays, the idea of going abroad for a few months is very appealing. I’ve always loved traveling and experiencing the variety of life out there. There are so many interesting cultures that I’d love to immerse myself in, even if only for a fleeting amount of time. Alas, however, I never took the opportunity to participate in these experiences while in college. There were a couple of things that always stopped me — from money to time constraints to fear of missing out on things in State College. And while I don’t regret not spending a semester abroad, I wish I had taken part in an embedded program or summer study abroad. All of my friends who went on these trips enjoyed them immensely and left with memories I’m sure will last them a lifetime.

Anthony Fiset: Join The Curling Club

My biggest regret from my time at Penn State is not getting involved with the Curling Club. I have been on its listserv since the beginning of my junior year, but I never actually went to a meeting. I love the sport of curling, and now I’m going to have to watch the Olympics every four years and ponder what could have been.

Andy Mollenauer: Eat Healthier

I wish I had eaten healthier during my time at Penn State. The freshman 15 is no joke. It’s so easy to eat crap in the college setting, with pizza and alcohol everywhere, and it catches up with you fast. I don’t really have a lot of regrets about college, but I definitely wish I had eaten better. The dining halls offer many healthy options, and I suggest freshmen take advantage of those.

Matt Sniegowski: Appreciate Penn State More

As cheesy as it sounds, I wish I took more time to appreciate Penn State. The miserably cold days aside, we are one of the most spirited college atmospheres in the country. From the line at the Creamery after a football win to “Hail to the Lion” playing on the Old Main bells on weekends, Penn State’s campus is full of pride, and I never really appreciated going to a school where the vast majority of students are truly excited to represent their alma mater.

I’ve heard plenty of stories from high school friends about not enjoying their college or wishing they had gone to a school with more sports, but rarely do I hear that from my friends here at Penn State. Aside from the intangibles, University Park remains one of the prettiest campuses in the country. I started a time-lapse project during my freshman year, and some of my favorite nights were those when I was sitting by my camera as it clicked away for hours. I’d hang out in the tailgate lots taking pictures of the Milky Way over Beaver Stadium, sit on top of Eisenhower Deck and capture cars passing by the pink greenhouses on Curtin, or shoot lightning storms over Old Main from my apartment.

I always told myself to get out of the house and finish up that project, but after being home the past month and a half, I realize how much I took those peaceful nights and beautiful sights for granted.

Mikey Mandarino: Take Advantage Of The On-Campus Gyms

I really wish I took advantage of the access I had to Penn State’s on-campus gyms more during my time living in Happy Valley. Though I went through my phases of four-days-a-week workout programs, I really didn’t use the gyms as much as I should’ve — especially considering on-campus gym memberships are built-in with the student fee.

Beyond the ~gains~ I missed out on, I really didn’t take advantage of the chances I had to play sports for fun on campus. The fact that I have a basketball hoop in my backyard at home really made me think and realize that I could’ve played pick-up basketball more at Penn State. Plus, I missed out on the chance to play basketball alongside the genuine freaks of nature that are Penn State’s student-athletes — a chance that former Onward State editor Derek Bannister got when he was a student.

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