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Looking Back At The ‘Good Old Days’: Amanda Thieu’s Senior Column

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the ‘good old days’ before you’ve actually left them.” -Andy Bernard. 

I will never forget the memories and friends I have made at Penn State. Starting my college career off during the summer session of 2016 in Beaver Hall gave me a little preview of what I had in store for the next four years. Going from two classes a day to graduating during a pandemic, there’s no doubt that the class of 2020 had the most unique four years that Penn State had to offer. 

We played manhunt with clowns, got pepper-sprayed by cops on Beaver Ave. during riots, rushed the field after beating Ohio State, and partied with the JoBros (plus Sansa Stark). With everything that’s happened, it makes saying goodbye that much harder. 

The remainder of our senior year has been taken from us. We never got our last two months to have that one last drink, that one last conversation, and that one last laugh with the people we consider family. It makes our last memory much more impactful. We were living carelessly not knowing that’d be the end. 

In all honesty, I was scared of leaving and moving on after graduation. I wanted to delay the inevitable as much as possible until life did that for me. It pushed me to be grateful for the things I have done and the memories I’ve made. These unprecedented times unlocked a true nostalgic feeling of my last years at Penn State. 

It was the last time we are able to be irresponsible college students. Being able to go to classes in the morning then heading to our friends’ house right after to make boxed pasta for dinner. Taking those 3 a.m walks to the Arboretum because you can. Randomly breaking into a five-part harmony of “Breaking Free.” Tailgating football games and cheering on our favorite players. 

In an alternate universe, I would be spending time with my friends on an air mattress in the middle of the floor watching all of the versions of Alice in Wonderland.

Penn State has taught me valuable lessons inside and outside of class. I have made plenty of mistakes and kept making them until I learned what I wanted for myself and my future. These life lessons shaped me to become the person I am today and has influenced who I surround myself with. The best advice to give any student in college is to be open with opportunities and people. You never know what and who will surprise you. 

As a photojournalism major, I thrived at being a photographer at Penn State with all the special events. From photographing, sports games like football, basketball, and hockey, to photographing singer/rapper B.o.B., Ty Dolla $igns, and Gryffin.

Thank you Penn State for allowing me to see my favorite artists perform like Kanye West, J. Cole, Travis Scott, and All Time Low. Bringing laugher with Adam DeVine, Kevin Hart, and Pete Davidson. Feeling inspired by hearing some of the Central Park Five members speak. While also raising money for children with pediatric cancer. You’ve taught me to celebrate life. 

To my My Hero Zero family and Soc119 Stream Team family, thank you for trusting me in your space. Thank you for giving my art a platform to shine. Through you, I will forever appreciative the feeling of being a part of a larger organization. I’ve sharpened my skills as a storyteller through these experiences like photographing the Jonas Brothers opening for MHZ and shedding my comfort zone in a room of 700+ people. You’ve prepared me for what’s next to come and I cannot wait to see you develop. 

I want to take the time to thank Onward State for providing me unimaginable opportunities as a person and as a photographer. From photographing basketball games, famous musicians, interesting speakers, to meeting the most dedicated and passionate staff members I have ever worked with. Keep being the best blog ever and I can’t thank you guys enough for allowing me to be a part of the team. 

That said, to all the loved ones I have met throughout my four years of college from summer session ’16, Nittany Apartments, class, different clubs, and Gill Street, thank you for being you. Thank you for supporting me and giving me the best years of my life. You allowed me to express myself freely and without judgment. You have taught me what real love, friendship, and acceptance means.

Before meeting the people I surround myself with, I felt lost and isolated. Now I cannot imagine my life without them being within 15 minutes from me. I will cherish every moment that I’ve had with each and every one of you. The laughs, the cries, the binge-watching of shows, making charcuterie boards, and complaining about school work. I cannot thank you guys enough for everything you have done. I’ve never met a more loving group of people than I have at my years at Penn State. 

To my best friend, thank you for being my rock. I would not be where I am without you. You are my go-to and you have helped me with every success that I have had. With your unconditional love and support, I am able to do anything. So thank you.

To my family, thank you for your constant support and for holding down the fort. Whether I needed advice or to hear that familiar voice, I know that you’ll always be there to love me and help me succeed. I cannot wait to make you proud.

I am able to look back at my college years and regret absolutely nothing. My friendships will last a lifetime and the memories will be held closely.

Maybe this isn’t goodbye after all. 

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