Seniors Reflect On Their Last White Out As Students

Man, what a weekend.

For a long while, this past weekend seemed like something that was so far away from ever happening. But after either a miracle or an extreme amount of luck, the 2021 White Out took off without any notable issues — something worth celebrating following such an unusual year and a half.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know just how significant White Outs are. In a time of reflection, some of our seniors on staff took time to look back at their last White Out as Penn State students.

Will Pegler

My last White Out at Beaver Stadium as a student was perfect. After covering last year’s Ohio State game in an essentially empty stadium, it was so refreshing to be part of the team entrance and the rest of the build-up to the game. As for the action itself, it was once again proven that there is truly no better atmosphere in college football. The crowd was rocking the whole time, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a bit emotional during different moments — especially the singing of the Penn State Alma Mater.

Sure, this was my last White Out as a student. But I’ll make sure to be back at as many as I can for the rest of my life. It is the best — that’s all there is to say.

Hope Damato

Wow, that really happened. My last White Out game as a student. As I shoved my way through Gate A and up the stairs to Section SG, I was obviously very frustrated with how many bodies were pushing me. That annoyance went away when we all started to stand and the music blasted through the speakers.

I turned to my friends and said, “I’m definitely going to cry tonight.” I watched the introduction video, screamed as the team came through the tunnel, and sang the first alma mater without messing up the lyrics. It really hit me that this was my last White Out when Penn State scored its first touchdown and I got popcorned (thanks, guys in the row in front of me!).

Although this probably goes for everyone in that stadium, I’ve been a Penn State fan since birth. My favorite childhood memories are coming up for games with my family in an RV, Creamery runs on the Friday before games, and taking pictures at the Lion Shrine.

Being in that stadium after a year off was the moment I’ve been waiting for. Although there are still five more home games to go, not much else will compare to the chills I got after finally standing up and seeing the sea of white around me. I’ll be back for another White Out in my lifetime, but Saturday’s game was something I’ll remember forever.

Mackenzie Cullen

To be honest, I don’t think it’s really hit me that this was my last White Out as a Penn State student. Something I’ve been trying to do as a senior is really just live in the moment and take everything in as best as I can. As much as I love the sensory overload of the White Out, I still don’t think I fully took everything in, which makes me a little sad. Still, I’m still really happy that I got to experience one last White Out as a student before I’m an al*m — unless we have another one later in the season. Sup, Michigan? 

Caitlin Burns

My final White Out game as a student was definitely one for the books. Sure, the refs sucked and there were problems in the stadium, but you just can’t beat an atmosphere like that. Singing with thousands of other students after a win was a feeling like no other and gave me chills. I’m definitely going to miss those moments, and I feel so lucky that I got to be part of something so amazing.

Charles Reinert

If there’s one thing I can say I learned from this weekend, it’s taking advantage of what’s given to you.

I am a 2+2 student, and last year’s White Out obviously did not happen. So, I knew I had one shot at this, and I had no intention of letting this moment pass me by. From running on four hours of sleep to getting to College GameDay to standing from 5 a.m to midnight to not being able to speak the next day, I can honestly say I did not have any regrets from this past weekend, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Was I tired on Sunday? Absolutely. But sometimes, you just have to grab life by the horns and worry about the consequences later. This was a day I have been waiting for since I was three years old, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Ryen Gailey

For the first time in forever, this town felt truly alive again this weekend. For me, Penn State White Outs have always been about one thing: family. As a baby, I napped on my mom’s lap on the concourse during the games. As a kid, I ran around the tailgate fields and sat in awe of the cheerleaders with their sparkly uniforms. As a teenager, I watched the 2016 White Out from home with my grandmother and lived vicariously through what my big sister, Caitlin, was experiencing as a student at the time.

And now, as a senior who just experienced my last White Out as a student, truly nothing has changed. The best part is seeing the White Out bring my family and friends together. It’s the excitement and joy on my dad’s face, it’s the big hug my mom gives me when I get to our tailgate, and it’s getting to spend time with my best friend in the world, my sister, and all of her amazing friends. It’s the White Out hazmat suits my dad buys every year that makes me smile and laugh so much that my face hurts. It’s the memories that will last a lifetime.

This certainly isn’t going to be my last White Out, and I know I will be up here in the future for many years to come. It’s time to put the White Out suits away for now, but never for good.

Michael Tauriello

I had a different angle for this year’s White Out game than in my freshman and sophomore years. This year, I was shooting photos during the game for the blog. To say it turned into one of the best days of my college life would be an understatement.

I often just found myself stopping in the midst of all the madness and the work and just taking a deep breath and looking around. There’s a lot to take in at a normal Penn State football game, but there’s so much more to the White Out game at Penn State. There’s a certain electricity to the environment that I’ll never really get to witness as a photographer or as a student ever again.

I enjoyed being able to capture the moments that made the game special. But even just being able to stand there, look around, and just be in the moment while I’m still a student here is something I’ll cherish for a long time.

Matt DiSanto

The White Out is awesome, but you already know that. Games with such anticipation and build-up hit differently once you’re finally in the bleachers, chicken basket and shaker in hand, ready to soak it all in and cheer until your legs hurt from standing. They’re even better when Penn State wins, and I’m proud to say the Nittany Lions boast a 2-1 record in White Outs I’ve attended.

Although this was my last White Out as a student, I’ll make sure it’s not my last for good. I’m glad my friends and I have these memories to keep and (hopefully) reflect on when we’re sitting in the opposite end zone years from now.

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