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Seniors Reflect On Their Final THONs

Just like that, THON 2022 is gone in the blink of an eye.

Freshmen and sophomores got to experience THON for the first time this weekend. But for seniors, being back in person for their final THON Weekend was bittersweet. In that spirit, some of our senior staffers took the time to reflect on their final THON Weekends.

Dana Nunemacher

How am I handling the idea of THON 2022 being my last THON as a student? Not well. I spent most of my post-THON crying about this. I learned about THON when I was in middle school and have been a loyal follower of THONward State since. I love my school, and THON just always reinforces why I chose to come here.

To see a community come together #FTK is one of the most beautiful experiences I have had in my life. I made it my mission this weekend to spend as much time as I possibly could at the Bryce Jordan Center, and I am so thankful I followed through with that. I laughed, I cried, and, most importantly, I danced in the stands for all to see. For The Kids (and the blog) forever.

Ryen Gailey

My final experience at THON was nothing less than amazing. After being away from the BJC for two years, I was so excited to be back. I’ve gotten to witness many different parts of THON now, from standing with a committee to covering it with Onward State. But I will say, my absolute favorite part was working with our amazing team throughout the entire weekend. THON is such a special event that not many get to be a part of, and even fewer get to be a part of it and see it through our lens as press.

I tried numerous times throughout the weekend to actually step back from what I was doing, look around, and just remain as grateful as possible for the opportunities I’ve had to be involved with the organization over the years. I feel great that my final THON was spent with my absolute best friends in the entire world — those consider to be so incredibly talented and an honor to work with.

I’m unsure if I’ll ever return to the BJC for THON Weekend, but I’ll always be watching and loving OS’s content.

Mackenzie Cullen

I’m actually very emotional thinking about how THON 2022 is my last one as a student, which is kind of ironic considering that THON Weekend has always made me feel overwhelmed. It didn’t hit me until last Friday, just a few hours before THON began, that this is the last big Penn State event that I’ll get to experience before I gr*duate.

Unlike the last few years, when I’ve wished THON Weekend away, I really tried to soak in the experience — even during the moments where I was struggling to stay awake — and take everything in as much as I could.

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to cover something as impactful as THON over the last few years, and witness THON break its fundraising record after eight years. Although I never got involved on a THON committee or org, I got to experience THON in a completely different way that not many other people have.

Hope Damato

I was honestly really sad going into my last THON because I didn’t want it to be over. I’ve covered THON with Onward State and participated with my sorority throughout all four of my years at Penn State. This weekend really hit right after the total reveal, and I couldn’t help but think, “This is one of the last events I’ll be at as a senior.”

With that said, it was definitely one of the best weekends of my life. Doing the past five line dances, being with my best friends, and seeing the $13.7 million total reveal really made the weekend special. Although it’s annoying in the moment, I’m going to miss waking up at 6 a.m. to get to the BJC before the portals close for Final Four and eating a chicken basket at 2 a.m. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my last THON.

Michael Tauriello

I’ve covered the dance marathon in each of my four years in some capacity for Onward State, and it’s always been fun to visually tell the story of the weekend for everyone to see. The entertainment, the dancers, the families, and all the emotions. There’s plenty to see at THON!

I’d looked at the dancer list on a couple of occasions throughout the week or two leading up to THON and noticed a new name I’d known almost every time. One time it was the guy that was in my engineering design class project group that I hadn’t talked to in some time. Another was the girl that sat behind me in Math 141. Of course, I’d seen names of friends I regularly keep in contact with, too. By the time the weekend actually rolled around, I probably could’ve named at least a dozen people dancing.

It was also my first year on the floor as a photographer since THON 2019. I wasn’t the president of an organization back then, but I am now, so running into my org’s dancers on the floor and spending a little time around them was awesome. I felt extremely proud of each of them.

I was in the BJC for over 30 hours for the blog this year. Knowing how special this moment was to so many people I’d gotten to know over my four years made it special to me. Being able to visually tell the story of the weekend for them and everyone else to look back on someday is an unbelievably cool gig.

Matt DiSanto

THON 2022 was an unpredictably fulfilling experience.

As always, Onward State was there for 46 hours (and then some) to cover THON’s big return to the BJC. We laughed, cried, and had a blast providing minute-by-minute updates of the momentous occasion. At the end of the day, THON 2022 was a smashing success.

Now, that’s not to say THON 2022 was an easy experience. At times, I felt more anxious than I’d ever felt in my life. Just take a look at this 100% candid photo of Onward State’s team doing the final line dance just minutes before the total reveal. It’s funny, looking back, but I thought I was done for.

Of course, everything went fine. Our coordinated team of 12 dominated the Final Four and celebrated the culmination of a jam-packed weekend. Now, after crossing the proverbial finish line after weeks and months of planning, I couldn’t feel more proud to be an Onward Stater.

THON was never completely my thing, but I’m grateful to have experienced it from such a unique point of view. Late nights on press row were some of my favorite experiences in college, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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