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A Kick In The Ass Of Ambition: Jordan Mansberger’s Senior Column

Welp, here it is.

It’s hard to believe that I will soon graduate from Penn State. Although the thought of never walking to class early in the morning hungover does excite me, it is a bitter-sweet feeling.

I feel like just yesterday I was giving my valedictorian speech at Southern Huntingdon County High School (there were, like, 80 kids in my class, so some consider it a Mickey Mouse title, but a ring is a ring). In my speech, I spoke about ambition and how I felt that the only thing that could stop my classmates and me from achieving all of our dreams is if we settle for accepting less than we can get. I still hold that sentiment true today.

I’ve always pushed myself hard academically. One of my favorite memories from growing up was when my dad sat beside me while I was studying at the kitchen table in high school and said, “You know, it’s OK if you get a B, right? Hell, you can even get a C, and that’s fine.” I don’t believe I ever understood what he meant until this year.

While it is important to constantly keep challenging yourself to achieve new goals, at some point you need to look around and see where you are at. Now, I couldn’t be happier about where I am at.

My fellow seniors and I now have another blank slate before us. We’re armed to face the daunting openness of it with a degree from the best school in the world and the countless lessons we have learned from it.

I always wanted to go to Penn State. It is where my biggest role models, my cousins/sisters Cristina and Chandlar, went. My family consists of all Penn State fans and I take great pride in knowing that I have made them proud by completing my journey at the school that they also love.

During my four years, my family was always on my mind, especially when I lost my Pap Berger my freshman year and my Grandma Pat earlier this semester. One of the last times I spoke with my Pap, he was in the hospital and I went to visit him. He was so excited to tell his nurse that I was going to Penn State, and I am forever grateful for the endless love and support he gives me in everything I do as I tear up while writing this. The last time that I saw my Gram, she told me what she always did: “I just love you.” I miss them every day, but I’m grateful they are in a better place.

Without the love, support, and the occasional kick in the ass of ambition that my family has given me over these past four years, I wouldn’t have made it. The same goes for all of my friends that I have made along the way, both back home and at Penn State.

I joined Onward State as a first-semester junior, and my only regret is not joining sooner. Through it, I have met some of the most wonderful, unique, and talented individuals. I’ve loved every minute, whether it has been writing raps with T-Prime or watching some staffers give me confused looks at meetings when I would suggest something entirely off the wall because I thought it was funny.

Podward State. I don’t even know where to start. From Sam and Matt welcoming me in to help host some episodes to these past two seasons where our Pod family has grown, it’s been incredible. Serving as associate producer and sound wizard — thank you, Grace, for the title — and getting to meet and speak to some of the most amazing people in the studio at Willard has been awesome. Shout out to the rest of the crew — Will, Charlie, Connor, Stutz, Sister Shannon, Mara, Keeley, and Teagan — for all that you have done to help make Pod the most unique, interesting, and hilarious piece of content that is produced at Penn State. I just hope that the girl taking up the studio before us gets out quicker in the future.

I’m not really sure what I want to do yet when I graduate. I have job offers, but how am I supposed to pick just one opportunity when Penn State, CommRadio, Centre County Report, and Onward State have prepared me to do so much more? I guess that’s the beauty of it. Nonetheless, I’ll be sure to look to my family and friends when I need a shot of ambition to get going.

I’m not really sure what else to say or how to end this, mainly because I don’t want to finish writing it. It would be impossible to thank every person at Penn State who has helped me with their friendship and guidance, but just know that I am grateful for you all. I apologize if this column has been all over the place. In a way, I feel that it best represents my journey at Penn State. From starting Twitter beef with Antonio Brown and the San Diego Padres to closing down bars, it’s been a dream.

So, I think that’s it. I promised myself that this would be my last paragraph as I continue to procrastinate my last bits of schoolwork. To steal a line from one of my biggest inspirations Bo Burnham: “So long. Goodbye. Do I really have to finish? Do returns always diminish? Did I say that right?”

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About the Author

Jordan Mansberger

Jordan Mansberger is a senior at Penn State majoring in broadcast journalism. He is from Cassville, Pennsylvania. He is a huge Pittsburgh sports fan as well as his Denver Nuggets. When he's not working, he can be found instigating Twitter beef with Padres fans and Antonio Brown or practicing his sub-par golf game.

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