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Go Have Fun With Your Friends: Will Pegler’s Senior Column

I’ve been putting this off for a while now, and I’m not quite sure how to start it. So, I figured I’d kick things off by telling a story.

Earlier this semester, I was driving west down Curtin Road when I saw some kid — presumably a freshman — frantically waving me down just outside of East Halls. I pulled off next to the sidewalk as he ran up to the window and quickly explained to me his situation.

He was, in fact, a freshman. I forget his name (apologies if you’re reading this!), but he told me that he had slept through his alarm and was late for his ECON exam that was taking place in the Kern Graduate Building at 11:15 a.m. Mind you, it was about 11:10 a.m. at the time, so there was no way he would get there in time on his feet or just waiting for the White Loop to appear.

I told him to hop in, and we quickly sped down Curtin toward the other side of campus. I got him there about a minute after the exam’s start time. I haven’t seen him since, but I hope it went well.

Either way, as I hustled to get this kid to his exam, I couldn’t help but notice how calm he seemed. If I were in his position — especially as a freshman — I know for a fact I would’ve been in a full-on panic.

In thinking about it more, however, this kid didn’t have a huge reason to freak out. If he ended up late for the exam, he could still just start taking it once he got to class. If he didn’t make it at all, he could ask his professor for a make-up. If he weren’t able to get that and got a zero on the exam, he’d still likely have time to figure something out and get his grade in order.

It was a small moment in time on a random Wednesday morning, but it’s brought a lot of lessons to the forefront of my mind. Now, as I prepare to finish my time at Penn State, I’m going to share some of them here.

It sounds so obvious and cliche, but in college, there is absolutely no reason to sweat the small stuff. With that famous saying in mind, I would also say to my younger self that in college, pretty much everything can be considered “the small stuff.”

I’ve absolutely loved my four years here as a student, but at times I spent a bit too long concerned with the little things.

I’ve never been late for an exam, but I know I’ve been much more worried than that freshman was about things of much less importance. Exams, papers, job applications, and even random assignments have caused me plenty of stress here. The funny thing is, however, that I can hardly remember much of anything from my classes from freshman or sophomore year.

I realize that’s not a ringing endorsement of Penn State’s academic prowess, but that is not the point I’m trying to make. The assignments I worried about would always get done, and I always studied enough to do well on my exams. What I remember more from my first few years of college is all of the stupid fun I had with my friends, quite simply.

I remember my first Penn State football game as a student (the Nittany Lions nearly lost to Appalachian State). I remember going to Are U Hungry for the first time after some random apartment party with my first friends here and schlepping back up to East Halls. I also remember signing up for this blog during my first few days here, and quickly realizing that it would become the most important part of my experience at Penn State.

I also met my close personal friend, Saquon Barkley, just before Penn State’s 2018 Homecoming game.

None of this stuff has anything to do with my first class here, which I do remember was Spanish 3 in the Thomas Building. But the point remains that you’re likely not going to remember the stuff that might be stressing you out right now. If you’re a college student, odds are what you’re worrying about really doesn’t matter that much.

Some might even say that “nothing matters,” which is a mantra that’s been repeated to me lately. I’ve recently tried to adopt it when I am in fact sweating the small stuff. I highly recommend it.

Even if you’re late for that exam and need to wave down a senior to get you to your class, it’s definitely going to work itself out.

This quick experience also reminded me of something else to always keep in mind. No matter what, just be nice to everyone and have fun with your friends.

Once again, this is advice I didn’t always follow myself throughout my time here. I have done and said stupid things at times. But I’ve tried to keep in mind that this is a massive school, and quite literally everyone has stuff going on that you don’t know about. Even if they are in fact the small things, everyone has concerns and worries about just anything — school or social life, among others. With that in mind, just be nice to everyone you come across because they may have just slept through an exam they were worried about.

If you are that person that just slept through an exam, it will be okay. This is a big school, and someone else probably did the same thing this morning.

You just have to have fun with your friends. In my opinion, that’s what college (and life!) is all about.

I grew up in a Penn State family. My dad went here, my younger brother, Charlie, is now a freshman here, and my youngest brother, Jack, will hopefully absolutely be here in two years. Even though my mom didn’t come to Penn State, she’s a more rabid fan of the football team than my dad is.

I always knew I wanted to come to Penn State, but in the days leading up to my freshman year, I really had no idea what kind of path I would create for myself. As it turns out, my very own journey started the minute I began to make my friends here.

Truly any memory I have here has to do with my friends, and that’s what I’ll miss so terribly about this place. Onward State plays a huge role in that, and it makes me so sad knowing I’m done with this chapter of my life. Despite how much I’ll miss this blog, I will forever feel so proud of what we did and lucky that I got to be a part of it.

I got to cover the football team I grew up watching for three seasons. It was an amazing experience to get so up and close to the program, but truly all of the memories that will stick with me are the fun times I had with some awesome people.

Road tripping around Big Ten country (and even Florida) over the past few years has led to some hilarious and memorable moments that I’ll honestly hold on to forever. Do I remember the final score of this year’s Outback Bowl? Absolutely not. But I can still vividly picture hanging out at the media bar laughing about whatever the hell it was we covered that day.

I’ve experienced other awesome moments like THON or this year’s NCAA Wrestling Championships in Detroit through the Onward State lens, but it’s still the same story. Doing the line dance on press row or running around Detroit in between wrestling sessions just wouldn’t be the same without every single person I was with.

While this blog and every person I’ve met through it has helped to shape my Penn State experience in a massive way, I’ve also met some other fantastic people at this school. I was lucky enough to come here with a couple of friends from my hometown, but that group has grown and branched out since we arrived as freshmen.

As I’ve made new friends, however, the blog has remained a constant. In fact, I’m proud to say that all of my OS friends run right alongside all of the other folks I spend time with. I’ve developed so many close relationships over my time here, and it’d take way too long for me to say something about each of those wonderful people. Just know, however, that if we’ve spent any amount of time together here, I appreciate you, and you are part of the reason I’ve loved my Penn State experience.

If you just slept through an exam, remind yourself of the friends you have here and shoot them a text. That’s what’s important.

I realize that’s kind of a lot to take away from a car ride down Curtin Road with some random freshman. But as I now face my final days as a Penn State student, I can confidently say it was a moment that led me to do some serious reflecting.

So, if you’re reading this and still have time left as a student here, close your laptop and remember what’s important about this place. You might be late for an exam at some point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go to a party tonight and stay up talking with your friends until 4 a.m.

If that does happen to you and you are freaking out, I probably would be, too. All I can say is, go for a walk, listen to “Take It Easy”, and maybe even stop into A’s for a beer. Everything is going to work out just fine.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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