409 Things I’ll Probably Teach My Future Penn State Son

Happy JoePa day. Ten years ago, a former Onward State staff writer Yuka Narisako wrote one of the longest posts in the history of the site titled “409 Things I Will Teach My Future Probably Penn State Daughter,” in honor of Joe Paterno’s 409 wins as head coach.

Despite there already being a “409 Things I’ll Teach My Future Penn State Son,” as a tribute to Yuka and JoePa, I decided on the 10th anniversary of that post that I will write my own 409 Things I Will Teach My Future Probably Penn State Son.

  1. When choosing a dorm, always go East Halls.
  2. Having blue sheets is fine.
  3. You go to a school that’s colors are blue and white, so blue sheets are allowed.
  4. Join Onward State.
  5. Don’t join The Daily Collegian.
  6. When you join OS, talk smack about TDC.
  7. Talk about dodgeball and how we beat them.
  8. Challenge them to dodgeball.
  9. Beat them in dodgeball.
  10. Possibly challenge them to a football game, too.
  11. Destroy them in anything you do.
  12. Football games are the No. 1 priority.
  13. But don’t let football losses control your life.
  14. However, they’ll unfortunately going to ruin your day and possibly longer.
  15. Try to get over the loss by Monday.
  16. Get hyped for the next game by Wednesday.
  17. Repeat this cycle until the season ends in disappointment.
  18. Always set the standard in your classes (that means sitting front row and arriving 15 minutes early).
  19. Post on social media that you set the standard.
  20. Set the standard at games.
  21. Set the standard at bars.
  22. Set the standard wherever you go.
  23. Go 1-0 every week.
  24. If James Franklin is still the head coach, boo him.
  25. If he’s not the coach, boo the new one, too.
  26. Go to as many games as you can.
  27. Not just football.
  28. Go to as many games for all sports.
  29. Go to field hockey games.
  30. Go to men’s soccer games.
  31. Go to women’s soccer games.
  32. Go to men’s lacrosse games.
  33. Go to women’s lacrosse games.
  34. Go support all women’s sports.
  35. Pack the Bryce Jordan Center if basketball is played there.
  36. Pack Rec Hall if basketball is played there.
  37. Go to Rec Hall as much as possible.
  38. Go to volleyball games there.
  39. Go to wrestling matches.
  40. Go to gymnastics matches.
  41. Go to softball games.
  42. Go to men’s hockey games.
  43. Go to women’s hockey games.
  44. Go to softball games.
  45. Go to baseball games at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
  46. Go to games on the weekend.
  47. Go to games during the week.
  48. Attend Dollar Dog nights.
  49. Attend Dollar Dog nights with friends.
  50. Attend Dollar Dog nights without friends.
  51. Always buy nine glizzys.
  52. Always eat nine glizzys.
  53. Have a beer with your hot dogs.
  54. Have nine beers to go along with your nine hot dogs.
  55. Never take a 9 a.m. class.
  56. Unless it’s Comm170 with Mike Poorman.
  57. When you take Poorman’s class, sit in the front row and #SetTheStandard.
  58. Oh, and arrive 15 minutes early always.
  59. Take advantage of free things on campus.
  60. Take advantage of the Red Link and the White and Blue loops.
  61. They’re your best friend when it comes to travel.
  62. But don’t overuse it.
  63. Walk to class once in a while.
  64. It’s good exercise for you.
  65. You’ll see how great the campus is.
  66. Never bet on Penn State sports.
  67. Unless it is a lock, which it always is.
  68. Penn State is -3.5 always no matter the sport.
  69. It’s always good to be nice to people.
  70. But not too nice.
  71. Don’t wear lanyards when you’re a freshman.
  72. Try to get along with your roommates.
  73. But if not that’s OK.
  74. Your roommates don’t have to be your friend.
  75. Make other friends.
  76. Make other other friends.
  77. Make even other friends in case the others don’t work out.
  78. Meet new people.
  79. Meet as many people as you can.
  80. Making connections is the biggest thing.
  81. Doing work for classes is important.
  82. But connecting and growing as a person is more important.
  83. Have a “don’t say no” mentality.
  84. Take every opportunity.
  85. Because who knows when you’ll get another one?
  86. Take a risk every once in a while.
  87. Get out of your comfort zone.
  88. Go to the Involvement Fair.
  89. Get involved in things that aren’t Onward State.
  90. Join a new club.
  91. Join a club you have an interest in.
  92. Join a club you don’t have an interest in.
  93. Tailgate.
  94. Tailgate before games.
  95. Tailgate after games.
  96. Interact with people’s tailgates.
  97. Always say yes to free alcohol.
  98. It’s the best kind of alcohol.
  99. But don’t overdo it.
  100. Don’t be sloppy drunk.
  101. Don’t go to Champs to watch big sports games with Aidan Conrad.
  102. Honestly, sports games that aren’t Penn State should be watched at a bar.
  103. Unless it’s March Madness, then go to whatever bar has the most TVs.
  104. Go crazy for March Madness.
  105. Go to the Brew.
  106. Go to the Phyrst.
  107. Go to the Phyrst when Piano Fight Club is performing.
  108. Go to wherever Lowjack is performing.
  109. Go to Doggies.
  110. Go to the Gaff.
  111. Go to Pickles.
  112. Go to Pickles for trivia.
  113. Go to Sharkies (only for pool).
  114. Avoid the Basement.
  115. Avoid the Den (unless you’re a freshman).
  116. Same goes for Stage West.
  117. Go to Dollar Vodka Soda Night at Champs.
  118. Go to Champs whenever there’s someone famous there.
  119. Take advantage of happy hour.
  120. Dirty Sprites are your friend.
  121. Play pool at the bars.
  122. Don’t get a fake ID.
  123. But if you do, be careful.
  124. I’m not bailing you out.
  125. Don’t get arrested.
  126. Please don’t be that kid.
  127. Try all the food around.
  128. Don’t always get McDonalds.
  129. But if you’re on a budget, Mickey D’s is the way.
  130. Get ready to learn grilled cheese.
  131. And egg sandwiches.
  132. Eat pizza from Doggies.
  133. Eat pizza from HiWay.
  134. Don’t eat pizza from Canyon (if it’s somehow still open).
  135. Eat at the dining hall.
  136. It’s better than when I was there.
  137. I had to have one box for everything.
  138. Enjoy hot dogs.
  139. Especially when they’re $1.
  140. Save your money for bars.
  141. But after bar drunk food is essential.
  142. Try to have food at home.
  143. But grab a cheesesteak if you have to.
  144. And don’t forget the fries.
  145. Apply for summer session.
  146. You get six credits out of the way.
  147. You schedule earlier than others.
  148. And you get to meet people.
  149. Plus you’re on campus with other freshmen.
  150. You do two classes a day and nothing else.
  151. Great time to learn the campus.
  152. Get a gym membership.
  153. Or go to one of the on-campus gyms.
  154. Just workout.
  155. Stay in shape.
  156. I didn’t, but that’s me, not you.
  157. Construction noises will piss you off.
  158. Learn to live with it.
  159. If not, get earbuds.
  160. But don’t because you’ll miss your alarm.
  161. Also, don’t be that roommate.
  162. The one with a million alarms.
  163. Wake up on the first one.
  164. Two alarms max.
  165. Go outside every once in a while.
  166. Throw a ball around.
  167. Go on a run.
  168. Throw a frisbee.
  169. Don’t stay in your dorm all the time.
  170. Don’t stay in your apartment all the time.
  171. Socialize.
  172. Meet strangers at the bars
  173. Shop downtown.
  174. Buy a Penn State hoodie.
  175. Buy another Penn State hoodie.
  176. Buy another one (just make sure they’re different colors).
  177. Buy other gear.
  178. Don’t overbuy.
  179. You’re only here four years.
  180. Go to the Blue-White Game.
  181. Root for Blue.
  182. Root for White.
  183. Root for the Blue Band.
  184. Root for the Lionettes.
  185. Root for the cheerleaders.
  186. Never be quiet during a football game.
  187. Never sit down during a football game.
  188. Never leave a football game before it’s “over.”
  189. Over means 14 points with under a minute to play.
  190. Stay for your first Alma Mater.
  191. Learn the Alma Mater.
  192. Stay for your last alma mater.
  193. Always sing and know the Alma Mater.
  194. Go to every football game.
  195. You paid for the tickets, get your money’s worth.
  196. Don’t resell your tickets.
  197. The process sucks buying tickets, enjoy them for yourself.
  198. Don’t buy tickets just to sell them for profit.
  199. I hopefully raised you better than that.
  200. Cover a sport.
  201. Even if you’re not a writer.
  202. Talk to coaches.
  203. Learn to do interviews.
  204. When you’re doing interviews, lead the charge.
  205. Don’t let the “experts” take over.
  206. Ask the hard questions.
  207. Write the hard stories.
  208. Make people want to come back to your writing.
  209. Learn the coach’s names.
  210. Whether it’s the diving or football coach, learn it.
  211. Know more about them than they know.
  212. But don’t be a know-it-all.
  213. Find a fine line.
  214. Learn as many sports as you can.
  215. Become an expert at as many as you can.
  216. Love sports. They’ll bring you so much joy.
  217. Join a frat.
  218. But don’t be that frat guy.
  219. Don’t make it your whole personality.
  220. Do it to make friends.
  221. Do it to dance during THON.
  222. But have a good time.
  223. And stay safe.
  224. Don’t be afraid not to do something if you don’t want to.
  225. And don’t rush Pike.
  226. Go to College Gameday if it’s here.
  227. Sit outside for hours.
  228. Make a sign.
  229. Get your sign on TV.
  230. Stay for the entire time.
  231. Hike Mount Nittany.
  232. Practice by walking up Shortlidge Road.
  233. Learn to walk up hills.
  234. Complain that the school was built on the side of a mountain.
  235. Go to Cafe 210.
  236. Do 55 Days of Cafe.
  237. Try not to forget about 55 Days.
  238. Don’t ask me for money for 55 Days. Buy a soda some days.
  239. Do THON.
  240. Join a committee.
  241. Be a captain.
  242. Or don’t if that’s not your thing.
  243. Try to dance.
  244. If you can’t that’s OK.
  245. Cover THON.
  246. Still, go to THON.
  247. Enjoy what they do.
  248. Enjoy the event.
  249. Experience the atmosphere.
  250. Always do the line dance.
  251. Give 110% during the line dance.
  252. Stay for the national acts.
  253. Stay for the Pep Rally.
  254. Stay for Final Four.
  255. Stay for the total reveal.
  256. Celebrate the total reveal.
  257. Interact with families.
  258. Interact with friends.
  259. Realize the difference THON makes.
  260. Continue to support it.
  261. Michigan sucks.
  262. Don’t ever forget it.
  263. Ohio State sucks, too.
  264. Also hate Notre Dame.
  265. Learn about Penn State’s history.
  266. Never know what you’ll learn.
  267. Ben and Jerry took an ice cream class here.
  268. Also, Penn State’s original mascot was not the Nittany Lion.
  269. It was Old Coaly.
  270. An actual mule.
  271. Avoid 8 a.m.s at all cost.
  272. Try not to take a class past 5 p.m.
  273. But if you have to, take one.
  274. Bulk your schedule.
  275. Get classes out of the way.
  276. And, yes, go to every class.
  277. Even if you don’t want to go.
  278. But skip if you have a good reason.
  279. I’ll understand.
  280. Just know you’re paying for the class.
  281. Study in the new side of Willard.
  282. Study in the Harry Potter room.
  283. Study in Westgate.
  284. Study basically anywhere but the HUB.
  285. Avoid the HUB during lunchtime.
  286. Avoid the HUB during the day.
  287. Basically don’t go to the HUB, it’s overrated.
  288. Study on the Old Main Lawn.
  289. Study on the HUB Lawn if Old Main is full.
  290. Study in the library.
  291. The top floor is your friend.
  292. Be respectful to others studying.
  293. If you study better at home, study there.
  294. But just study.
  295. But also party.
  296. Go to parties.
  297. Play drinking games.
  298. Play pong.
  299. Play stack cup.
  300. Shotgun a beer.
  301. Dance.
  302. Talk to people you know there.
  303. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know.
  304. Always take up a free shot.
  305. Don’t be rude. Take two shots.
  306. Don’t ruin a party, though.
  307. Try not to get into a fight.
  308. Take SOC 119N.
  309. Take ANTH140.
  310. Take RPTM 120.
  311. Take ASTRO 7N.
  312. Take THEA 112.
  313. Take PSYCH 100.
  314. Take GEOG 1N.
  315. Go to concerts.
  316. The price will be worth it later.
  317. Go to comedy shows.
  318. Go to everything that comes to the Bryce Jordan Center or Beaver Stadium.
  319. Go to the Creamery.
  320. Go to the Arboretum.
  321. Go to the Lion Shrine.
  322. Go to the Millennium Science Complex sitting area.
  323. It’s by the entrance. It’s the best spot to sit and relax.
  324. Go to other dining halls for dinner.
  325. Go to the art museum.
  326. Go try to find the JoePa statue.
  327. Go to the tennis courts.
  328. Go to the IM Fields.
  329. Go to the Beaver Stadium sign.
  330. Walk around Beaver Stadium.
  331. Walk around the dorms.
  332. Walk around the campus.
  333. Walk around the town.
  334. Look for your classes early.
  335. Get familiar with this place. You’re going to want to know where everything is.
  336. Be respectful to your professors.
  337. Get to know your professors.
  338. Become friends with your professors.
  339. Learn from your professors.
  340. Listen to your professors.
  341. They know more than you think.
  342. Try to enjoy every class.
  343. But if you don’t that’s OK.
  344. You don’t have to.
  345. Drop a class if you must.
  346. But try not to.
  347. I know professors suck sometimes.
  348. But Cs get degrees.
  349. Although I prefer a B or better.
  350. Don’t procrastinate.
  351. Don’t leave things until the last minute.
  352. But if you do that, it’s OK.
  353. Because that’s where the best work comes from.
  354. It’s always a good time to watch the 2016 Ohio State White Out.
  355. And the 2023 NCAA Tournament game against Texas A&M.
  356. Know the name Grant Haley.
  357. And Andrew Funk.
  358. Know who Trace McSorley is.
  359. Saquon Barkley, too.
  360. And learn who David Taylor was.
  361. You can forget who Ta’Quan Roberson was.
  362. Enjoy the holidays.
  363. Go out for Halloweekend.
  364. Dress up for Halloweekend.
  365. Read Onward State on April 1. That’s when our best articles are written.
  366. Go out for State Patty’s Day.
  367. Go out for St. Patrick’s Day.
  368. Come home for holidays, though.
  369. Seriously come home as much as you want.
  370. Don’t be ashamed if you get homesick.
  371. You’ll always have a place at home.
  372. Call home whenever.
  373. Go to Arts Fest.
  374. Go to Movin’ On.
  375. Go to the Waffle Shop for breakfast. It’s worth it.
  376. Wawa is better than Sheetz.
  377. Just wait until they get there, you’ll understand.
  378. Go outside and play during snow days.
  379. Bundle up. You’re living in the mountains.
  380. Shop at Walmart and Trader Joe’s.
  381. Scheduling classes suck. Learn to live with it.
  382. Rate My Professor will either save you or ruin the class.
  383. Find a nice place with people who actually want to live with you.
  384. Take care of the place.
  385. Watch Red Zone on football Sundays.
  386. Now for some real advice.
  387. Join Onward State. Seriously it’s a great blog.
  388. This place is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
  389. You may think it’s another day of class.
  390. But eventually, that ends.
  391. Find yourself during your time here.
  392. Enjoy yourself.
  393. College only happens once.
  394. And what you do during those four years will help you tremendously in the future.
  395. But don’t stress about your future.
  396. Because your future is so far away.
  397. This is when you’re supposed to mess up.
  398. So enjoy your final year.
  399. Enjoy your final semester.
  400. It’s OK to miss Penn State when you’re getting ready to leave.
  401. Buy your cap and gown early.
  402. Take pictures with said cap and gown early.
  403. Take pictures at the Lion Statue.
  404. Take pictures at Old Main.
  405. Take one last walk around campus.
  406. Take it all in one last time.
  407. You’re going to miss it before you know it.
  409. 409 forever.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him taking down any Dollar Dog challenge or rewatching the Big Ten Maps Commercial. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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