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Reflections & Memories From Happy Valley: Ishaan Kalani’s Senior Column

As I sit down to reflect upon my time at Penn State, these numbers weigh heavily on my mind. Eight hundred ninety-six days — that’s roughly how long it’s been since I first stepped foot on this campus, wide-eyed and eager to embark on this long journey called college. Now, with just 16 days left until graduation, I find myself grappling with a whirlwind of emotions — excitement, nostalgia, sadness, and a touch of apprehension for what lies beyond the comforting embrace of State College, my cherished home for the past four years.

I honestly didn’t think that I would get to this point in my life where I was preparing to say goodbyes to all of my friends that I have made over the years. Penn State has been more than just a place of academic pursuit for me. It’s been a melting pot of experiences, lasting friendships, and personal growth. From the early mornings spent walking by Old Main to get to my lecture halls to the late nights spent in Paterno Library cramming for exams, each day has contributed to shaping the person I am today. One of my favorite quotes is from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where Ferris says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It’s funny how time seems to stretch and compress simultaneously, and moments that felt never-ending suddenly seem to pass by in the blink of an eye.

But beyond the textbooks and the grades, it’s the intangible moments that I’ll carry with me long after I’ve donned my cap and gown. It’s the spontaneous road trips with friends, the late-night conversations and walks around downtown, and the countless memories made at Beaver Stadium on gamedays. Oh, how could I even forget about the electric atmosphere of Beaver Stadium on gamedays? The sea of blue and white, the loud cheering of the crowd, and the sense of school pride as we cheered on the Nittany Lions. For those brief moments, we were more than just students. We were part of something larger, a community bound by pride and passion.

Joining Onward State in the fall of my senior year was an important moment that added a new dimension to my college experience. As I joined the visual team at Onward State, I found myself more in touch with the day-to-day campus life. I was immersed in a world where I didn’t need to use words to capture specific moments in time but instead capturing moments through the lens of my camera. Each photo captured a moment of the vibrant life pulsating throughout State College.

Finally, I would like to close this off and thank some of the people that have had a profound impact on my life during my time as an undergraduate here. I wanted to thank both of my parents for being the anchor in my life and for always providing me with the support I needed. I couldn’t have made it this far in my journey without the guidance and support from the both of you. Love the both of you. To my best friends, Ethan, JJ, Ryan, Vincent, Jason, Cooper, Brendan, thank you for your unwavering friendship and for standing by me through the highs and lows of college life. You’ve been the constants in my journey, offering laughter, encouragement, and a shoulder to lean on when times got tough. Each of you has left a mark on my life, and I am forever grateful for the countless memories that we’ve shared.

As I prepare to bid farewell to Penn State and embark on new adventures, I find comfort in knowing that the moments I had here will forever be etched in my mind. They are not just chapters in a book but chapters in the narrative of my personal and professional development, my friendships, and my cherished memories. Together, they form an indelible part of the tapestry of my college years — a tapestry that I will bring forth with me as I step into the next chapter of my life’s journey.

These moments, woven together like threads in a tapestry, form the mosaic of my college experience: a vibrant collage of laughter, tears, triumphs, and shared adventures. They are the heartbeat of my time at Penn State and the essence of what it truly means to live and learn.

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About the Author

Ishaan Kalani

Ishaan is a senior economics student from Ridgefield, Connecticut. In his free time, he enjoys taking film photography, skiing, and playing the guitar. He's also an avid Red Sox fan. Feel free to check out his instagram for more pictures @ishaankalani.

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