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Penn State References You Didn’t Catch In Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Get your typewriters and your tissues ready, folks, because Taylor Swift dropped a new album last week.

Swift released her 11th studio album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” last Friday. The 16-song album — and its 15-track sister album, “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” — have sent Swifties reeling into a rollercoaster of emotions. The album details how Swift managed to navigate the messy emotions that often follow a serious breakup while she was on a world tour and the self-discoveries and revelations that came with that experience. 

While not all Penn Staters label themselves “tortured poets” or even have the time amid studying for finals to listen to 31 tracks, there are more references to Dear Old State than you might’ve realized.

“I cry a lot, but I am so productive, it’s an art.” — I Can Do It With a Broken Heart

This song is a perfect finals week mantra from beginning to end. At the end of each semester, students persevere through exams and papers and manage to come out alive on the other side. Surviving finals week doesn’t mean it’s an easy journey, though.

Whether you spend entire days hunched over a computer in the library or pull one too many all-nighters in your dorm, no amount of frustrated tears can halt a Penn Stater’s productivity. Good luck next week, folks!

“All my mornings are Mondays stuck in an endless February” — Fortnight

Ah, the sunny, warm State College weather is so nice, right? Wrong. A decent portion of the year in Happy Valley is spent shivering and wishing you didn’t leave your winter coat at home. Despite being the shortest month of the year, the passage of time in February always seems to inch along and Penn Staters feel that tenfold.

Plus, Mondays suck.

“I’m runnin’ back home to you / Frеsh out the slammer, I know who my first call will be to.” — Fresh Out The Slammer

Picture this: it’s a Friday afternoon in State College. The sun is out and the bar patios are open, but you’re stuck in class. You can practically taste the pitcher at Cafe like it’s calling your name all the way from downtown. Everyone’s watched the minutes tick by on a classroom clock and longingly looked through the window at a crowd of students lounging on the HUB Lawn once in their college career.

When the weather’s nice, sitting in class can feel a little like being locked in jail. Instead of taking notes or at least paying attention to the lecture, you’re going to daydream about what you’ll do as soon as your sentence is up. Sunbathing on HUB Lawn, grabbing a drink with friends, you name it.

“Florida is one hell of a drug / Florida, can I use you up?” — Florida!!!

Unfortunately, Florida wasn’t so eager to have college students flooding its beaches this past spring break, but that won’t stop Penn Staters from heading there each year anyway. Typically occurring right after midterms, spring break is a necessary reprieve from the horde of assignments students have to deal with in the middle of the semester. When you attend a school like Penn State, there’s no better place than the sunny landscape of Florida to forget your problems and relax for once.

“Shirts off and your friends lift you up over their heads / Beer stickin’ to the floor, cheers chanted.” — The Alchemy

For once, Swift actually seems to be referencing football! While she might have a different team in mind with this lyric, I’m choosing to relate it to the blue and white.

What better way to celebrate a Nittany Lion win than with beer, cheers, and tossing your friends in the air? This lyric embodies the way Penn State celebrates and the love shared between fans and players alike. Wild celebrations and sheer excitement for our team are what we do best, whether you’re standing in the front row with a letter painted on your bare chest or you’re all the way at the back of the student section.

“You were sleeping soundly when they dragged you from your bed.” — The Albatross

Nine a.m. classes, everyone’s favorite. Or worse, 8 a.m. classes if you really did yourself dirty while scheduling in the fall. Somehow, you never really get used to waking up for an early morning class, especially if you live off campus and have a further commute.

On good days, you might wake up before you need to and get to enjoy a few more minutes of sleep. On bad days, it feels a little like your alarm is pouring ice-cold water on your head and dragging you out of bed. You’ll still be half asleep by the time you make it to your lecture in Forum. Just don’t do it, folks.

“My spine split from carrying us up the hill / Wet through my clothes, weary bones caught the chill.” — So Long, London

Penn Staters have a unique pride that restricts them from using umbrellas no matter how much of a downpour Happy Valley presents us with, so this one’s definitely for us. Walking up Shortlidge, it frequently feels like your back is breaking under the weight of your bags — the ones on your back and the ones under your eyes.

To make matters worse, a huge portion of students make that trek to class with nothing but a raincoat and a dream, refusing to use an umbrella because it’s “embarrassing.” It’s no wonder the PSFlu is so common in the rainy months, which is most of them here.

“Quick, quick, tell me something awful / Like you are a poet trapped inside the body of a finance guy.” — I Hate It Here

Does this need any explanation? If you’ve ever traversed the Penn State dating scene, lines like this one might ring a bell. Some of you seriously talk like this, and it’s sickening.

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About the Author

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is a senior majoring in English and an associate editor at Onward State. She loves making music, consuming the maximum daily amount of coffee recommended by the FDA, and overanalyzing Taylor Swift lyrics. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @meganedougherty and forward any (free) The Eras Tour tickets to her email, [email protected]

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