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Thank You for Everything, Onward State

And bad mistakes

I’ve made a few

I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face –

But I’ve come through.

Every so often, my mind wanders back to that night. In a college career that was, to some degree, punctuated by regrets, it stands out–for obvious reasons. It was the night that threatened to undo everything so many people had worked so hard for. It turned Onward State and Devon Edwards into household names, for the wrongest reasons imaginable.

Hell, it’s the reason this is a community submission from a former writer, and not the senior column of the managing editor.

And though I spent that night curled up in the fetal position, wishing I could just disappear, I now realize how much I’ve grown from that harrowing experience. The lessons I’ve learned from the biggest mistake of my life don’t outweigh the harm I caused–especially to Onward State–but they’re the best wisdom I could possibly impart.

I won’t sugarcoat it: That night, that weekend, and the next week, they all sucked. But I can’t imagine how much worse it would’ve been if everyone at Onward State wasn’t there to help me through it. The countless text messages and facebook chats and hugs got me through the worst mistake of my life.

Failure still stings, but it stings a hell of a lot less when you’re surrounded by people who really care about you.

For most of my life, I’ve been a square peg in a round hole. But in Onward State, I didn’t just find a new hobby, or a cause I believed in, I found somewhere I belong. And only then did I realize just what I’d been missing out on for two and a half years.

That’s because, from the beginning, Onward State was somewhere I could just be myself. After trying–and failing–to reinvent myself time after time, I no longer had to worry about being accepted. When you’re somewhere you belong, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else. And only when you accept exactly who you are can you start to become the person you need to be.

My evolution within the organization illustrates more than anything how Onward State helped me grow and mature into a better person. I was recruited by Davis after trolling the comments section, and I can’t thank him enough for it. Neither of us could’ve predicted how Onward State would come to define me, how I’d go from a nuisance to an editor. How even now, when I talk about the site, I still use “we.” How, after everything, I’m writing this senior column just so I can try to explain the profound impact OS has had on my life.

Most importantly, when you’re somewhere you belong, you’re surrounded by people–by friends–who won’t let you stay down. They’ll pick you right back off that mat, brush you off, and make sure you’re okay. When you’re where you belong, you are not defined by your lowest moment.

I was wrong, earlier, when I wrote that my college career was marked by missed opportunities. The way I see it now, the only real mistake I ever made was not joining Onward State earlier, because every other decision I made led me there, eventually.

To everyone who I’ve been fortunate enough to share the past year and a half with, I can’t thank you enough. You mean so much more to me than you could ever know. I love you all.

Except for you, Morar.

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About the Author

Devon Edwards

Devon is a 2012 Penn State graduate and current law student at NYU. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section. His likes include sabermetrics, squirrels, and longs walks on the beach, and his dislikes include spelunking, when you put your clothes in the dryer and they come out still kinda damp but also warm, and the religious right.

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