Did you grow up in a family who often visited a certain college for football games, theatre productions or alumni events? Did these repeated visits make you fall in love with the campus, making it earn the title as your ‘dream school’? For me, the answer is yes.
Growing up with a family full of Penn State fanatics, my dream of becoming a Nittany Lion manifested over years of attending football games and my dad’s tailgates, shopping in the downtown stores and getting a taste of that Berkey Creamery ice cream. I had way too much school spirit built up for the blue and white that I couldn’t picture myself attending anywhere else.
If this sounds like you, no matter what college you’re in love with, this is your sign to pick or transfer to that school.
During my first semester in State College, I immersed myself in activities ranging from academic to fitness-focused. I became a member of The Daily Collegian sports staff, an analyst on a sports talk show, a THON committee member, a member of the club soccer team and a writer for College Magazine. The opportunities for student involvement at Penn State are endless, which I knew even before I accepted my offer of admission. I had been doing research since the beginning of high school about every single activity related my major of broadcast journalism, athletics and community service.
However, I didn’t carry out the same research for any other school, even when I narrowed my options down to my top three schools. The dream I had as a little girl at a football game and walking around campus stuck with me throughout the entire application and research process. I just kept telling myself, “Don’t even bother researching other schools. You already know where you’re going to end up.”
These experiences led me to look up everything you could think of related to college.
Major-related clubs, internship opportunities, job placement, mental and physical health care, housing, dining…and so on. I cared so much about knowing everything that Penn State offered and didn’t give any thought to the same aspects of any other school I applied to.
For reference, the top three schools I was considering were Penn State, University of Maryland at College Park and Temple University. Maryland and Temple both offered outstanding journalism opportunities and I felt honored to be accepted to both.
However, I couldn’t see myself going to either of these schools. Not because their programs weren’t outstanding. Not because I didn’t think I’d make friends or get involved in campus life. I just couldn’t see myself in College Park or Philadelphia.
I couldn’t see myself anywhere else but State College.
I dreamt of screaming in the student section of Beaver Stadium, standing for 46 hours at THON, eating and studying in the HUB and walking around downtown after midnight. That’s all I needed to accept my offer of admission to Penn State.
Making the most out of my four years at Penn State is one of my priorities, especially when it comes to campus involvement and academics. Yes, Saturday football game days, weekends spent going out with friends and traveling for games and retreats are all things I look forward to. However, the academic opportunities Penn State presents to me are unrivaled by all others in my eyes. The professors and advisers are just as passionate about the Penn State experience as the students, which makes the academic experience unmatched. I have endured challenging assignments and tasks during my freshman slate of classes, however the pride I hold as a Penn Stater for my life drives me forward and makes me work harder to make that little girl dreaming of being a Nittany Lion proud.
My love for Happy Valley made it simple to get involved in all the activities I mentioned before.
I had a plan going into college, knowing what it would take to make me successful and happy. I was not afraid to get involved because I knew that the people I would meet would be just as passionate about their activities and about the blue and white. The comfort I feel at Penn State is unreal. It has felt like home for years and I’m thankful to call it my home away from home for four years.
Whether you’ve dreamt of doing the Gator Chomp, the Krispy Kreme Challenge or starting a “We Are…” chant, this is your cue to make it a reality. Trust me when I say that you will not regret your decision. You’ll be at your happiest because you’ll feel the sense of comfort and success, knowing you made your dream come true.