6 Things I Learned When I Toured Penn State

6 Things I Learned When I Toured Penn State

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Last week was my spring break. Instead of going to the beach like the vast majority of my classmates, I decided to fly up to Harrisburg, PA and drive 100 miles to State College to see Penn State's University Park campus. I consider myself a lifelong Nittany Lion fan and I'm very enthusiastic about hopefully having the opportunity to attend PSU. Of course, I did not go on this trip without learning anything. So, here are some things that I learned:

1. Penn State is HUGE.

Don't get me wrong, I love big schools, and that's what I'm interested in. This is probably the biggest school I've toured so far. It's very easy to forget about how rural the area around the school is, because campus itself is kind of like a city.

2. I was very, very far away from home.

In fact, that was the very first thing I heard from the concierge when I got to my hotel on day 1. On the beginning part of the tour where you have to say your name, where you're from, and what you're interested in, I felt a little bit like the odd person out, being the only person from the south while everyone else seemed to be from around the area.

3. It's a small world.

During our trip, my mom and I were able to meet someone from Canton, GA, someone who knows one of my mom's cousins, and someone from the town where my mom's grandparents are buried. It's not very hard to make a big school seem small.

4. Getting home for breaks might be a challenge.

Basically, what was supposed to be a 2 day trip turned into 4 days. I flew up on Tuesday with the intention of taking a tour on Wednesday morning and flying home that night. Well, everything was going as planned until we got to the airport on Wednesday afternoon. The gate agent kept announcing that our flight was delayed...an hour, and hour and a half...and then it was finally cancelled. I ended up coming home on Friday morning, but we struggled to get seats on that flight, and it was also delayed 2 hours. So, if I end up going to PSU, I might have to deal with that again, unless I decide that taking long solo trips in my car between school and home is worth it!

5. It's much colder up there than it is down here.

I got used to wearing shorts and t-shirts at home, and I was wearing long sleeves and jackets while I was up there. Snow days here usually look like about 1-2 inches, while Penn State's usually look like 10-16 inches.

6. Berkey Creamery might be responsible for my freshman 15.

I'm not going to tell you guys how much ice cream I consumed on this trip, but trust me when I say that it's probably some of the best ice cream I've ever had. Berkey Creamery is a famous spot on campus, and rightfully so, too.

Cover Image Credit: Allison Pericles

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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