Category Archives: Campus Culture

5 Ways to Make the Most of the Semester

IMG_0569Here we are, back in Happy Valley with a new school year upon us.  Whether you are a returning Penn Stater or a bright-eyed freshman, a new semester brings with it the chance for a fresh start. Have no fear, because Valley has you covered with five ways to make the most out of the semester.

1. Go into the semester with a positive mindset.

Summer gives us all the chance to unwind and rejuvenate from the stresses that come along with school. Just because it’s time to break out the books doesn’t mean that your mindset should suffer. Be sure to take time each day to relax and do something for your mental wellbeing.

2. Join a new club.

Putting yourself out there and joining a new club gives you the opportunity to participate in something you enjoy while meeting others who share commons interests. Make sure to stop by the involvement fair going on in the HUB this week to find something that sparks your interest. Continue reading

Realizing You’re Not a Freshman Anymore

photo-23It’s no secret that all upperclassmen are in denial about not being freshmen anymore. Once they start their sophomore year and they see the next batch of twerps move into East wearing their lanyards and brand new Penn State Football shirts, they start to realize that the many perks that came with the freshman life are now gone. As the weeks go by, reality starts to set in. Things are just not the same.

During The First Week of Classes

The first week of class upperclassmen realize that they no longer have that clean slate of grades they did freshman year. Grades are now really important because they have to maintain a GPA to get into their major or stay in it. All of those C’s they got freshman year thanks to pledging, going out, not caring, etc. now really matter. Thanks Anthropology…

The First Football Game

While preparing for the first football game of the year, upperclassmen realize that the once five-step walk from their dorm to the football stadium is now a thirty minute commute if they’ve moved downtown. Everyone buys season tickets assuming they’ll go to every single game, but if they tailgate off campus in eighty degree weather; a Chipotle run and a nap sound a lot better than walking to the other side of the planet to watch a football game.

Tuesday Night and You Want Nachos

Nacho Night at Findlay was sent down from Heaven to bring joy and happiness to all little freshman’s stomachs. Now upperclassmen realize that they must settle for their own version of nacho night using cheese that may or may not be good, and stale Tostitos thanks to their roommate who forgot to close the bag…again.

In the Hub with No Meal Plan

While watching freshman buy absurd amounts of Panda Express with their ID cards, upperclassmen realize that it was the best when their parents supplied them money for food. Now for some reason parents think their children are capable of cooking themselves three substantial meals a day since they live in an apartment with a kitchen. But don’t be fooled moms, just like Junior Luis Ahumada, your child is probably living of off “Mac and cheese, ramen, and more ramen.”


During THON, upperclassmen are filled with excitement and chills, but they know nothing compares to the once in a lifetime feeling they had as freshman when they first laid eyes on THON.

“[Freshmen] get to experience a moment that few other moments in their college careers can’t compete with,” says THON 2014 Morale Captain Stephanie Dimuzio. “This moment I am speaking of is the moment in which a volunteer steps into the main arena of the BJC during THON weekend for the first time. I can remember when this moment happened for me perfectly, as can thousands of other THON volunteers over the years. I watched my six freshman committee members step foot on the BJC floor during THON 2014. To watch their eyes light up, some filled with tears, was absolutely beautiful. You could almost see the passion, love, and excitement pour out of them.”

And The Worst of All

Upperclassmen soon realize that they don’t have four years left at Penn State anymore. Three years, two years, graduating this year… Seriously, where have the best four years of our lives gone?

So freshmen the next time you ask an upperclassman what year they are and they answer with a cringe, this is why. So live it up while everyone is still jealous of you, but please don’t wear your lanyard around your neck.

This is just a list of a few things, upperclassmen comment below anything else you miss about being a freshman!

Photo by Jennifer Meyers

Things You Will See Every Freshman Do

photo-22You see them on campus with that doe-eyed look and the sweet smell of eagerness wafting around them. They’re the incoming freshmen.

The start of the school year for a college freshman is an exciting but often scary time of transition. Freshmen are cast into an entirely new environment with completely new people, so it’s understandable that they make a couple of rookie moves during their first few weeks. It’s not their fault, they’re new. But it certainly makes them easier to identify.

Keep an eye out for these things you’ll see most freshmen do early on this semester:

Stopping at one of the on-campus map podiums to find their bearings.

Butchering the pronunciation of McLanahan’s.

Buying their books when they could have rented for half the price. Continue reading

Fourth of July in State College


While State College can be fairly quiet over the summer, it is home to the Central PA 4thFest and the best all-volunteer fireworks display in the nation! The 4thFest has been rated among the top five Largest, Biggest, Best 4th of July Fireworks shows in the United States. Not too shabby for a college town.

The 4thFest is a day-long, patriotic birthday party held on Penn State’s east campus. It is organized by Central Pennsylvania July 4, Inc., a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer board and leadership team consisting of over 550 volunteers. Not only do they put together one heck of a fireworks show, but they also work year-round to plan and organize the fun-filled activities for the July 4th event.

The celebration will kick off with the annual Firecracker 4K at 9 a.m. on campus. Everyone is encouraged to participate since there will be prizes awarded to top finishers in all categories. Continue reading

Thank You, Dear Old State

IMG_0593Freshman year was weird.

It was fun, challenging, made me want to drop out and move to California and made me question why I couldn’t skip high school and come straight to State. It’s mind blowing to think it’s over and I’m moving on to sophomore year.

Yes, my two semesters at UPark were polar opposites. Fall 2013 was the time of my life, while during spring 2014 I was ready to transfer. But I wouldn’t change a thing. If I hadn’t come here… well, who knows what would have happened? My experiences, my friends, my life would be totally different and I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

I’ve had amazing experiences at State. Some I probably shouldn’t tell my parents, some they know all about. Each one has taught me something I didn’t know before, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So thank you, Dear Old State, for helping me keep it real my freshman year, and for teaching me things like this: Continue reading

Are Summer Classes for You?

Hsieh.SummerClass2Everybody always talks about staying here over the summer – for some people it’s to work, some to play and for some to take classes. While staying here with your friends seems like a great idea and many people say summer classes are “easier,” they aren’t all fun and games. Here are things you should keep in mind before registering for the summer.

Summer classes are expensive

There’s really not much else to say about this, and it’s hard for students to afford them if your parents won’t (or can’t) pay for them. 10 credits costs about $8,000, and student aid doesn’t always cover summer courses, but only fall and spring semesters. Continue reading

5 Stages of Loss at Graduation

Zucker_friendsgrad2The 55 days of Café are almost into single digits, and reality is setting in—seniors are graduating.  How are seniors supposed to cope with the loss of the four greatest years in the happiest of Valleys? Think way, way back to Psych 100. We learned about Kubler-Ross’s Five stages of Loss and Grief. Though usually applied to dealing with death, this model can easily depict the thoughts and eventual acceptance of moving on from our most cherished collegiate years.


I don’t know the actual date of graduation. I think it’s sometime at the end of spring. There’s no need to pick up my cap and gown. The Student Bookstore will not run out of my height in my gown because no one else is picking their cap and gown yet either. And the other students are definitely not taking them out of the square plastic packaging allowing the folded creases to fade. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Bad Professors

photo1024x682Dear Bad Professors,

It takes a lot of time and energy to be a teacher. Students understand. You take time out of your day to pass on your “words of wisdom” and “undeniable truths.” Semester after semester of syllabi, new textbooks, new classrooms – it gets exhausting. And we understand that you have the upper hand. You have rights.

Surely by performing such a gracious act as passing on your worldly knowledge to your potential successors, you have earned the right to teach the subject how you please, not stopping for one (or a hundred) confused students. Surely by grading an infinite amount of papers without stopping you have the right to slap a C by default on a student’s carefully constructed essay, simply because you’re tired and he used a verb in the wrong context.

Wrong.  Continue reading

You Made It Class of 2014

Zucker_goodbyehappyvalleyDear graduating seniors,

Congratulations! You did it. You successfully balanced your schoolwork, social life and your various extracurricular activities for the last four years. As sad as it is to say it, your time in Happy Valley is almost over. But rest assured…you will be missed.

Valley is writing this letter to you on behalf of the Penn State student body, who will miss you next year. We know you’ll be hearing some graduation speeches next week, but we wanted to take the time to write you a more personal letter to send our thanks and well wishes before you leave.

Penn State holds so memories, and there is a lot to look forward to as an alum. Years from now, you’ll bring back your kids and share your PSU pride with them. You’ll bring them to the shrine and take pictures. Then, you’ll give them a tour of all of your old study spots in the stacks. Most importantly, you’ll bring them to Old Main and show them the true beauty of this campus. Continue reading

The Palmer Museum of Art: Ever Been Inside?

Mannino.PalmerMuseumYou walk by The Palmer Museum of Art every day, but have you actually stepped inside?

Junior Shannon Agredo goes frequently.

“I’ve been to the Palmer many times being an art major and all,” says Agredo. “It’s almost mandatory.”

The Palmer Museum of Art, found on campus next to the Forum building, is an admission-free arts and cultural resource for the University and surrounding communities. The museum boasts 11 galleries, a permanent collection that holds more than 5,000 works of art, a print study room, a 150-seat auditorium and a sculpture garden. Continue reading