Category Archives: Campus Culture

Smooth Transitions: Take On Your Campus Switch with Ease

oldmain_amandahuntThis time of year, it feels like everything is all about the freshmen. Advisers and professors assure them that classes feel small and that campus feels like home. The President of the university even takes the time to give an inspiring speech at commencement.

But let’s not forget those who are seasoned students dealing with the same transition: transferring schools.

Some students are from PSU branch campuses, some are from entirely different universities or countries and some didn’t transfer until senior year. Whichever category you fall under, the experience of transferring can be a little daunting. Continue reading

Slacklining State: Your New Favorite Pastime

Slacklining2_SkylarYuen.jpgOn a campus as large as Penn State’s, it’s not unusual to come across something, well, unusual.

It’s easy to assume the circus has come to town when you spot a group of students taking turns teetering across what can only be described as a tightrope tethered between two trees on Old Main lawn, but when it comes to writing them off as another campus oddity, Dear Old State’s resident slackliners ask that you cut them some slack.

“Everybody should come out and try it,” says junior Nick Nader, one of the university’s many, though often overlooked, slacklining fanatics.

When it comes to choosing extra-curriculars that keep you grounded, slacklining probably isn’t your obvious first choice, but according to Nader, slacklining might be just the game-changer you need.

“Anyone that likes to do anything athletic can do it. It’s not demanding at all, you just have to give it a chance.”

Most slackliners fall in love with the sport after dabbling in rock-climbing, but for people looking to take a walk on the wild-side without falling over the edge, slacklining comes in all shapes and sizes.

“Competitive slacklining is where these guys go over 1,000 foot cliffs,” says Nader. “Kind of like Nik Wallenda – the guy that walked across the Grand Canyon.”

What most students practice at Penn State – where the canyons aren’t quite as grand – Nader refers to as urban-lining, a version of slacklining that will guarantee you’ll remain in one piece even if you happen to take a wrong step.

“You can set it up over pools, over water, over anything,” says Nader, pointing out that landing in water can be a lot more forgiving when you’re just starting out. “You can do more tricks without it being dangerous.”


Sure, walking a few feet off the ground definitely earns you some serious points as a thrill-seeker, but what’s the real draw for students who can’t get enough of the slackline-life?

Practicing balance, says Nader. “I know that sounds weird, but not a lot of people have good balance, and not a lot of people recognize how crucial that can be to doing activities besides this.”

At its most basic, Nader advises walking on the line like you would “taking a drunk-test.” Bare feet can also give you better grip, and by increasing the width of your slack (the ‘technical’ term for the line), you can help steady your balance.

Whether you’re making your first strides on the line or taking a seat suspended in the air (“It’s a lot harder than it sounds,” says Nader), slacklining is a challenge worth a student’s time and money.

“You can set it up anywhere and it’s really cheap,” says Nader, pointing out that the recent commercialization of slacklining has created equipment that’s less expensive and easier to set up than ever before.

“All you have to do is just throw it around a tree and crank it,” says Nader. “They make it really easy. You can do it with only one person.”


But just because you can set up your line solo doesn’t mean you have to slackline alone. Nader suggests seeking out the Penn State Outing club or the other various rock-climbing groups on campus, but if you’re simply looking to dip your toes in the water before diving in, stopping to chat with students setting up their lines around campus is your best bet.

“They’re all very friendly,” says Nader. “You can just walk up to them and ask, ‘Hey can I try your slackline?’ and they’ll say, ‘Absolutely!’”

With that in mind, stay calm and slack on, Staters.

Unconventional Farmer’s Market Finds

DSC_3467As a Penn State student, you’ve probably passed the farmer’s market, either on your way to class or while shopping downtown. You probably didn’t think twice about it, shrugging it off as just a place to buy fresh fruit and veggies. While this may be true, it’s not your traditional farmer’s market. Apples, peaches, berries, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, celery, squash, corn—you name it, we have seen it. But as the saying goes, there is more than meets the eye and there’s some rather unconventional items waiting to be found.

Herbs, sunflowers, gladiolus, bonsai, lucky bamboo, cacti, succulent and faerie gardens

Ok, so some of these may not be completely out of the ordinary, but there’s a few that deserve some recognition. Where else in State College can you buy a lucky bamboo plant or an exotic cactus? Continue reading

Common Career Fair Mistakes and How to Correct Them

AnaElmasllari.blogNow that the semester has settled in, it’s time to start searching for jobs. It’s the last thing you want to think about, but it’s stuck in the forefront of your mind, and nothing rushes that reality faster than Fall Career Days.

It’s like a smack in the face when you suddenly realize you have a lot of preparation to do—tweak your résumé, organize a speech, prepare your outfit—who has time for that? So before you pull your hair out, check out Valley‘s list of  common mistakes made at career fairs – so you have one less thing to fret about. 

1. Not doing enough research on companies

This should be an obvious one. Recruiters know when you don’t research their company, so it’s important to get your facts straight.

2. Not coming with enough resumes to hand out

 If you want recruiters to consider you for a job, you should probably have a resume handy to give them. Always bring extra copies, you never know what might happen. Continue reading

Dear Penn State, Thank You for Jamba Juice

JambaJuice_JessicaLaGrecaWhen I heard that Penn State was getting a Jamba Juice in the HUB I honestly could not believe it. Could it be? The smoothie place that I’ve only been able to treat myself to while in New York could really be coming here? In our HUB?  But it’s true; we’ve been blessed with another great food chain on campus.

I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Jamba Juice since I heard it was going to open this fall, but I was sorely disappointed that it was not ready on the first day of classes. I needed my smoothie! So you can imagine how fast I jumped at the chance to get to the HUB as soon as I heard it was open and serving up treats. Continue reading

Rap Sensation Hoodie Allen to Perform at the HUB

hoodie webWhat: Hoodie Allen Concert
Where: Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center
When: Saturday, September 12th at 10 p.m.
Price: Free (must have PSU-UPark Student ID)

“We should take a walk someday. Dream about what we could’ve been. But I don’t wanna leave this place: no faith in Brooklyn”

These are not the words of Ivy League graduate Steven Markowitz, rather his alter ego and rap artist Hoodie Allen.

Although he was lyrically gifted from the beginning, Hoodie wasn’t always a rap icon. Before he smashed through the doors of the rap game, Hoodie was raised in a Jewish household, attended the Long Island School for the Gifted, graduated from UPenn with a degree in marketing and finance, and worked at Google. Continue reading

Surviving Dorm Life

IMG_0562Freshman year has many firsts: being away from home, adventuring out to Fratland, and yes– living in the dorms. Although dorm life is dreaded by many, it can be tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable if you know the ropes. From living with roommates to eating rubbery chicken, here is your guide to surviving dorm life.

Roommates and floormates

Every freshman has a picture perfect idea in their head of their first roommate relationship. They imagine an instant bond, where they’ll stay up all night laughing and be life-long best friends. In reality, you should consider yourself lucky if you don’t want to kill each other by move-out day. As long as you respect each other and communicate when something is bothering you, you should be good to go. It’s important to remember that you’re sharing your room with another person and its equally as much their space as it is yours. Continue reading

Class Hacks Everyone Should Know

HacksPSU.Ponte-2Penn State is full of little gems that every student appreciates: pokey stix at midnight, the white loop when it’s too cold to walk back to your dorm and Irving’s when you just really need a good cup of coffee. But did anyone ever stop and take a look at the hidden gems offered to us on our actual campus?

State College’s treasures aren’t just limited to what’s downtown. Our school is world-renowned for a reason, after all. Whether you’re a naive freshmen or a seasoned senior, everyone can benefit from taking advantage of these class hacks.

Penn State Learning

If there were ever some sort of educational Holy Grail that was blessed by the learning Gods, Penn State Learning would be it. They have everything. Guided study groups, private tutors, designated study rooms – the whole nine yards. PSL offers help in most subjects – from languages to calculus – so there really is help for most students. And the best part? It’s all free. Continue reading

Lara Spencer Homecoming Grand Marshal

SpencerLast week at the annual “Be A Part From the Start,”, Penn State’s Homecoming Executive Committee made the highly anticipated announcement that Lara Spencer, co-anchor of “Good Morning America,” was selected as the 2014 Homecoming Grand Marshal.

Aside from serving as a co-anchor of “Good Morning America,” Spencer also is the author of “I Brake For Yard Sales,” a New York Times bestseller in which she shares her knowledge and passion for interior design. Spencer also is creator and producer of the HGTV series, “Flea Market Flip.”

Madison Benfield, alumni relations director for Homecoming 2014, said that the decision to choose Spencer was an easy one for the committee to make. As an Alumni Relations Director Benfield said her responsibility is to organize the selection process for the Grand Marshal as well as serve as a liaison between that individual and Homecoming. Continue reading

The Five Types of College Guys

Untitled-1While college marks a time in all of our lives where schedules work around naps and we experience a sense of freedom like never before, the amount of work we all undertake can make life on campus feel more like a zoo than a nursery. Men especially, can be sorted into very specific groups once they become comfortable in their own skin.

Welcome to college, a zoo with exhibits to the five types of college guys:

Frat Guy (Frattus Shotgunapabst)

Tending to flock in herds of four or more, the Frat Guy relies on his keen survival instincts to adapt to any environment. The alphas of each tribe—known as “bros”—are easily identifiable and can be differentiated by the Greek designation on their chests and the height of their white socks inside of their boat shoes.

During mating season, which typically spans from August to May, the fraternal prairies roar with the thumping of Avicci and a constant barrage of cans hitting metallic garbage containers. Continue reading