Leaving Penn State for Game Weekend

As the weather gets colder and colder, that slow lull of restlessness begins to fall over Happy Valley and we begin to think of our home friends and all the fun they’re having at their schools (at least according to Facebook.) It’s no wonder that question starts to creep into our heads: to visit or not to visit? And when we do, it is always a culture shock.

I visited two friends this semester, one at University of Michigan and one at Syracuse University While both trips were fun and both schools were amazing, I can now attest to the fact that there are quite a lot of things that go through a visitors mind when we venture from our Nittany Lion den and head out to the unknown.

For anyone who has ever been a visitor, you must know the feeling of arriving on another campus, getting a good hard look and then thinking “wait, you have sorority houses?” or “why does your campus look like Hogwarts?” Totally fair questions.

An overwhelming shock begins to set in when you and your friends decide to go out on the town. “You don’t wear frackets out at night?” I think as I freeze my butt off walking to the party in a thin top and jeans. I’m easily the most dressy of all the girls because Penn State’s got style, but walking from party to party without a sweatshirt is not exactly a tradition I’m used to.

Just as any Saturday here in State College, we wake up early in the morning and begin getting ready for the game. Tailgating as a visitor is fun – people are constantly coming up to you and asking questions about your apparel and you suddenly have guilt-free bragging rights. Although a lot of comparisons can be made from a week of visiting, the tailgate is pretty similar. Game day is game day, school pride is school pride.

But wait … why is no one leaving? Didn’t the game start 10 minutes ago? Oh, you guys don’t actually go to the fields? Interesting. No matter if we win or lose the game, clearly Penn Staters are victorious in the school spirit category!

And as the tailgate disperses, we all make our way to separate apartments for some much needed rest and relaxation. We grab some food, doze off a little and spend the rest of the day in the loving company of old and new friends. Although the trip is usually quick, it is very worth it. So many thoughts bounce around the heads of visitors as we leave our Penn State family, but surrounded by so much laughter and happiness, only one thought remains in my head:

“Love you, but our team is still going to crush yours.” Naturally.

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