Many times when you meet a Penn Stater, they are not the first Nittany Lion in their family. Whether it’s a Penn State sibling, parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent, they’ve been brainwashing you for as long as you can remember.
The tradition of being a Nittany Lion is taken very seriously among some families. There are some things that only Penn Staters truly understand, and some that only Penn Staters with Penn State family members understand. If you grew up in a Penn State household, you can relate to a few, if not all, of these.
Growing up, you thought Joe Paterno was a distant Grandpa.
By the way your parents talked about JoPa and how excited they got every time he ran on field before a football game, you thought he must be another relative who was too busy to make it to Thanksgiving.
You thought all college campuses were that big.
If you ever visited Penn State as a child for a football game or for a nice weekend, you probably walked around campus without realizing the enormity of it. By the time you got to high school and started to look at other universities, you were shocked that you could walk across campus in less than 10 minutes.
You know the difference between good ice cream and bad ice cream.
Let’s just say that if you don’t make a trip to the Creamery before you go home for break, there’s a real problem. Penn State ice cream is an asset to your family. You were born and bred off this stuff.
You owned Penn State apparel before you could talk.
You can look at any stack of baby pictures and find at least one photo of you repping your future school. Your parents were priming you for the Penn State cult as long as you can remember.
You’ve been brainwashed since birth.
When it came to applying to colleges, you had no other choice but to apply to Penn State (not like you wanted to apply anywhere else). You knew since you were a cub that you were meant to be a Nittany Lion.
You have had Penn State ornaments around the house for as long as you can remember.
You can find at least one Penn State decoration in your house, even if it’s just a Penn State Christmas ornament or a game day flag.
Your parents text you during the football games.
While standing in the student section at Beaver Stadium, you can expect to receive live texts from your parents after every major play and touchdown as they watch from home.
There are no family gatherings without the words “When I was at Penn State…”
You have heard censored versions of college stories at family holidays. It will probably be another 5-10 years until it will be okay to share your own.
Everyone asks about your dorm.
The summer before your freshman year when dorm assignments were sent out, you had to call every member of your family who went to Penn State to tell them what dorm you were in because it might have been theirs, too.
Penn State grilled stickies are a staple.
Although stickies have lost popularity with the current generation at Penn State, these favorite desserts from Ye Olde College Diner are still held on a pedestal in your family.
You had a picture on the lion shrine since day 1.
This isn’t your first rodeo on the lion shrine. You had your picture taken on the lion since the first Penn State football game you attended as a kid.
You share a special bond with family because you are both a part of the Penn State cult.
Whether or not you like to admit how similar you are to your family, you share a special bond through the Penn State culture. You understand the struggle of living in East Halls, the joy of lying on Old Main and the thrill of tailgating before a football game.
So even though your parents have been dropping subtle Penn State propaganda your entire life, you are completely fine with it because you always knew you were meant to wear blue and white.