If you had asked me in high school what college I wanted to go to, I would not have said Penn State. I had my heart set on going to school outside of my home state of Pennsylvania; more specifically, I wanted to go to New England, where I dreamed of studying in a library on a leafy college campus nestled in between rolling hills.
However, at my mom’s insistence that I look at a school in state, I applied to Penn State (mostly because all of my friends applied) and told everybody that I wouldn’t end up going here anyway. Still, one day in September of my senior year, I drove up to State College with my best friend and her dad to tour campus.
The more time I spent on campus during my visit, the more I realized that my insistence that I wouldn’t end up going to Penn State may have been a little premature. To me, the campus was perfect; it looked like what I always thought a college campus should look like, with beautiful academic buildings, lots of trees, and wide lawns full of students hanging out and studying. When the campus tour ended and I walked from the Business Building to the Creamery (where I got a huge cup of Peachy Paterno ice cream), I got the feeling that I could really belong at Penn State.
A few months later, I visited again, this time meeting with an adviser within the College of Communications. Sitting in the Carnegie Building, I knew that if I decided to go anywhere other than Penn State, I would always regret passing up the opportunities I have here.
I arrived on campus for the fall semester of my freshman year full of excitement and apprehension. I spent much of my first semester overwhelmed by everything: the amount of people on campus in between classes, the immense school pride that washed over State College on football game days, the 12 by 15 foot dorm room that I had to share with somebody I barely got along with. There were times I questioned my decision not to go to college in New England, even though I knew the reasons I had decided to come to Penn State still made my decision to come here the right one.
My second semester was better than my first one, since I was more familiar with campus and college life. By the time spring semester ended, I was sad to leave and go home. However, I wasn’t home for long before I came back to campus in late June to work as a LEAP Mentor for incoming freshman. Spending the summer in State College was the best decision I ever made; I was able to get closer to the friends I already had who were also in town for the summer, and I found a group of other Mentors whom I really enjoyed spending time with. Looking back, I regret not enrolling in summer session before my freshman year to ease my transition into college life.
As I start my sophomore year at Penn State, I am so glad that I chose to come here. Even after only a year, the College of Communications has given me even more opportunities than I thought it would when I first decided to send in my deposit my senior year of high school. The campus is always as pretty as it was the day I visited, and even at such a big school I can’t walk across campus without running into somebody I know. I love studying in all the different spots around campus, and I can’t wait to go to football games with my friends this fall. And, as it turns out, I get to live out my dream of sitting in a library with a view of a leafy campus and beautiful rolling hills after all.