Chill, It’s Just College

Like the old girl scout song goes, make new friends but keep the old. When you hit college you are surrounded by all of these new people, all of these new things and all of these new ideas, and to be honest it scares me almost every day. I mean what if I make the wrong decision, pick the wrong major, do the wrong thing and it haunts me forever! I mean everyone says today is the day, or people stress the importance of college, and honestly all of this stuff just freaks me out so much! I stress and worry, and I weigh every decision until I have over thought it so much that it causes me to change my mind about 20 times.

So here it is, step back, it is just college and you will make it through it. Step back and relax, take some time for yourself and do what you want to do. Go for a walk, for a jog, take a break and watch TV or play a game. Go hang out with friends or with family if you want, or even just call an old friend and catch up.

So yeah, this is college, its important and it will help to shape your future, but don’t let it take over, don’t let it take control and drag you down into a place that you no longer recognize yourself. Don’t let your college experience shape you, shape your college experience and take hold of what it is you want to do.

Also, understand that a lot of people are in the same boat as you, and I mean a lot. Don’t let people full, most of the time no one knows what they are doing, many of us are just flying by the seat of our pants and hoping that we don’t mess anything up to badly. People are rarely one hundred percent sure of anything really. So its okay to be on the fence about it all, and its even okay to be nervous about the fact that you are still on the fence. We are all human, we do not know what is coming next, we are all just guessing and then letting the world take us where it wants.

So just chill out it will all be okay, its going to work its self out. So what if you want to switch your major, do it! So what if you think you just failed a test, we have all been there! So what if you are overloaded with homework and you are not sure you will ever make it through, you will find a way! There is an end to every tunnel, eventually you are going to come out the other side, just make sure that when you get to that other side you still like yourself.

As my final piece of advice to you all, for my final “do” while you are in college, its keep calm and keep moving, because you are bound to get through the dark times and to the other side of that tunnel.


Mary’s Top Ten at Penn State

So I know that everyone and their mother has a top ten list to do here at Penn State. During welcome week they are in the newspapers, on bulletin boards, here, there, there are really to many so… I am making another one!

#1 Go to the Arboretum. Seriously though, its beautiful, especially in summer or early fall, but still just any time of the year go and see it!

#2 Take a picture at the Lion Shrine, twice! My suggestion is for you to take a picture at the Lion Shrine for your first week of school and your last. It may be kind of a cliche at this point for Penn State students, but it only go that way because it is a really good idea, and its a cool keepsake for when you graduate.

#3 Go to the sports games. Which games you may ask? Really, just go to any of them, I mean any of them because so far I really haven’t had a bad experience. Go out and explore them, go see something that you never though you would be interested if and only if just to say that “I got to meet the golden snitch at a quidditch game,” or “I didn’t know that this school had Frisbee team.”

#4 Just have a plain old, run of the mill movie night. I am not saying stay in every night and watch a movie, I am just saying that every once in a while don’t be afraid to have a lazy Saturday with friends.

#5 Find a favorite spot on campus. Just go out and explore campus, go see every facet and aspect of it, and then find somewhere that just makes you happy to go and visit it. Trust me, you will thank me during finals week.

# 6 Take a bus off campus. Everyone should do it sooner rather than later, learn the bus system, or at least how to get from campus to Walmart on a bus in case you ever find yourself needing something.

#7 Eat at every meal time. This means make sure that at least once on campus you go to not just the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also the fun and delicious brunch and late night that have all of the junky and really good foods.

# 8 Eat at every dining commons. On campus we have East which is great for the Big O, West which has a really good buffet, North for the Gyros in the buffet line, South for Late Night with all of its tater tot and curly fry goodness, and Pollock where they have really good Brunch, but beware of the lines.

#9 Eat the junk food off of campus. There are some great and memorable places off campus to eat, like Gumby’s for Pokey Sticks, Corner Room because its a class, The Diner for its grilled stickies, R U Hungry for its giant weird Sandwiches, Insomnia for some great late night cookies, and D.P Dough for some pretty good calzones.

#10 Be open to new things. I can’t really nail down any specifics for you, but when the time comes and you think “ew sushi is gross” or “I don’t want to go to the gym, its gross” just go and try it, you might find that you like it, or you might not.


Random Helpful Hints

I don’t really have a subject line that all of these really fall under so here are random tips and tricks that I hope prove to be some use to people here at Penn State.

#1 General Education and classes to take.

So this one is actually really easy, but I am going to give some quick background first. As a Penn State student you are required to fulfill something known as a Gen Ed requirement. Now when you go to you can find a list of Gen Ed classes. Now I only know how to do this for engineering students, but if something that you want to take is not listed as a Gen Ed per say then you can always petition it. This means that you go to where you make a case about how say your INTST class should count as a General Social and Behavioral Science credit, even though it is not specifically listed as such. This really opens up your options as to what you can take and what qualifies. Otherwise there is also an article on Onward state called “Gen Eds That Don’t Suck.” The link for that is and it lists out why and what are the favorite gen ed courses.


#2 Things to buy for your dorm room that people forget to tell you about.

So here are some of my life and money savers. A water filter pitcher that fits into your fridge is a must. This thing has saved me money, its environmentally healthy, and I am lazy and it makes getting water easy. Frozen meals are a god send, I don’t know about you but I just don’t always have time or the patience to go to the dining halls, and some of the frozen meals are actually pretty decent so I say stock up on those, especially in the winter. A dish rack would be helpful, especially if you use dishes a lot in your room, its good for organizing and drying your dishes.


#3 Learning how to live in a noisy hall.

So what I do is turn on C-SPAN on like a volume 4 and then a fan, it becomes the perfect white noise situation that makes it much easier to sleep when there are persistent sounds that would otherwise surround you.


#4 Fans, fans, and more fans.

In the summer you need a big giant window fan to bring in all of that air to keep your body temperature normal, but in the winter you are going to need a little fan that circulates the air in an over heated room so that the air becomes comfortable without opening your window on a 0 degree day.

#5 How to pick a laptop.

So when it comes to school you need a laptop for sure, but what kind is always hard to pick. First look at your major site, they normally have requirements. Past that, just make sure its light enough to carry everywhere and small enough to fit in your back pack.

Penn State and its sports

So if you have not noticed (in which case you just aren’t paying attention) Penn State loves its sports teams. We have everything from Football to Quidditch and every IM, Club, and varisty team in between. And at Penn State, any of them are really fair game as a topic in any conversation. So in this blog I will compile the list of my personal favorites.

So lets start with the biggest Penn State sport of them all, football. This sport is never taken lightly in the eyes of any Penn State fan. The fan base of football rivals that of a professional team. For football games many traditions have been established, some of  them are to tailgate for these games beginning at 8 am and going until the game starts (which has been known to be very late), and others include a White Out game that shows a crazy amount of school pride and spirit, as well as a tradition of standing that really shows how dedicated every student is to the team. Penn State loves its football, and as long as the game starts after 1 pm on Saturdays, the student section is able to show the other time just how much we love those Nittany Lions. The student section is a loud group that really is just one giant party in the stands, its a place where even if you don’t love football, you still can’t help but to love this kind of football. And so I will say that even if you don’t like the sport, just go to one game, it is an experience never to be forgotten.

Then another game that I really like would be the recently created varsity hockey team here at Penn State. With the doors of Pegula only just opening, it is a can’t miss opportunity for anyone to go see the game. For the hockey games the student section is smaller, but don’t let the size fool you, they are just as crazy and rowdy as the fans for football games. I actually tend to like the hockey games better because it is a much more personal experience as the arena is small and personal as you cheer on home team.

Then there are the baseball games, I have only been to one, but it was actually a really nice place to be. On a sunny day in spring, baseball is a great reason to get outside and enjoy the weather, get some peanuts and cracker jacks, maybe a hot dog and you have got yourself a great afternoon, plus tickets are super cheep. Now it is definitely not a high spirited event like many of the other games, but baseball is a nice relaxing way to spend a beautiful spring day and show some PSU pride.

The last team that I have watched was soccer, and while it was late fall and cold, I still really liked the game. It was fast paced, I believe it was free, and it was a great introduction to Penn State sports as a freshman. The student section was small and scattered, but it really was a great way to ease into the sports scene here at Penn State.

College life and discovery

If there is one rule that we should really all follow in college it would be to try to get through college without any major regrets. I mean sure we are all going to have that day where we regret wearing that pair of shoes that gave us blisters, or eating that pita pit that made us sick, or even watching that television show instead of studying for a big test, but when it comes to the end of the year its the big things that I plan not to regret. I don’t want to regret not going on that trip with friends, or not staying for those extra few hours at THON, and I especially do not want to regret how I spent my days in college. I mean sure everyone says that to enjoy school you work hard and play hard, but for many people playing hard is different. Some like to go crazy on the weekends and they do not care if they remember tomorrow, some like to just lounge around and take in the crazy week they have had, and then some want to find a middle ground where they can relax and still go out with friends. Everyone is different, and not to keep hearkening on that annoying speech every parent gives on finding yourself, but its true. College really is a time to find yourself, and not necessarily finding things like just your fashion or what major you want to pursue. College is a time to find who you really are, who you want your friends to be, how you like to spend your free time, essentially in college limitations are in themselves limited, in college you have the chance to become a night owl without your parents telling you to go to sleep, the chance to be a vegetarian with all of these food options at your finger tips, or even the option to find out how you love to spend your free time, whether its playing video games or going out every night. College is to learn about your future profession sure, but its also to find yourself and what you want your future to be like.

Past just social discoveries, its a time to find out what you are interested in terms of education or activities. This means go out and join all of those clubs, sign up for student government even if you are a math major, go take a pottery class if you are a science major, and just go out and find something outside of your major that you want to do. Be well rounded and explore places outside of your normal comfort zone. Take a leap of faith, go and find new boundaries. And don’t be afraid to explore without a friend, don’t pass up an opportunity to join a club or go to a concert just because no one else will go with you, be adventurous, make new friends, go and get out their and find your own way instead of hiding behind people that you already know, you would be surprised how friendly people on campus really are.

And lastly, just because you think that you won’t like it, then you should still try something, that is within reason. Last semester I tried gym classes, eating healthier, and playing video games. I really liked the gym classes and even still go to some of them, I continue to attempt to eat healthier because it really does make me feel better, and I continue to play some of the video games because it turns out that I did really like them. So far this semester I have tried cycling classes, being a vegetarian, and pottery classes. I learned that I like meat way to much to be a vegetarian, that cycling classes hurt my butt way to much with that little seat, but that I really do like pottery and that it is a great way to release some tension. 

Overall, just use college to go out a try something new, to learn how to be alone at times, and how to be in a group during others, and above all just learn what suits you, try what you want, and decide what you like.

Oh the weather outside is… WARM?

When it comes to the weather, I don’t joke around, I am very serious when I say that I do not like the cold and that I worship the days that we have relatively nice weather. Now lets face it I clearly do not make good decisions when it comes to certain things, such as hating the cold and then picking a college that looks like this outside for a majority of our school year:

and this:

and feels like this:

and makes us look like this on a daily basis:

But for the past few days the weather has changed, I mean we go to Penn State so…Photo: Submission by Bhavya Shah!

it was bound to happen eventual, and while I am sure at some point its going to get cold again (my weather app says next Tuesday), at least we have some warmth now, at least its not negative and it is getting into the 50’s!!! That is right this Friday and Saturday it is supposed to be 50! And so the advice that I offer to you today is to GET OUT OF YOUR DORM AND GO OUTSIDE WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!

Seriously when its past 30 outside I refuse to wear a jacket (I am not saying that this is a good idea, I’m just saying that it is what I do), I take the long way to classes so I can enjoy the weather, I run all of my errands so I can be outside, and I never consider taking the bus because I refuse to skip out on what counts as a warm day in Penn State. And I have so much respect for those that see the temperature rise past 30 degrees and look like this…

… and truly take in that warmish weather (but don’t mistake yourself for invincible and try to pull this off every day, 40 and above is the only time I should see shorts AND flip flops) But when the warm weather rolls in, get outside, who cares if there is a little wind, forget about the rain (at least its not snowing!), just get outside and move around, because who knows what the weather is going to bring us next. I am a hermit in the winter, I do not leave my building for longer than I have to, and so these few days of warm and bearable weather are a God send to me, I have enjoyed these days as well as the nice ones that we had over spring break and I will continue to enjoy this nice weather that we are getting. So just get outside and enjoy the weather, today is the first day of Spring, why not celebrate it and go running, play some frisbee, or at least take a walk. Seriously I did not enjoy the warm weather days enough back in the fall, I was to busy getting settled in and thinking I would be able to get away with a sweat shirt all year, so now I am going to enjoy these days to the fullest, besides it is a great excuse procrastinate for all of my tests.


So for this post I will be talking about tow different types of hours that you need to learn, Office Hours and Computer Lab/ Library Hours.

I know, I know every guide, mentor, and parent tells you the same thing, learn office hours. But its true YOU NEED TO LEARN OFFICE HOURS! When you are stuck on a problem or a prompt on a paper and emailing your teacher is not good enough then don’t be afraid to venture to their office and ask them personally for help. Trust me its a lot better then just walking around dazed and confused until the end of the semester and taking a hit to your grad rather than asking for the help you need. Don’t be stubborn and let your grade and education suffer. And of all the office hours that I have been to, teachers are more than happy to help, if anything they are glad that you took the initiative to go and see them in the first place. And I am not saying that office hours are just for those struggling, or that they are the key to your survival for four years, or that office hours are some magical charm that will make your grade better, I am just saying they are extremely helpful, and not just for the purpose of better understanding the material, but to help you become better acquainted with your professor. Lets put it this way how many of you actually know how many students each of your teachers have? Yeah they have so many every year that they may not either, so if you just attend class then your just going to be another face, if you are lucky maybe another name in the history of kids that they teach. But office hours are a smaller and better setting for them to get to know you, and for you to get to know them.  And I am not saying go to every office hour and then you and your professor will be best buds and on a first name basis or anything, I am saying go to office hours and just let the professor know that you care enough about there class to spend your out of class time getting better acquainted with the class.

As for the library/ computer lab hours, these have literally saved my concentration at times. So people always tell me go study at the hub, get out of your room and study, it will help you. But do you know what happens when I study at the Hub? I don’t know either because when I go to the Hub I never study, I can’t! To many people, to much noise, don’t even try. Go to a computer lab, its less distracting then your own laptop that automatically opens Pinterest and YouTube when you get on it, go to the stacks in the library that enforce quiet and are so creepy that you just want to finish your work and get out of there, and go to the silent study lounges around campus, because with that eerie silence and evil stares when I sneeze, I work twice as fast so that I don’t have to be their anymore.

So learn the hours so that you know when and where to make a good impression on your professor through better work, and by showing them that you care.

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

So I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am not the biggest fan of the cold, scratch that I become a hermit when it becomes cold out because I HATE! the cold. So I do my absolute best to avoid it… at all costs. So here are some of the ways I learned to get around being outside longer than I have to.

Tip #1 Use the CATA bus. I am serious, its not lazy at this point its just smart thinking. Learn the routes, leave 5 minutes early, do what you have to but the buses can become your very best friend, and they are surprisingly great at driving on snow covered roads so don’t really let that inhibit you either.

Tip #2 Learn what buildings connect and where they exit to. I know this sounds weird but trust me this has shaved at least 15-20 minutes off of my time out in the cold. For example if I am on my way to South for lunch I go through Simmons, check my mail, and then proceed to walk out the door to the left of mail room, to the end of the hall, over to the stairs and walk down them which takes me to within a 2 minute walk of South. Or in the case of Hammond, you can always enter through Sackett which gets you out of the cold, usually helps you pass up two sets of stairs to get to the upper floors, and it has even shaved time off of my getting to class.

Tip #3 Store food like a squirrel stores nuts for the winter. I have too many cans of soup and granola bars in my room and why? Because when the temperature reaches 0 or below there is no way I am going to the dining halls for dinner. Sure I could order in, but trust me as a broke college student soup is just fine with me on those cold winter knights.

Tip #4 Buy the longest coat in sight. I know I look funny walking around campus in what appears to be my sleeping bag, but that coat is actually the warmest thing I have ever had the happiness to wear. When I came to Penn State I thought to myself how cold can it really get? I now own a jacket that does not come to my knees, or my shins, it is ankle long and I wear it almost every day in the winter, honestly its the best thing ever. So while you may look ridiculous (like me) when walking around campus, at least you can still feel your legs.

Tip #5 Enjoy every warm-ish day. When it comes to Penn State the winter is relentless, it pounds and pounds until you think that you just can’t take this weather anymore, but remember it will end and eventually you will get one nice day, don’t waste it! On that day walk outside as much as you can, soak in the sun, and above all let it remind you that there is an end to this cold.

So I hope you all stay warm, have enjoyed this embarrassing picture of me, and are able to shave at least a few minutes off of your commute in the cold.

Eating and Exercising… Penn State has it all

So this week I shall continue with my theme of what not to do and what to do on campus, and yes once again I will be starting with some food options.

I would say one of my favorite things to do in the morning is not sleeping in, its not in last minute assignments (even though that happens anyway), its getting breakfast. I understand, a lot of people run out of the door with a granola bar or a handful of cereal, running to class with no time to spare and no other choice, but I think that taking extra time to make it to the dining commons is worth it. Every morning I wake up just 20 to 30 minutes earlier and walk over to whatever dining commons is closest or has the food that I am looking for. (Side note, definitely download Penn States Dining App, it is a great tool when you are trying to decide where to eat.) Then get in and quickly grab my food and sit down in front of one of the many televisions and catch up on local news, sometimes politics, the occasional cooking show, or even just the news feed on my phone. Those few extra minutes in the morning make all of the difference, with that extra time I am able to completely wake up for my first class, fill my empty stomach, and spend a little time catching up on the fun stuff that I usually would not have time for. And hey if you wake up to late there is always the mix at Pollock that has a Sheetz kind of ordering system for some really good breakfast sandwiches.

So after you have eaten so much food like me every day and you realize that you need to get to the gym, here are some tips on when and where to get that little work out in. First of all from the hours of 11-7 the White Building gym can get PACKED!!! I mean sure if you don’t mind waiting in a line to get in, and then to get on a piece of equipment, and then to get on something else, then that’s fine, more power to you to go and work out, but its best if you can wait. Go early in the morning before 11, wait until 8 or 9 at night if you have to, or my favorite way to stand in minimal lines and still get a workout are there classes. The White Building offers many fitness classes that go on at all times of the day. They range from things called full body workout to Zumba and Zumba inspired Power Remix classes, they are amazing, they keep you pumped and going because of all of the other people that are in the class, but at the same time you still get in a good workout. If you do decide to go to one of these though, be warned its best to get to the class 10 to 15 minutes early just to make sure you can secure yourself a spot, but I always just bring a book or even my phone so that I don’t mind the short wait to get into these fun classes.

Just Don’t… No I am serious!

So I have decided that even though I have in no way, shape, or form mastered the campus of Penn State, that I am at least some what qualified due to my experiences on campus to give advice on how to get around and… actually no, more simply I am going to write about how to survive campus. So BIGGEST piece of advice number one, DON’T GO TO SOUTH FROM 6 TO 7! Okay so I lied this won’t be the biggest piece of advice that I give you, but seriously listen to me when I say this, if you want to eat at South dining commons do not go between 6 and 7 because you will stand in a 20 to 30 minute line, your food will take forever, and you will not find a table. I mean sure it can be fun to elbow a girl for the last fruit cup, or slide the cooks a $5 to get your food up in the line, but if these do not sound like things that you would enjoy then just wait, or be like me and go at 5. Sure it sounds like a pain, but you get used to it.

So while I am on the subject of South Dining commons here is another piece of advice, if you are in a rush do not get Chinese food. Trust me when I say this you will not have time to eat it. I know this from personal experience because the one day I had to be somewhere at 6, so I went to the dining commons at 5:35 (see earlier than 6) and my meeting was only 5 minutes away so I had 20 minutes to eat. I quickly decided I was in the mood for Chinese food and the line was really short (because it was before 6) so I filled my bowl with veggies, ordered, and stood and waited… and waited… and waited until it was 5:50. Yeah so I had no time to eat, and if you have ever ordered Chinese before you know it is really hot when you get it. So here I am with a container of steaming Chinese and five minutes to eat it, so I did what any sane, hungry, on time person would do… I went outside into the 15 degree December night and ate my Chinese food as the wind cooled it down. I got a few stares but I got where I was going on time. So yes while the Chinese food is AMAZING! Do not think that just because it has a short line it will only take 5 minutes to make.

If you are in a hurry and eating food at Redifer here are some Do’s. Do go before 6, lines to avoid are Hot Steel Noodles and Fresco Y Caliente. Now if you can’t go to dinner before six then your best bet for fast food is to go to the Urban Garden Line which is short and the food fast or the Edomae Sushi line is the fastest (because there is no line and they just package the food for you). If you get there before 6 and still want fast food then The City Grill is really fast, In a Pickle is decently fast (subs and wraps are usually faster than paninis), and Piatto Felice is pretty quick to, as long as you get something that they have pre-made. As for the Redifer Buffet that normally takes some time to stand in line and get swiped, and then wait behind everyone for food, so I might say hold off on that unless it is really good.

Well my new passion is to give people advice and help you survive campus, I am currently writing on an empty stomach so Redifer seemed like a good topic. I hope these tips on Redifer helped, or at least you got a laugh out of my story and I hope that you read next weeks installment of the Do’s and Don’ts of Campus.