Let Love In

This is one of my new years resolutions. I’m not really all that big on new years resolutions, because I feel that if you put your mind to it you can begin a resolution whenever you want. But while I was sitting at my aunt’s house with the rest of my extended family, I couldn’t help but think about the possibility of having a girl next to me. Someone to share a new year’s kiss with, someone to talk to about all the funny stories our family has been a part of, someone to hold that night, to eat breakfast with the next morning, and to sit next to on the car ride home. I wouldn’t mind the cramped back seat, with our shoulders rubbing because of how squished we were in our tiny Subaru. I would love every second of it.

I went to a party last night. Just over at a friend’s place, nothing special. Literally, NOTHING special. I realized once I got there just how often our group of friends did the same thing every weekend. I felt like I was getting into a rut. I left an hour later. And as the cold wind blew on my face as I walked home, I couldn’t help of thinking back to the new years party, wishing I had someone to walk besides, someones hand to hold as we crossed the street. Someone to whisper to as we got in bed and tried not to wake my already sleeping roommate. Just someone.

I’ve been in a handful of relationships during my life, two really major ones, one which lasted the last year and a half of high school, and the other which stretched through the first two years of college. I learned a lot from these experiences, a lot more than I would have imagined. I always feel like we take away something very important from the relationships we are in, even if they end terribly or only last a few weeks. I didn’t treat these two girls nearly as well as I should/could have, and I realize that after the fact. I was younger, less mature, and just not 100% in the relationship.

But now I’m ready. I’m ready for miss right to show her face. I want her to be beautiful and smart and talkative. I want her to get shy when she gets nervous, I want her to laugh when we make mistakes together. And I want that cute booty, I want it to tease me constantly. I know she’s out there, it’s only a matter of time. But don’t you think she could be a little considerate and show her face soon. I’m starting to worry she’s not out there…

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The Good, The Bad, and The Funny– Penn State 2013 Edition

Over the past 12 months, a lot has happened in State College, making it a year to remember. From the start of the “Hackenberg Era,” to eLion crashing for senior scheduling, to a past professors getting in a heated argument with the Willard Preacher, there has been good news, bad news, and just straight-up funny news spreading around the University. Here is just a small sample of everything we have been through in 2013, the good, the bad, and the funny.

The Good:

This September was a very good month in State College. The month started with the return of Aaron Carter. The singer and younger brother to Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter performed in the spring last year but clearly had to come back for more, and this time at Levels. The club felt like 2001 again as Aaron performed such throwback songs as “I Want Candy” and “Aaron’s Party.”

Speaking of good songs, one of the best songs to ever grace Beaver Stadium made a special return in the middle of September at the home game against Kent State. As the student section freaked out with screams and shouts of “It’s back!!!” Sweet Caroline was played for the first time since the 2011 season. This felt like one of the first time that things were getting back to the way they used to be at dear old State.

September wrapped up with Homecoming weekend being taken over by the happiest 5k on the planet. The Color Run was held in State College this year with the race running itself right through the middle of campus. What’s more fun than watching kids covered in red, blue, pink and orange colored powder run around outside your window? Well, for one thing, being a part of the event was probably a lot more fun, at least that is what 10,000 participants probably thought!

Just after September ended, the Eisenhower Auditorium was graced with the presence of my favorite gymnast (and biggest celebrity crush too), Shawn Johnson. The 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and more recently the 2012 Dancing with the Stars winner spoke to a packed audience of students and community members. Just another reason why I love the concerts and speakers that this University sponsors!

The Bad:

THON 2013 was a great success with the final reveal showing that we surpassed last year’s total by more than $1.5 million and brought the overall total for the Four Diamonds Fund to more than $100 million for the kids. But the fact that students were developing symptoms of hypothermia while waiting in line to get in the BJC did not make for a good end to THON. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt and plans are already in place for THON 2014 to make sure nothing like that happens again.

2013 was not a good year for Ticketmaster, especially in a very clutch moment and for a very special game. Ticketmaster first crashed just as the freshman football season ticket sales were beginning, causing mass chaos to ensue. Then later on in the year, Penn State Athletics reported that the Ticketmaster glitch over the summer caused them to oversell student tickets for the Michigan game. Thankfully, 1,100 compensation packages were offered to the students, which were grabbed up in a little over a day.

For the last few weeks of the fall semester, the HUB Late Night movies have not been offered to the students. Apparently, part of the projector has not been working properly for a while now, and ARHS decided to officially end the weekend movies until the holiday break. Luckily for us, plans to fix the projectors were made over break, and the once popular weekly event should be back in business next semester!

There have been many different responses to the Penn State Lives Here advertising campaign both good and bad, but mostly bad. I am not going to share my beliefs; I am merely here to say the campaign cost a lot of money (more than $800,000) and needed a tour to explain its goal. Recently, the signs that hung from many of the major buildings in State College were taken down and put into storage, so it looks like the end it near for this campaign.

 

The Funny:

With the end of the Penn State Lives Here advertising campaign in sight, the signs on Pattee Library, the Sackett Building, and Rec Hall were all taken down recently…or so we thought. Turns out, the sign on the Sackett Building was stolen. When OPP went around collecting the signs, it was reported that the $1,700 Sackett sign was already gone. There are no police leads so far and the Facebook community has already rejoiced in the news.

Over the summer, State College received “one of the largest non-tropical storms in 20 years,” according to AccuWeather meteorologist Mike Piggot. The streets downtown were flooded with rain water from the past few days, so much that locals were seen swimming and boating through the small rivers. Good thing the flooding happened during the summer, I can’t imagine the absurdities that would have happened during the semester.

Some fans of opposing teams can be annoying, but one Michigan fan at the Penn State vs Michigan game this year crossed the line and paid the price. From an eyewitness report, one Michigan fan that was standing with his buddy in the stands became confrontational with the students who surrounded him. At one point after Michigan scored, he began taunting everyone. That’s when security came in and attempted to escort him away before he grabbed on to the railing, refused to leave, took some swings at the state police, and got pepper sprayed in the face before being dragged out. It’s true what they say: A picture can say a thousand words.

After a video of Jeremy Fry, a Celtics Fan who exploded into song and dance to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” at a Celtic game went viral four years ago, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to do the same. That’s exactly what Devon Fields did in the new Pegula Arena. It doesn’t quite stand up to Fry’s version, but it’s still plenty entertaining.

Top 10 Penn State Moments of 2013

In the spirit of “Top 2013” lists, I figured a Penn State list would be in order. It was a long year filled with plenty of memorable moments in both sports, campus life and beyond. Though this year was full of many different newsworthy events, all of the significant events that I listed were events that I think brought us all closer together as a university and as one big family. We’ve been battered and bruised in the past, but we have been making great strides every day to show the world that we are (still) Penn State!

#10- Pegula Ice Arena Opening

This fall, the Pegula Ice Arena opened its doors to the public and to the men and women’s ice hockey teams after months of construction. The arena now hosts both teams game’s in its 6,000 seat main rink, with 1,000 of those seats being part of the Roar Zone—the hockey student section. It gets awfully loud in during a game, but that is exactly what Mr. Pegula had envisioned. On the night the arena opened for the first public viewing, he spoke about how he wanted this arena to be the loudest, most feared hockey arena in the nation. He also had hopes for the arena to be able to host state, regional and national ice hockey events. All of this will hopefully become a reality in the New Year is hockey season is already under way.

#9- McGloin’s Big Start in Oakland

It was a big deal last year when Matt McGloin got signed by the Oakland Raiders after going undrafted in the NFL, and it was an even bigger deal when reports this summer stated that McGloin was making a big impression on the higher-ups and pushing for the spot as backup quarterback. But the best news came about a month ago as he was named the starting quarterback in a game against Houston Texans, a team which had the top passing defense in the NFL at the time. I know my eyes were glued to the TV that weekend as McGloin brought honor to us all by beating the Texans 28-23. He threw 197 yards, completing 18-of-32 passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His performance hasn’t been nearly the same since, but he sure had a stellar come-out game.

#8- World Campus Turns 15

In 1998 Penn State World Campus was first launched with only 41 students. But now, 15 years later, the campus has almost 12,000 students studying more than 90 programs or degrees. World Campus was originally created to help, “adult learners who may be balancing career, family, and education,” said Wayne Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. But now, students in many age groups and from all 50 states and 54 different countries are enrolled. World Campus is constantly growing and always improving as it was named No. 2 for online graduate engineering programs and No. 5 for online graduate computer information technology programs in 2013 by the U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 Best Online Education Program Rankings. Now there is something I bet you didn’t know!

#7- Beating Michigan in Men’s Basketball

You know it’s a good game when the crowd rushes the court afterwards. That was the case in the 84-78 upset against #4 ranked Michigan. As Michigan was attempting to make its way to the #1 seed only a few weeks before March Madness 2012, we defeated them at home, on Senior Night, in our first conference victory of the season. Pat Chambers was quoted after the game saying, “I kept saying we were close. I knew we were going to earn one somewhere, somewhere down the line. I didn’t know when and where. But what a great night to do it.” What a great night indeed…

#6- State College Ranked #3 College Town

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranks the best college towns in the US every year, and State College was ranked the third best college town once again (we received the same award in 2012 too). What makes this specific award more significant than the other awards that State College receives is the ranking system used. Based on 12 different subcategories ranging from the cost of living to entrepreneurial activity to student diversity, the judging committee looks at the entire college experience, including, “The people students meet, the places they go, and the jobs they may hold,” says the AIER. We rank #2 in research capacity, #3 in student concentration, and #3 in city accessibility, just to name a few.

#5- Coach of the Year: Bill O’Brien

Many times this past year Bill O’Brien was awarded “Coach of the Year” honors from different organizations for the work he did with the 2012 Nittany Lions. He was first names ESPN’s Coach of the Year, then Maxwell Club Collegiate Coach of the Year, then the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year, and then B1G Coach of the Year, and finally the Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year. Not only was he awarded all of these honors after he lead our team to an 8-4 record, but he accepted them with the utmost humble gratitude. O’Brien has never been one to hog the spotlight, he has always put the program and everyone involved before himself. I guess we will have to wait until next year to see which honors and recognitions come his way in 2014!

#4- Completion of South Halls New luxury suites Dorms

If you have been in the newly built Chace Hall, or the recently renovated Haller and Lyons Halls, then you know how nice they are. New furniture, new appliances, air conditioning, and a much more modern look make these living options some of the nicest on campus. Chase Hall, which was completely new, has the nice addition of a Learning Station where four students with their own laptops can plug in to one single monitor to collaborate on group projects. Haller and Lyons Hall are mainly used for sorority housing and offer similar amenities that Chase Hall has. Sororities housed in these buildings have a shared meeting room, along with a kitchenette and a living room area for each suite. Construction is not quite complete on the entire project which is estimated to be finished around December 2014.

#3- THON 2013

Last year was quite the record setting year for THON. As people were freezing—literally, some students were treated for minor cases of hypothermia—waiting in line to get inside, the floor of the BJC was hot with dancers and musical performances. With performances by the RAM Squad, the Penn State Drumline, My Hero Zero, Go Go Gadget, and many others, the electric atmosphere never faded throughout the event. And when it was time for the final reveal, we had surpassed last year’s total by more than $1.5 million and brought the overall total for the Four Diamonds Fund to more than $100 million for the kids!

#2- Women’s Volleyball Winning their 6th National Championship

Just a few nights ago Women’s Volleyball made history yet again. The Nittany Lions defeated five other teams starting about 3 weeks ago to get to the championship match in Seattle, Washington against No. 12 Wisconsin who had upset No. 1 Texas just days before. The match against Wisconsin was not as easy as it may seem with the Badgers being ranked No. 12 and our team being ranked No. 2. Wisconsin gave it their all, but we ended up on top, winning 3-1 and clinching our 6th National Championship, the first one since we swept 2007-2010, winning four straight.

#1- Beating Michigan in Football in Quadruple Overtime

The highlight of this year’s football season was, without a doubt, the white out Michigan game. This was one of the most heart wrenching and emotionally battering games I’ve ever witnessed and it went on for four overtimes. It set the record for the longest game in Beaver Stadium, culminating in a 3-yard run on fourth and inches and then a 2-yard run for the touchdown that made the final score 43-40. This was one of those games where I felt like I was completely emotionally invested in the action that was taking place on the field, even though I was cheering from the stands. And quadruple overtimes just added to the excitement and the fact that this game will be remembered and talked about for many years to come.