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The Penndulum

We Are, or Are We?

Old Main at University Park.
Meghan Kessler
Old Main at University Park.

When a high schooler in Pennsylvania is figuring out what colleges to apply to, Pennsylvania State University, more commonly known as Penn State, is generally on the list. Between University Park and the numerous satellite campuses, in-state students have a 63 percent chance of acceptance. This along with a good price due to living in-state encourages many students to apply. Even if they’ve never visited PSU before, many high school students want to be a part of the blue and white colors and scream the “We Are Penn State”. They want to put their arms around their friends after a football game at Beaver Stadium and sing “For the Glory”. However, these are aspects of the university’s initial package that the admissions office tries to sell to a student. For many Pennsylvania high school students, Penn State will only end up being an extended and enlarged version of high school. The inability to escape cliques, people from home, and school pride forced on them is something that high school students should take into consideration, before joining the PSU culture.

The PSU campus has been glorified and because of that, many students have been disappointed when they visit to find it’s just another college campus. This happened to a Pennridge senior, Logan Smith, who said, “I applied and then visited and didn’t like it much when I went”. Not only might the campus not fit a student, but the “vibe” of the college might not as well. On November 4, 2011, a grand jury report was released containing testimony that former Penn State defensive coordinator (1969-99) Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young boys over a period of at least 15 years, and because officials at Penn State failed to notify law enforcement the number of victims increased to 10. Penn State and its fans tried to protect their image and deny how serious the situation was instead of owning up to the mistakes. During this time, it was questionable as to whether Penn State would ever have a football program again. Some PSU fans weren’t disgusted by what was going on. This sparked the term “cult” when referring to PSU. Those loyal to the university showed that they were willing to do anything to back up their school. Smith says, “It’s important for those who love the school to know about situations like this.”

Despite questionable times, some people love the idea of the familiar. Penn State has become an extension of the Pennridge culture. Students have people they’re close with and the ability to meet more, however, they come from the same place. There will always be connections which means there will always be cliques. This, however, appeals to some people. Riley Denton is currently a student at PSU and when asked why he chose the school, he said, “I know a lot of people who went and will go there… I had always been a fan of Penn State, so it was always a college option”. The idea of a whole town being “State College” draws many in, especially when everyone there is bewitched with the same thing. From the Nittany Lion mascot to White Out, to THON, there are many aspects that could draw in potential students. Denton says, “Students here are very passionate. Penn State is a second home for most of them”. For some, this is true and they love being a part of the PSU culture. However, it is important for high school students to take everything into consideration before making a decision that will impact the rest of their lives.

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About the Contributor
Meghan Kessler, Student Writer
Meghan Kessler, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include volleyball, National Honor Society, Unified Club, babysitting, cooking/baking, and hanging out with family and friends. Meghan plans on attending a 4-year university as a communications major to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. She plans to use this degree to become a Journalist or a Public Relations Specialist.

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