Penn State students know better than anyone what it means to have school pride run deep in your veins. And I mean deep.
And although the school has grown and evolved in many ways over the years, there are just some things about Penn State that never change.
Even alumni who haven’t stepped foot on campus in decades would be able to pick up right where they left off years ago: bar hopping on College Ave., trekking to class knee-deep in snow, grabbing a fresh grilled sticky after class, and tailgating their faces off every weekend during football season.
If you are — or were — a PSU student, you also know there are a few phrases that would never, ever come out of our mouths. The following are some of those:
1. “I thoroughly enjoyed CAS 100.”
CAS 100 is a course at Penn State that aims to improve students’ public speaking skills and make them better, more confident communicators. Basically, you’re forced to reach your highest level of discomfort on a weekly basis and be thankful that the prof pushed you to the point of almost vomiting in front of 500 kids every Tuesday/Thursday. The best part? Almost all, if not all, students are required to take it.
2. “The wait at the Waffle Shop isn’t long at all.”
I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve shaved a few years off my life waiting in the Waffle Shop line. Craving a big, buttery Belgian with a side of bacon after a rough night out? Better pitch a tent, pal.
3. “I’m feeling a chill night — let’s go to the Den.”
If by ‘chill’ you really mean ‘blackout and spend the entire next day questioning your life choices,’ then sure.
4. “The Willard Preacher didn’t wear his red hoodie today.”
We have so many questions: Does he wash it after wearing it five days a week? Does it smell? Is he cold in the winter without a parka? Why does he feel so strongly that we’re all going to hell? We may all be sinners who are damned to hell, but at least we know how to do laundry.
5. “Scheduling classes is a breeze!”
Scheduling your classes at Penn State? It’s the Hunger Games, college edition. At 11:59 on the eve of your assigned scheduling date, you sit hunched over your notes, the only light in the room coming from your laptop, which holds your fate in its fiery trenches. Your list of class ID numbers you’ll type in to the scheduling form stare back at you — mocking you — saying, Other students will type me in faster. There won’t be any room left in the class. Get ready to stay a fifth year, baby. Sweating, you look to the clock — 12:00 a.m. May the odds be ever in your favor.
6. “15 minutes is plenty of time to get from Willard to the Business Building.”
Newsflash to whichever faculty member assumed that the average student’s stride is comparable to Usain Bolt’s: Campus is over a mile long from one end to the other and trekking to Smeal is 100% uphill. You’d have to be a freak of nature — or a cheetah — to make it from one end of campus to the other in the allotted 15 minutes. Knees to chest, kids, if you want to make it to Accounting on time.
7. “West Halls Cookies Aren’t That Great.”
West Halls cookies are all there ever was and all there ever will be.
After a long day at class there’s no comfort like biting into a freshly baked cookie made by the sweet ladies at Waring Commons. These sweet angels churn out over 8,000 made-from-scratch cookies per day, which means you’re almost guaranteed to snag one only seconds out of the oven. West Halls’ buttery, gooey, melty-in-the-middle cookies have literally made Penn State history: this video describes what goes into baking the legendary cookies.
8. “Catching a CATA bus is so easy and convenient!”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by a CATA bus. Thinking about hopping on the Woop to get to your 1:15 to save you from trudging through the snow? Think again. That’s rush hour, my friend. Those suckers are packed like sardines — full of students who, unlike you, get a nice toasty ride to class.
9. “Oh, an exam the Monday after THON? No problem.”
Totally plenty of time to study for it. FTK!
10. “I had Canyon for dinner. Sober.”
When you’re stumbling around drunk at 2 a.m. on Beaver Ave., Canyon is the most divine, mouthwatering gourmet Italian pizza of your dreams, crafted by the hands of the gods. When you’re sober, it’s just (bad) pizza. In Canyon’s defense, you can’t expect too much from pizza that costs a buck a slice, and let us just remember: A bad piece of pizza will always taste better than a really great bowl of vegetables.
11. “I wish football season was over.”
Penn State’s student section is ranked #1 in the country. Penn Staters live for football season, when the only reason for ever waking up before noon on the weekend is to get a prime spot for tailgating; when we shamelessly paint our entire bodies and scream until our throats burn; when our diets are made up of 2% Natty Light and 98% chicken finger baskets; and when we get to stand hand-in-hand with 21,000 of our fellow students singing the alma mater after taking home a W. Basically: Football season ends. Depression ensues.
Penn State has consistently provided some of the best years of people’s lives. Although it’s one of the largest schools in the nation, its traditions and expansive alumni network keep it feeling like a tight-knit community.