It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post for my website, and even longer since I’ve written one that wasn’t prompted by a Presidential Leadership Academy blog due date 🙂
I guess now is a better time than ever to update this blog, since I am officially done my sophomore year at Penn State (oh my goodness) and a lot of exciting things have been going on in my life. I’ll do my best to compress a year of memories, moments, musings, and more in just a single post.
The first struggle: where do I begin?
I was back in Simmons Hall this year with my roommate and best friend Harshitha, and like last year we were surrounded by an amazing group of friends that got the school year off to a great start. I volunteered as a mentor for the Schreyer orientation called (SHO TIME) where I met some awesome people and formed close bonds with my mentees. The beginning of sophomore year already felt so comfortable, with a support system of friends I already knew and the boldness of being a returning student that helped me talk to so many more people that I have since developed strong relationships with.
With the first semester came a new set of classes and a knew workload, but I was happy to find that a lot of the work really interested me. I took my first hands-on film class that taught me a lot about the inner-workings of film, equipment, editing, and more. I discovered that comparative politics – despite the frequent monotony of the class itself – was a topic that piqued my interest. My first class with the PLA introduced me to a group of unique, diverse, and thought-provoking students, many of which are now my extremely close friends.
The first semester also brought with it a lot of tailgating and football games, complete with rain ponchos, adorable dogs, and buff chick dip. It brought crazily-themed parties, interesting Halloween costumes (Harshitha and I were “rama lama lama” and “ka dinga da dinga dong” from that one Grease song, intense concerts, canning trips, my amazing THON production committee and all that came along with it, the PLA Washington DC trip, formals, Thanksgiving break, and a whole lot of other memories that would create a nearly never-ending list. It also brought a new friend group, the beginning and ends of relationships, and the introduction to people who would touch my life in ways I never would have imagined.
And to think, that was only the first semester!
The second semester started out on kind of a rough note. After winter break, to put it quite simply I was down in the dumps. I felt unmotivated, uninspired. Certain events combined with my annual seasonal depression brought on by cold days and early darkness was not a formula for success. I didn’t like feeling down, especially since I – and I’m sure many others – always consider myself to be a cheery and upbeat person. This sadness didn’t feel like me, and I was determined to break it.
They say time heals everything, and I discovered that while this is true, it also takes a lot more. It takes distraction in the form of focusing on incredible friendships, diving into activities, and trying a lot of new things. I am so thankful to my close pals who always reached out to me when I wasn’t particularly myself, and I am also so thankful to my new amazing girl squad – the winter of women – who helped remind me that there are definitely great things that can come out of a seemingly never-ending winter.
THON season also helped pick me up into higher spirits. I was never feeling down when I was with my committee, from our Tuesday night meetings, to our filming get-togethers, to THON weekend itself. I can imagine it would be difficult for anyone to step into the BJC during THON weekend and not feel completely inspired and in awe at the difference some Penn State students can make. It also gave me some much-needed perspective; that no matter what I’m going through, I am lucky to have what I have and be am where I am surrounded by the people I am so grateful to have in my life.
Before I knew it, the days became a little longer and a little warmer, and it became more bearable to sit on my bed and do homework as the sky stayed brighter past 5:00. After THON was State Patty’s day, then the real St. Patty’s day, followed by my trip to Chicago during spring break with the PLA. This trip was honestly one of the highlights of my time at Penn State so far. We went to exotic dinners, museums, bus tours, comedy shows, and more. Each night we ended up in one of our hotel rooms, talking and laughing until our eyes drooped, and I could feel the pressure of friendship forming with a group of people I could both laugh with and talk in class with about some of the most serious issues plaguing our campus.
After Chicago came the last few months full of memories made with the variety of people in my life. I felt back to my upbeat self as I tried new restaurants in state college, spent late nights eating chips and salsa and talking about life, watched weird British movies, and got ready to the rhythmic bass beats that emanated from 275 Simmons each Friday and Saturday night. The last few months at Penn State encompassed moments that were the biggest reminders of why I chose this school and why I choose to spend time with the people that I do. I am surrounded by selfless, kind, funny, exciting, spontaneous, and unique people each day in a school that provides me with the resources that I need to both have fun and succeed in classes and preparation for my future.
On top of all the memories made this year, I have two exciting experiences coming up! This summer I will be working as a digital media production intern for the Smithsonian Channel in New York City. I just found out today that I will be rooming with my friend from PLA, Liv, in a nice NYU dorm! We are working at the same office and I am thrilled to get valuable career experience as well as the chance to explore the city with my good friend.
And in the coming spring I will be working in Los Angeles! I was accepted into the Penn State Hollywood Program, and I could not be more thrilled to have the west coast experience in the entertainment industry, especially with my amazing friend Christina, who was also accepted.
I have learned and grown so much during this past school year, and I am looking forward to the upcoming experiences through which I know I will grow even more! I can’t wait to see what I will do and who I will meet, and I’m hoping I will look back at this blog post in a few months with new relationships and vital knowledge under my belt. Until then, I will enjoy a few more weeks in good old West Chester!