Editor’s Note: This was written on August 14, 2011 and is being re-posted on August 17, 2012.
During your tour at Penn State as a senior in high school, the Lion Scout, or Ambassador, or whatever its called, tells you “everything” you need to know about starting your life at Penn State. You ask the questions you can think of, about dorm rooms, football games, tuition, etc. But that’s all the obvious shit that you don’t really care about, and the Lion Ambassador just keeps saying “Get involved”, “Make new friends”, and my personal favorite, “Keep an open mind”. Bla, bla, bla.
We are here to tell you 10 things that, until now, no incoming freshman at Penn State has ever had the privilege of knowing. As freshman ourselves, we did not have such a fantastic website to inform us about some of the quirks of being at Penn State, and as a result, we fell victim to some of these tips you will soon read. So we decided to write 10 of the most important things you should know, from us (a completely unbiased source, that was in your exact shoes 3 summers ago) – The School Philly (Penn State’s top website, social media tool, and party animal), to you – a young, scared, excited, and nervous incoming freshman.
We are extremely jealous of you. Shit, we envy you, getting ready to embark on the best four years of your life, while we are thinking about how much we would pay to go back to freshman year. With that being said, we are…Penn State. So despite the jealousy, we wanted to make your freshman year, and essentially your Penn State career, as amazing as possible, by giving you these essential tips as you begin your undergraduate career at the greatest school in the world.
So without further ado, here are 10 Important Tips For Penn State Incoming Freshman.
10. Do NOT wear the “Freshman Lanyard” thing
Ok, girls have the wristlet thing, so they can get away with. This is mainly for guys I guess.
You have a key to your dorm room. Sick. Congrats. Whatever. But nobody else gives a shit because everyone has their own key. Be a normal person, and put the key in your pocket. It’s that simple.
9. Do NOT buy basketball season tickets
This is by no means a knock on the basketball program, on Nittany Nation, or anyone involved in Penn State basketball marketing. I, myself, am one of the biggest Penn State basketball supporters and have worked Penn State basketball games for Penn State Sports Properties. We are friends with many of players (look for interview with starting PG Tim Frazier, coming soon), and we go to pretty much every home basketball game. In fact, our very own J-Money played ball with Billy Oliver aka Dolla Billz in high school, in Chatham, NJ. Freshman year, we went to Madison Sqaure Garden for the NIT Final Four.
However, although there are some perks for buying season tickets, there is no need to purchase them for basketball. If you want to, go for it, but we just wanted to inform you, that you can walk up on game day and get a student ticket for $5, for basically any game. You might not be sitting first row, but you will get a decent seat for $5. That’s just the way it is. I’m not happy about that, but that’s how it is. So why waste the money on season tickets, when there are games during winter break you can’t go to, and other games that you just don’t feel like going to. Hopefully, one day, Penn State has an elite basketball program, and season tickets sell out every year. But until then, no need on wasting your money.
8. Do NOT buy text books right away
If at all. Biggest mistake I made as a freshman was buying my entire list of text books before I even went to the classes. Fuckin’ loser. I haven’t bought a text book since then. Listen, if you are one those asshole kids, who grades mean everything to you, and you need to get a 3.8 to make your parents happy, then fuck you, buy every single text book and have an awful time in college.
But for the regular college student, who wants to have the best four years of his/her life, develop life-long friendships and relationships, and go on to be a successful human being, you don’t need to read every page of every book to get a 3.5 GPA. Actually, you don’t really need to read the text book at all for most classes. Every class is different, so there are some classes where you might need the text book, but like I said, I have not purchased a text book in 3 years, and I currently have a 3.4 GPA. Between Nittany Notes, Lion Tutors, NoteHall, roommates, and answers being passed around, a lot of times you won’t even need the text book. I promise. In fact, a lot of times, you will find yourself not even going to class, but that’s your call.
Ps. Lion Tutors (you will learn about it) is well worth your money.
Pps. That is not an advertisement. I am dead serious. Helped me do very well, in many classes. (Thanks Josh).
7. There are answers to many classes, especially online classes, floating around
Find out which classes you can get answers for, and take those classes. Relax, I’m not saying to cheat, I am strongly against cheating. I would never cheat in college (cough, cough). I am saying to strategically select your schedule. There are many Gen ED’s you have, that have absolutely nothing to do with your major. So take the classes that will bump your GPA up, so you can afford to get a C+ in Bio, Chem, or Accounting, or whatever your harder classes are. It is very important to get your GPA up your first two years in school, so you can establish a good GPA. Very easy to maintain the GPA, very hard to improve it. Which brings me to #6….
6. Get your GPA up, because it is only going to get worse
Freshman year, you should be taking relatively easy classes. A lot of classes that don’t matter, but a lot of classes where you can get an A. It is important to get an A- instead of a B+ or an A instead of an A- freshman year, because once you establish a good GPA, it is hard to fuck it up. For example, I am going into my senior year and I have a ton of credits under my belt. So, if get a 2.8 next semester, my overall GPA will drop from a 3.40 to like a 3.36. Big fuckin’ whoop. Going along with that, as you go through your four years at Penn State, partying will become a lot more important than grades, because you will realize that grades don’t matter (See: Sam Richards and Frank Clemente, Sociology). There are a lot of things in life way more important than grades, and you will realize you want to enjoy the limited time you have at Penn State (it goes fast as hell), before you graduate. At least that’s what you should be thinking.
5. Guys: keep alcohol in your dorm room
It was #5 on our top 10 party mistakes to avoid. It’s the ticket to her panties. When you bring a girl back to your room, you must have alcohol for her to drink, just in case. It’s always a good ice breaker, it can be a pre-game thing, a post-game thing, whatever. But you need it in your dorm room.
4. Don’t be ‘too cool’ when you get back home and see your buddies
Yea, yea, yea, you go to Penn State. Your 18 and you party on the weekends, no fuckin’ way?! Everyone at Penn State parties. Don’t go home when you see your boys (or girls) from high school, and act like your the fuckin’ man (or woman), because a. you’re not, and b. they don’t give a shit. Trust me, I know and you know, that Penn State is the greatest place on Earth, but you don’t gotta rub it in your friends’ face that go to West Chester, Temple, Bloomsburg, Rowan, Rutgers, Pitt, Nova, St. Joes, etc. Be humble. They’ll find out when they visit PSU for themselves. Let the school do the talking.
3. Get involved in THON
This is a must. THON is the largest run student philanthropy in the world, and it is at your school. Most freshman think they know what THON is, but don’t really understand it until they go through it for the first time (I thought it was a big 2-day dance party when I was in high school, no joke). I am not going to go in detail about what it is (you will quickly learn about it). But you will, without a doubt, regret not being a part of it, if you do not get involved. I promise. THON is the greatest thing at Penn State, that is unique to every other school. Drinking, smoking, sex, etc, (while all is incredible at Penn State), every college has those things. No other school on the planet has THON. It will truly be the most humbling, important experience you have at Penn State. I guarantee it.
2. You are NOT going to have sex with 20 girls your freshman year
At least, I don’t think you are. I mean, come on. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a big fuck fest. Yes, you will drink a lot. Yes, you will have a lot of fun. Yes, you will meet a lot of girls. And yes, you will hook up with a lot of girls. But this is still real life, it’s not that easy. Hopefully you get some under your belt freshman year, but don’t expect to be Ron Jeremy your first year at Penn State.
1. Football games are crazier, louder, and better than whatever you are envisioning in your head
I am born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, a die-hard true four-sport Philadelphia sports fan. I have been to Stanley Cup Finals Flyers’ games, Eastern Conference Finals Sixers’ games, Pennant clinching Phillies’ games, and NFC Championship Eagles’ games. But Penn State football is a whole different animal. The first time I walked into Beaver Stadium, I had chills running throughout my body, and I get that exact feeling every time I walk in. It’s really something that can’t be described, something that you MUST experience. And for the annual White House game, the intensity and excitement is through the roof. The downtown area is flooded with people at 8:00am, for an 8:00pm game. The craziest tailgating scene in the world, as far as I am concerned. Penn State football is remarkable.
Ps. If you don’t have a Twitter, I highly recommend making a Twitter. #WeAre