Shipping Up to Boston

After graduation, I’ve been spending time at home while job hunting. This summer is actually the first since my freshman year of college that I’ve spent at home. So, after unpacking for the first time in four years, it’s been pretty great to spend some time with the family.

But, as I’ve said many times before, I love to travel. In addition to this being my first summer at home in three years, it’s the first summer I’ve had time to visit a lot of my friends. We’ve spread out across the country as college progressed, so I finally had a chance to visit their necks of the woods. A few weekends ago, I drove up to Boston to visit two very wonderful friends of mine who are students at Boston University.

Boston is a fantastic city, especially for college students and young adults. It’s a great combination of city life and history, two of my favorite things. And of course, I couldn’t resist some great photo opportunities while I was there.

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This was taken from the 19th floor of StuVi2, which is one of the dorm buildings at BU. The 19th floor has floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of Boston and the Charles River. In this picture, if you squint hard enough you can even see the State House in the background.

In the interest of full journalistic disclosure, this is actually an Instagram I posted over the weekend, so it does have a filter on it (I’m pretty sure I used Dogpatch). I love playing around with Instagram and using it as a social media tool. Some of my favorite classes in college were those where we discussed the use of Instagram and filters. Since this picture was for my personal account and not a journalistic piece, I figured I could get away with a filter or two for the weekend.

I had a great time in Boston (especially visiting the North End and the famous Mike’s Pastry for some cannolis), and I can’t wait for my next New England trip.

Life Updates: I’m a grad!

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So, for a few life updates since I last posted. If you head over to the “about me” section on this website, you might notice a few changes. That’s right. Instead of “Penn State senior,” I am officially a “Penn State alumna.” It’s the most awesome and terrifying change ever.

One the one hand, it’s pretty darn cool to say that I’m an alumna. It took four years of hard work, a few tears, and maybe even a little blood and sweat, but I am now officially an alumna of the Pennsylvania State University with bachelors degrees in Journalism and International Politics with a minor in History. I also had my Schreyer Medal Ceremony and received my honors medal for completing the honors requirements and writing my thesis.

After a wonderful, whirlwind weekend of graduation with equal parts joy and nostalgia (yes, yes I did cry while singing the Alma Mater for the last time), I threw everything in my room into my car and drove home…

…Only to return to State College the very next day (even when I leave this place, I can’t stay away for very long). I had one more week of work before my job transferred me to a location closer to home (the plan is to work for the summer and job hunt). I also wanted to stick around to help celebrate a good friend’s birthday, so in order to deny that graduation actually happened and it’s time for me to be a “real adult,” I decided to stay in State College for another week or two.

State College summers are probably one of my favorite things. Ever since spending all of last summer living and working in State College, I realized that the only thing better than going to school at Penn State is living in State College during the summer. State College summers have all the perks of the regular year at Penn State with none of the lines or wait times. It’s basically a win-win.

I’m staying with one of my best friends who also just graduated, and we’re enjoying our time by putting out all the job applications in the world (which isn’t actually as scary as movies make you think it is — believe it or not, once you nail a cover letter, it’s kind of fun!)

Anyway, that’s it for now with the life updates. Always more to come!

A Love Letter to the Place that Built Me

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Dear Penn State,

Four years ago, as a senior in high school, I fell in love. No, not with a boy. I fell in love with something much better. I fell in love with a place. Specifically, a few square miles of campus in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. I accepted my offer of admission to Penn State, and I never looked back.

Over the next four years, I fell even harder. I fell in love with blue and white and Success with Honor and football Saturdays and wrapping my arms around my best friends as 108,000 people sang the words to the Alma Mater as we played and cheered for those who came before us and those who will come after us.

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I fell in love with the Nittany Lion and the Blue Band and drum major flips over the 50-yard-line and 99-yard interceptions and quadruple overtime games and being recklessly thrown into the air by strangers and rallies in Beaver Canyon when we were given back what was rightfully ours.

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I fell in love with terrible $1-a-slice pizza and Wings over and Death by Chocolate milkshakes from the Creamery and grilled stickies and West cookies.

I fell in love with a college newsroom and trips to Marg’s for ravs and inside jokes and R-Kelly marathons and random quotes. I fell in love with a new type of journalism and spending too many nights out at Innovation Park.

I fell in love with FTK and Springfield and raising my diamonds and crying alongside 15,000 other students and water gun fights and bubbles and the joy of a child.

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I fell in love with gorgeous fall days on  HUB Lawn and spring at the Arboretum and snowball fights on Old Main.

I fell in love with $4 Cafe pitchers and Monkey Boy Thursdays and Twenty-Phyrsts and closing down the bar shouting the lyrics along with  My Hero Zero and Phyrst fries and late night trips to Jimmy John’s.

 

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I fell in love with all the late nights spent with friends as we laughed while doing mountains of homework because we weren’t sure if we should laugh or cry and laughing seemed easier. I fell in love with Bachelor Wednesdays and Friday night movie nights and heart-to-hearts and movie nights in Borland and taking naps on the conference room floor because we were too tired or too busy to actually make it to bed.

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I fell in love with academics and classes and the hearing the stories of the most interesting professors I’ve ever met and trips abroad and getting lost in Prague and exploring London and learning from my peers and maybe teaching them something too.

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I fell in love with all the good times for the memories they have given me. I fell in love with the wonderful friends who will have my back long after I leave this place. I fell in love with the lessons I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had. And I fell in love with the bad times too for the lessons they’ve taught me and the ways in which they made me stronger.

I fell in love with all the big things and a million little things at Penn State. I fell in love with this place, this school, this family, this feeling. I threw myself into Penn State completely, unreservedly and wholeheartedly. I have loved Penn State with everything in me, and somehow, Penn State found a way to love me back.

I’m a different person now from the person I was four years ago when I first moved in. I’ve grown and changed and learned and loved and laughed and lost and hurt and cried and thought and moved and danced and lived. Penn State is the place where I truly, completely felt 100% comfortable being me. Penn State accepted me for who I was and made me into the best version of myself. Penn State is the place where I learned to love who I am and feel confident and wear black leather jackets and red lipstick just because I can.

Penn State took me in as a wide-eyed freshman still trying to figure out life and turned me into the best version of myself. At Penn State, I am my favorite version of me. These few square miles of campus have been my home for the past four years, and I can’t imagine a better place to spend them. I don’t know a lot in this world, but I know more than when I came in. I don’t want to leave, but I can do so knowing that I have zero regrets. If I could do it all over again, I would. And I wouldn’t change a thing. So thank you Penn State. Thank you for loving me and building me and letting me live life to the fullest. Thank you for being more than a school. Thank you for giving me a second family and the knowledge that no matter where I am, I’ll carry you in my heart. Thank you for making this place feel like home and then making sure that I’ll feel at home anywhere I find another Penn Stater.

I love you Penn State. I loved you four years ago, and I’ll keep loving you long after I leave. I’ll be seeing you again.

Love,
Mary