I guess you could say I was a pretty big geek in high school. I played the flute in the band, took AP classes, sang in the choir and acted in the plays. But even with my backpack full of librettos and sheet music, I didn’t feel like a dork.
Maybe I did go to band camp and maybe I didn’t partake in any backyard keggers, but I didn’t need to binge drink to have the time of my life. So why I felt the need to leave that part of me behind when I came to college, I am not quite sure.
When I came to Penn State I made sure not to pack my flute, despite protests from my mother.
I was determined to take advantage of my new blank slate and I didn’t want any stereotypes to hold me back. I was going to be the normal college student who went to the football games to watch, not perform during the half-time show.
My bright idea was to rush a sorority.
What better way to shed my dork image than to partake in an organization that I thought was the complete polar opposite of who I was in high school?
I went through formal recruitment in the fall of my freshman year and was so overwhelmed by the hundreds of beautiful girls in black pumps, skinny jeans and pearl earrings that I ended up picking the sorority where I had a conversation with a girl about Disney princesses — obviously.
It was then that I realized being a geek had absolutely nothing to do with the activities I involved myself in — I am just a geek.
I decided then that I wasn’t going to act like someone I was not.
Four years at a No. 1 party school and I have never blacked-out (my claim to fame).
And while I am making myself seem like the biggest loser ever I will tell you that I have, however, ordered late-night Pokey Stix; slept through a night game; danced on top of a frat table; won at beer pong; lost at beer pong; pulled all-nighters; done a keg stand; and become addicted to coffee.
I don’t feel like I have missed out on any Penn State memories because of my drinking habits (or lack thereof). I just learned my limits early on.
I was never your stereotypical dork and I am certainly not a stereotypical sorority girl. I refuse to be defined by any preconceived notions. So, I made my own conventions.
What my message to you is, do whatever makes you happy. Don’t feel pressured to live up to a legacy that someone else has left for you and strive to build your own.
Beth Ann Downey and I (you may recognize her byline if you’ve read any music review printed in this paper) decided senior year of high school that we were going to be big fish in a big pond.
We refused to get lost in a shuffle of 50,000 people. We came, we saw and I like to think that we conquered our own little ponds at Penn State.
I was more than just a member in all of my extracurricular activities and it was in those leadership roles that Penn State taught me my biggest lesson.
You don’t come to college to reinvent yourself; you come to college to gain confidence in who you already are.
So, as I am writing this senior column I am watching “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” which I bought on its release date — clearly I am still a geek. And judging by the fact that I am telling the entire Collegian readership this, clearly I am not too concerned about my image anymore.
I have embraced the quirks that make me who I am and still feel perfectly at home here at Penn State, because that is the beauty of being a Nittany Lion — no matter who you are or what you do, everyone bleeds blue and white.
Amanda Elser is a senior majoring in journalism and is a Daily Collegian style and trends reporter. Her email address is email@example.com.