One of the creepier aspects about State College is how similar it is to my hometown of Mountain Top -- located by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area for those who watch "The Office."
But I find that once May rolls around, I can't wait to pack everything up and call it quits for four months. When it comes down to it, nothing beats being at home.
Although the two towns are alike, State College lacks some of the basic amenities I have been so accustomed to.
First is maid service. I'm a slob. My clothes rarely see the drawers or the closet. I tell guests that all the cups and silverware lying around is fine china. According to the TV show "Hoarders," I have a psychological problem.
At home, my mother takes care of all this. Granted, she cleans while cursing me under her breath, but it gets done. The best part is it doesn't cost me a dime.
Second is menial work. In the past five years, I have worked as a busboy, a pizza baker, a deli clerk, a produce clerk and a road worker. All of these are laborious jobs, but that's the best part.
The truth is, I don't like to think much. Between taking four 400-level courses and starting my candidacy as a Collegian writer this semester, I have had my fair share of thinking for a while.
The worst part is I'm paying to do work at school. Cleaning tables and filling potholes may not be the most glorious jobs in the world, but I'm making money to do them. And at the end of the day, the most mind-numbing decision I have to make is whether to sleep on the couch or on my bed.
Third is the lack of people. If you couldn't tell by this point, I'm a hermit who has no friends. Being surrounded by 44,000 people can be a tad intimidating. More people means more inconveniences for me.
Traffic is one of these inconveniences. When I said my hometown has few roads, I meant it. While State College roads operate like a block system, Mountain Top has streets thrown about randomly. No sarcasm intended, my town has about three streetlights total -- all on the same road. I'm not going to complain about this.
For a small town, State College has way too many intersections. A five-minute walk turns into an Appalachian hike just because it takes an hour for the lights to change and the cars to go away. Driving is much worse considering you are reduced to only navigating by roads.
Then, there are the bars. In my four years at Penn State, I still don't understand the allure of waiting in line for an hour just to be cramped in an undersized building meant to accommodate a one-room schoolhouse amount of patrons.
I can't figure out why the bars are so crowded, considering we have more of them per capita than people. Sure, back home I may be one of about 10 people in a bar, but at least I can get my beer in a matter of seconds.
Finally, I get to see all my friends and family from back home. I miss being able to watch sports with my father or go for a walk with my mother and talk to them both about my day. Many of my friends back home have known me since elementary school. Not seeing these people for months on end is the same as being away from family.
I realize State College is a college-student mecca, and I have to be insane to give it up during the summer when no classes are in session. It's also true that the most exciting thing to do in Mountain Top is arguing over whether the town name should be spelled as one or two words. Either way, it's what I've known for 22 years, and it's my own little Xanadu.
Brian Yermal is a senior majoring in print journalism. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.