Walking to Class in the Snow

Two students walk to class in front of Old Main as it snows on Friday Jan. 18, 2019.

The conclusion of Thanksgiving break means that the final stretch of the year has officially arrived. As Penn State students come back from turkey-filled holidays, they reflected on the lessons they’ve learned in 2019.

Nicole Kilrea said she found her independence and was able to grow into her adulthood in 2019.

“It was a big year in terms of becoming an adult. I had my first real internship, I was away from home for the summer, and now I’m taking actual classes for my major,” Kilrea (junior-marketing) said. “I’m more independent, I can do more things on my own.”

Her summer internship brought her from Illinois to Boston, which she said was an eye-opening experience in terms of living in different parts of the country.

“I had to keep remembering to relax,” Kilrea said. “It’s super difficult in college and the older I get, the more I feel the effects of stress. My biggest takeaway [this year] was just learning how to relax and how to be okay doing nothing.”

She said she is looking forward to her study abroad trip in this coming year, and is hopeful her senior year at Penn State will provide her the space she needs to “figure out her life.”

2019 reflection

Amanda Mazza said the year could be summed up in a few words: busy and eventful.

Mazza (junior-accounting) learned to “be careful with who you get close with.”

“Some people aren’t always who you think they are,” she said. “I also learned that hard work really can pay off.”

Although the lessons she learned may not have been all too pleasant, she said she feels 2019 was a positive year full of growth and learning. Mazza is looking forward to the growth and independence to come in the year ahead.

Tori Cacciotti’s 2019 needed a few more words to encapsulate its impact, and said her year was overwhelming, confusing and self-conscious. She added the year involved admitting she knew less than she thought.

“Freshman year, I was like, ‘Yay! I’m ready to start my life!’ and then sophomore year just hit me right in the face. I’ve been learning about the real world and real life,” Cacciotti (sophomore-journalism) said. “A lot of this year has been pretty much rethinking every decision I’ve made, and just reflecting on who I am now because of it. I’m trying to become a better person.”

She said her year, although it’s been difficult, has been worth the turmoil, as she has been able to learn a lot about herself, the importance of working hard and where she wants to be career-wise.

In 2020, Cacciotti hopes to “not cry as much,” she joked.

“Just kidding,” she said. “Probably just more growth, and a lot of self-realization.”

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