Freshmen, walk

Freshmen head to and from their dorms on Thursday, July 8, 2021 in University Park, Pa. 

As an incoming freshman, it can be difficult to understand what college will be like, considering it’s often an entirely new experience. Reminiscing on their freshman years, some Penn State students said they wish they could advise their former selves on beginning their college journey.

“My freshman self thought college would be like all the movies I watched, and it couldn’t have been further from that,” rising junior Abigale Baransky said. “The media paints it as something completely different than what it actually is.”

Baransky (junior-broadcast journalism) said movies she watched, such as “Pitch Perfect,” portrayed college as a nonstop party, and students’ daily lives weren't represented well.

“I didn’t expect college to be only about partying and having fun, but that is what most movies describe college as, which is sad,” she said. “There’s a lot more to college than just partying and going out with friends. It’s a place to find yourself.”

Rising senior Alexandra LiSanti agreed with Baransky and said she wishes she could tell her freshman self there’s much more to college than she originally expected.

“College introduced me to different ways of thinking and ways of life. I had been surrounded by the same people my whole life, so being around new people made this possible,” LiSanti (senior-business) said. “This, in my opinion, was one of the best parts of college for me.”

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Because she grew up in a smaller town, college introduced LiSanti to a much larger quantity of people constantly surrounding her.

“When I first got here, I definitely was nervous about how many people were here, but I soon came to really enjoy it. There is always someone new to meet and talk to,” LiSanti said. “I have met people that come from all sorts of different backgrounds — parts of America and even internationally.”

Rising sophomore Cooper Cox said after finishing his freshman year at Penn State, he wishes he could tell himself to join more clubs and be more involved from the start.

Cox (sophomore-kinesiology) said he didn’t get involved in extracurriculars his first semester because he wasn’t aware of all the clubs offered at the university.

“I really wish I knew about all the clubs and the [Involvement Fair] offered here much earlier on, as I would have gotten involved in the club I am in right now sooner,” Cox said. “Being involved in the school is one of the most important things a student can do for themselves besides getting good grades, in my opinion.”

Penn State's fall 2021 Involvement Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 25-26 on the HUB-Robeson Center lawn.

Cox is a part of Penn State’s Kinesiology Club and said it has been a great experience for him thus far.

“I really enjoy being a part of a club because it gives you the opportunity to make new friends as well... It was hard for me to make friends last year, especially because of the pandemic,” Cox said. “I have become great friends with some of the people I’ve met in this club — something that would have never become possible if I didn’t join.”

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