“We are…Penn State!” chanted students on the bus. I visited the Pennsylvania State University in the fall, and as soon as I walked off the bus I could feel the energy and school spirit resonating in the air. Blue and white painted the streets as crowds of students passed me, the Nittany Lion proudly on display at every corner and on every piece of clothing.
Founded in 1855, Penn State has a nationally recognized reputation of high academic standards and university pride. With twenty campuses for undergraduate studies scattered across Pennsylvania, there is a campus for everybody’s needs. Whether it is a smaller, more rural area with less students and more one-on-one teaching; or at a larger, more urban setting with 45000 students, Penn State has something for everyone. About 60% of students enrolled choose the 2+2 Plan, where students complete two years at a branch campus and then transfer to University Park, the main campus, to complete their degree. No matter what, every credit transfers because each campus provides the same courses as University Park.
Touring the campus provided me with insight into the daily life of a Nittany Lion, as I walked in downtown State College and explored the area. Eclectic shops, restaurants and entertainment filled the streets, along with students branded with Penn State pride on every hoodie I saw. Being a campus of 45000 students, I thought that I would easily be lost in the hustle and bustle of the streets. However, as large of a school as it is, the city is so close together that it felt like a small college town and I almost forgot that there were about 50000 other people around me.
The tour took us throughout the entire campus, showing every detail of Penn State. Whereas most other large schools seem so hectic and busy, University Park was on the contrary quite relaxing and laid back. The campus was beautiful, with trees lining the streets and buildings that were historic and traditional. Visiting landmarks such as the famous Creamery, going to where the exact center of Pennsylvania is located, and walking through Beaver stadium are places that make Penn State.
I was impacted by how inviting and friendly the town was, and how much Penn State stresses individual accomplishment. From the over 160 different majors offered, to the variety of involvement opportunities and clubs, anybody can find a niche. At first, the university may seem a little bit intimidating with such a large amount of students that attend University Park, but over eighty-five percent of first-year classes have less than fifty students and the student to teacher ratio is 17:1.
Surrounded by the Nittany Lion tradition, the atmosphere of Penn State is alive and full of accomplishment. At that moment in University Park, I knew that I belonged in Penn State because I know that with Penn State’s highly held reputation everybody and anybody can excel.