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A Penn State Bucket List From a Graduating Senior

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

As my time at Penn State approaches its end, I’ve began reflecting on my college experience; more specifically my Penn State experience. I’ve been to football games and THON, tried flavors at Berkey Creamery and celebrated my 21 birthday at The Phyrst.

But even in my last semester as an undergraduate student, there’s still so much I want to do. So, here is my Penn State senior bucket list.

Climb Mount Nittany

Climbing Mount Nittany, the mountain overlooking our beloved Happy Valley is likely on every Penn Staters’ to-do list before graduation. The famous hike has been done by thousands of Penn State students before me, and I have somehow managed to procrastinate it until my final semester.

I’ll probably wait until the weather warms up in State College, but summiting Mount Nittany will likely be the culmination of my Penn State experience.

Visit Palmer Art Museum and All-Sports Museum

I’ve visited each of these museums in years past; however, I want to make sure I take advantage of them one last time before graduating. The Palmer Art Museum is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and has numerous collections of art from various time periods in many different mediums. Collections change and rotate, so I want to see the most recent set of art they have displayed before I graduate.

The All-Sports Museum is Penn State’s sports museum in Beaver Stadium that honors the university’s history of intercollegiate athletics and those that helped develop its legacy. It’s uniquely designed, and allows visitors to walk through the school’s athletic history.

The new building for the Palmer Art Museum, set to open June 1, 2024.
Finish a bucket at Champs Downtown

Champs is probably the most well-known bar in downtown State College. It’s nearly unheard of for a student to graduate without stepping foot inside.

They’re famous for their Dirty Sprites and Booze Bags, but if you can gather a group of five friends, you can purchase a Dirty Sprite Bucket for $60. I couldn’t seem to find the exact number of ounces of liquid that these buckets provide, but you can imagine it’s an impressive quantity considering you must have a group of five people with you to order it.

Sit in on a random class

One of the benefits of going to such a large school is that you can get by mostly undetected in some classes. My sophomore year, I had a class of more than 800 students in one large lecture hall. It would be pretty easy to pop into one and learn something totally unrelated to my major.

Visit my freshman dorm and get food from the commons

I lived in McKean Hall in East my freshman year with my still-current roommate, Abby. Our freshman year was from 2020 to 2021, meaning that we spent 95% of our time in the dorms and taking all-online classes.

We spent those months making the best of our situation and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We want to go see our old room one last time.

I know it may come as a surprise to some students in years below me, but we couldn’t even eat our meals in Findlay Commons. There were no tables or chairs, just one large open space. We queued up and moved down the assembly line of food with styrofoam to-go containers, and told the employees what we’d like out of the limited selection.

Since we were unable to eat there, my friends and I would take our food outside and sit on the grass to enjoy it. I want to eat with my friends on a warm spring evening outside of our dorm one last time.

This is Redifer Commons, near South Halls.
Go to one last frat party

I’m hesitant about this one, being that I’m 21 and able to drink at a bar. However, when my friend, Madison, suggested it, she explained that we would never have the opportunity to be young college kids at a fraternity ever again.

So, for the plot, we will go to one last frat party, even if it’s just for five minutes before we go out to the many bars of State College.

Visit every state college bar and sign the bathroom stalls

Speaking of the many bars of State College, I want to visit every one of them before I graduate. I’ve checked off the basics like Champs Downtown, Phyrst, The Basement, Doggies Pub, The Shandygaff, Primanti Brothers and Cafe 210 West. I’ve also hit a few of the less popular ones like Zeno’s, Chumley’s and even A’s Pub at McLanahan’s, but I still have a few to go. The ones left on my list are Bill Pickle’s Tap Room, The Brewery, Sharkie’s Bar, Jax Bar & Kitchen and Lion’s Den.

If you’ve ever been to a State College bar, you know the walls and stalls of the bathrooms are covered in names, inside jokes, graduation years and curses to ex-boyfriends. I want to make sure I sign every one.

Watch one final sunrise over happy valley

I’ve had many sleepless nights in State College. Some for happier reasons, some for nights when I’m returning home after a night out as the sun comes up. Others because of grief or other complicated emotions that we experience over the course of our lives and sometimes all at once.

But the sun always rises over Happy Valley.

At the end of every year spent here, two of my closest friends (previously mentioned Abby and Madison) that I’ve made here at Penn State and I have climbed to the top of East Parking Deck shortly before the sun is about to rise, played soft music and reflected on our year and dreaded the clock that slowly counted down our remaining time at Penn State.

This year, when we watch the sunrise, we will know that our time here is over. We will reflect on all four years, from every tear to every belly laugh.

My cap and gown have been ordered and I’ve applied for graduation. My time here is coming to a close, but it’s not over yet, I still have so much time to enjoy.

Lara is a junior studying Digital and Print Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing. Aside from Her Campus, she writes for other campus organizations and is a member of Penn State's Blue and White Society. In her free time, she enjoys reading, making Spotify playlists, watching movies, and spending time with friends.