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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

As I enter my last week as a junior at Penn State University, I can confidently say that I finally got to experience State College for what it truly is: unforgettable.

Initially, I began my Penn State journey at the Altoona satellite campus. Little did I know then, Penn State Altoona would shape and prepare me in ways I couldn’t have imagined until now.

Making the switch to State College was intimidating.

The crowds were daunting, the campus seemed enormous, and I was afraid that what I knew would never be the same.

I was afraid that my friends might get lost in the flood of new faces and forget about the two previous years we shared. I was afraid that, as statistics frequently indicate, the stresses of transition would affect my relationship with the man I love. I also thought that with greater expectations, the academic work would be more challenging and put too much pressure on me.

But as it happens, I was wrong on a lot of things.

It was thrilling and intimidating to go onto the University Park campus for the first time. At first, it was difficult to navigate the busy crowd and the huge area of the campus.

Hesitation was an unavoidable feeling as I made my way across this unknown land.

But as I quickly found out, the campus’s immensity was matched by the abundance of options it provided. The first thing I did to help me feel settled was attend the involvement fair in the fall of 2023. I had met with so many different clubs and organizations that I was truly left speechless by the end of the day.

In that first encounter, I met two representatives from Her Campus @ PSU and felt so comforted and drawn to it. I felt like I finally found something I wanted to do in my life.

In the following months, I attended my first career fair.

To make a long story short, I felt extremely discouraged after meeting with all these companies. I did not know how to talk to people in a professional setting. I froze every time I had to speak about myself and most importantly, I lost sight of why I was there in the first place.

On the contrary, I did not let this moment ruin my future. This was just my first bump in the road since moving to State College.

Academically, I was prepared for the challenge. The classes felt like they were on another level compared to what I was used to. It was like going from riding a bike with training wheels to tackling a mountain on a unicycle.

But with the support of my peers and the foundation I built at Altoona, I found my footing. The larger class sizes were intimidating at first, but they ended up being a blessing in disguise. It was like being thrown into a room full of puzzle pieces and realizing that each one had something unique to offer.

I was wrong to start being afraid of meeting new people. I assure you that there is nothing to be afraid of, so please believe me. It can be good to change.

I have made several new friends, and unlike what I expected, my experience didn’t turn out bad at all.

My relationships thrived and have gotten even better since I moved here. There is so much more freedom and room here to live the life you want to live.

If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice, it would be to breathe.

Everything gets put into the right place eventually, and everything truly does happen for a reason. I had every right to be terrified, but I’m so glad that I did not let it stop me from living my life.

This place has some of my favorite memories.

Here, I had my 21st birthday celebration. I got to know some very wonderful people. My life transformed, and my adjustment process was made simpler by the professors and advisors I met. I celebrated my boyfriend and I’s two-year relationship. However, the most important thing I did was never lose sight of what I was here for again.

As I get ready to begin my senior year at Penn State, I am appreciative of the struggles and victories that have molded my experience here.

No matter how overwhelming or thrilling the experience was, it all helped me become more resilient and knowledgeable. Knowing that I am more prepared to handle any obstacles that may happen, I am ready to seize the chances and experiences that are ahead of me.

Penn State Old Main
Original photo by Emma Wesolowski
Rachel is currently navigating her way through her third year at Pennsylvania State University. Born and raised in picturesque Bucks County, Pennsylvania, She has got a bit of that small-town charm in my roots. One of her favorite pastimes is delving into the captivating worlds of romantic comedies and mysteries through the pages of books. Rachel finds joy in staying in the loop with the ever-evolving contexts of Generation Z by exploring various social media platforms. Family and friends are the heartbeat of her life, and she relishes every moment spent with them. Whether it's the comfort of familiar faces or embarking on new adventures together, these connections are what truly matter to her. Now, here's a quirky tidbit about Rachel: she possess the somewhat unusual talent of reciting any line from the TV show Friends, and it all starts with the first hint of a sentence. Friends isn't just a show to her; it's a personal favorite that has subtly woven its influence into her personality and sense of humor, shaping her in ways she might not even realize. Life is a journey, and Rachel is embracing every twist and turn it brings!