I seem to have neglected this little friend for a few months, but I think now is as good of time as any to remount this pony.
I’ve debated for weeks writing something about my feelings towards the Penn State scandal. I always felt someone with more talent and a better way with words could say it better than I could. I kept my thoughts to myself in order to avoid an onslaught of hate tweets and spam commenters telling me I support child abuse. I think I’m past that point now. Screw what the commenters say and the media and those who have never stepped foot in the 16802 zip code.
I didn’t grow up a Penn Stater. I wasn’t raised in blue and white, I never attended a football game in Beaver Stadium until my freshman year, and I learned about Happy Valley on an accepted students tour. My aunt, a college advisor for high school students, told me that I should apply to Penn State because it didn’t require an additional essay. Ah, priorities. But that didn’t stop me from falling in love with the campus and everything Penn State had to offer. It didn’t prevent me from having the best possible collegiate experience I could have ever imagined. Penn State was what I thought college should be and so much more.
So maybe that’s why I have felt so lost and hurt and confused since November. Maybe this would be easier if I didn’t love my university. There are a thousand maybe’s I could list. Maybe if I hadn’t taken classes with professors who worked for USA Today and the New York Times and the White House and taught me the basis of everything I know about public relations. Maybe if I hadn’t found a sorority to open my eyes to new perspectives and possibilities. Maybe if I hadn’t found THON and learned the power of changing someone’s life. Maybe. But I did.
And now I feel all of these feelings. I won’t say I’m ashamed to be a Penn Stater, because that was never true. I am ashamed for the people who think I am a blind supporter of Joe Paterno because I still plan on going to football games. I am ashamed for those who think students (and our current athletes) had anything to do with these crimes, this scandal, and its cover up. I am disappointed that people can be so clueless, so ignorant and still feel like they have the right to say things to ME … just because I have a Penn State degree. I am hurt that the people who were expected to do the right thing, the moral thing instead felt they were above the law. I am heartbroken every time I hear Penn State in the news AGAIN for something else related to the actions of one despicable man and those who tried to negate his actions.
This is beyond the football. This is beyond the academics. This is beyond the administration. This is beyond the blue and white. This is our new reality.
Men have made mistakes and cowered away from their responsibilities. The rest of us are left to clean up their actions and continue to remind people what it truly means to be a Penn Stater. And one day, sooner than we think, Penn State will be back in the headlines for the GOOD that comes out of our university.
I am looking forward to that day.