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We are… ready 

Brandywine THON Dancers Michael Mensah (Left) and Paul Alberici (Right)

By: Paul Alberici, Lion’s Eye Editor, paa5102@psu.edu

To say a lot has happened in my four years at Penn State is an understatement; I’ve never written a story for the paper in first person so this seems a little
odd.

The Lion’s Eye was the first group I got involved with on campus, so it’s only fitting this be one of the last things I do at Penn State.  I came to college not really knowing what to expect. I didn’t know what I was going to get involved with as far as groups or activities. I didn’t know if I was going to have a big new group of friends. I knew I was going to get involved in something, thanks to some advice from my guidance counselor at Marple Newtown, Karen Brodsky, but I didn’t know what.

I wasted no time getting involved though. At my freshman orientation, I was signed up by one of the communications professors, Karrie Bowen, to join this paper. I was especially interested when I found out I got credit for writing. Coming in with a focus on the journalism side of communication, I regretted not being involved in my high school paper and wanted to make sure I would not repeat this mistake in college.

Being on this paper has been amazing for a couple reasons. For one, it has given me a way to apply my interest in writing in a practical setting where I can earn credit towards graduation, while writing about things that interest me. It has taught me how to honor deadlines and practical skills for conducting interviews. I even got into the press box for the Blue & White game last year. But one of the most unexpected things to come out of being involved with The Lion’s Eye was my joining another group that would change my life. You guessed it — it was THON.

As hard as it is to believe, and some of my close friends and family know this, I joined THON by accident. I hardly knew what THON was prior to coming to Brandywine. I attended the first meeting mainly because my newspaper meeting was cancelled since the adviser of the paper was also the THON adviser, and I had some free time. With nothing else really going on that day, I figured “ehh, why not?” To this day, that has probably been my best accident.

After I saw the power and impact of THON my freshman year, I was hooked. I went on to be the group public relations captain, one of the two dancers who stood for 46 hours straight in THON 2015, and the group’s vice president during my senior year. It’s no secret that this group has meant a lot to me. We
have done so much good for so many incredible people. But this group has done something personal for me. It has given me a sense of being
part of something special that makes people’s lives better. I had the chance to make a difference and be somebody.

I’ve had so many opportunities here. I’ve traveled the world, attended leadership conferences, spoke at events and even went on the field of Beaver Stadium
for a football games. Why am I telling you all this? Because it shows I’ve made the most of my time here and really did what I wanted to do—reinvent myself. Knowing I wasn’t an outgoing leader when I was younger, I entered Brandywine with a desire to change that, and thanks to Penn State Brandywine,
both in and outside the classroom, I was able to become the leader I had hoped to be.

Now for anyone going through college now, I offer this advice: get involved and take advantage of every opportunity.  Keep an open mind to new experiences because you may not realize when you’ll find something that makes you feel like you truly belong. Also, do not let your schoolwork slip.  Never forget why you are really here—to get that degree.  Can the unknown be a scary, terrifying thing? Absolutely. Even though I was so sure I had made the right decision to attend this school, I was still nervous.

Looking back now, I’m glad I didn’t know. Going in with very few expectations made each experience that much more memorable. It’s amazing to think how
much people can change in college. Your college experience is what you put into it and I am very happy with what I’ve gotten out of it.  Thanks to my friends here who have always been there for me, I’ve gotten through a lot of rough spots. We laugh, we cry, we cheer, we fight and we comfort each other. There
is no disputing it, but we are family now and I couldn’t imagine life without them.

After all is said and done, and between the lessons I’ve learned in class, the relationships I’ve formed that will surpass graduation, and the experiences that I will remember for a life time, I can say. . .I am ready. . . I’m ready for the next chapter and will always be grateful for my time here. It has been an incredible run everyone!

Thanks for being a part of it.  WE ARE. . .GRADUATING!!

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