In a month and 3 days, I will take a walk across a stage in a blue cap and gown and upon moving my tassel to the other side, I will officially be a Penn State graduate. In my 3.5 years here, I never thought that the bubble of Happy Valley would be burst quite the way it has been, but I also never thought that we would be capable of standing together and rebuilding after a tragedy of this caliber.
Friday's candlelight vigil proved me wrong. It was such a good feeling to gather at Old Main and honor the victims in this situation. I got chills when we all swayed together to the Alma Mater and when we all sang "Imagine." It was hauntingly beautiful. Even more beautiful was the moment of silence, which was truly silent.
After Friday's vigil came Saturday's final home football game. As someone who never cared about football, I almost cried at my last game, not because it was my last but because it was again a positive reflection of Penn State and the values that the students still believe in. When the team walked out on the field arm in arm, I thought that it was the epitome of a united front. The student section was surprisingly respectful (though the refs weren't that kind) and once more, I was shocked. Shocked when everyone applauded the players as they exited the field, shocked when a We Are chant lasted a solid minute, and shocked when we all stayed in our seats after that. I never saw the student section, or the stadium for that matter, that full. It was packed throughout the game, despite the score, and it remained mostly full after the players exited.
Everyone kept saying, "This is what Penn State is" and at first, I thought we needed to clarify that in words for the media. I thought, "Oh, they'll latch on to the fact that we cannot express in words what 'this' means." However, actions do speak louder than words; the actions of the students spoke volumes for what Penn State "is." I commend the students for uniting together in this trying time and showing the world what we are all about. I was never prouder to be part of PSU.