State Patty’s: the contrast of college cultures

Hannah Blecker February 27, 2013 0

Last weekend, I trekked up to Penn State to partake in the annual State Patty’s Day traditions that Happy Valley has offered for the past few years. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment with about 12 friends from home for the duration of the festivities, an experience that everyone is telling me you can only do when you’re young… So why not just go for it? Between feasting on Are U Hungry and Pita Pit, contemplating dollar sign tattoos and the general activities one does at PSU on the weekend, I realized that while it was nice to escape the Etown bubble for a few days, there are some things that you just can’t get out of the 17022.
The first thing that was so-not-Etown was the sheer amount of people that were waiting for food EVERYWHERE. Granted, almost everyone on the streets of State College was probably inebriated, to some extent, but I have never waited more than two minutes to have my order taken at any Elizabethtown establishment, be it Brothers, Taco Bell or the Diner (R.I.P.). On Sunday, we all crawled out of our makeshift beds and went to some “flim-flam operation” (my friend’s words, not mine) known as McClanahan’s. If you think there’s an odd assortment of things at our school store, please venture here. They sell everything from t-shirts and magnets to groceries, deli sandwiches and even an aisle titled something ridiculous like “automotive and personal care.” The sandwich was good, but was it worth being stuck in line with a bunch of sorority sisters in sparkly Uggs? No.
If you think everyone at Etown looks the same, don’t worry. When we first arrived on one of  the main streets, Beaver Avenue, every girl was wearing the same North Face rain jacket, tall black rain boots and at least one item of Penn State paraphernalia. The girls that entered my friends’ apartment were all the same too: long hair, smoky eyes and high heels. I was in leggings, Converse and a white Hanes t-shirt. It was Friday night; isn’t that what you guys wear out, too? Guess not. They continued parading in and out with their frat boys, and when they ditched them, they tried to seek refuge on the couch with me and a friend from home. I don’t really know why or how they thought that would work, but good try.
The final straw was when a girl who had potentially the most annoying voice visited my friends’ sublet roommate, a.k.a. Undesirable Number One. On the phone and speaking at about 9,000 decibels, she was convincing one of her friends that she absolutely HAD to hook up with a PSU football player that might be interested in her. UH, WHAT? The non-zombies — a.k.a. my girl friends from home — and I were in shock. That’s not how we operate, and at least 15 tweets followed. Because trashing this stranger on social networking was so much better, right?
When the craziness was over and I was back at home, I decided to spend another night in my own bed instead of groggily driving back to Etown on Sunday night. I departed from my little town early Monday morning. Sharing my drive with the crazy morning commuters putting on mascara and reading the paper on Interstate 81 (not a joke) wasn’t really the way I pictured spending the precious hours I would normally be sleeping. But with the sun rising behind me and the Dirty Heads serenading me in my old Jeep, I looked around when I was stopped at a light on Market Street in Etown and took in the lack of all the things that make Penn State what it is: people and chain restaurants and paw prints. Even though I had class in less than an hour that I hadn’t done the homework for, it was good to be back.

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