It doesn’t matter whether I’m waiting to leave for vacation in the Boston airport or hiking up to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius near the bay of Naples, Italy – wherever I go, I’ve come to always expect one thing: to be stopped by a student, alumnus or a fan of Penn State.
I’m not kidding when I say that the familiar white block lettering on my navy blue tank top, tie dye sweatshirt and pink mesh shorts have caused people of all ages to literally stop dead in their tracks, run up to me and start excitedly spilling their connections with the school.
Whether it’s Penn State or not, school apparel has a way of bringing people together.
And though I try not to be too overzealous with my school spirit (maybe limit my daily outfit to ONE Nittany Lion inspired piece of clothing), I can’t help but get a feeling of pure satisfaction after every single encounter.
There’s something unique about meeting new people with no other connection other than your alma mater.
From every single conversation I’ve had, I’ve realized one thing is for certain: no matter young or old (the oldest was 85), your school still matters to you, long beyond the four crazy years on campus.
And when you see someone who graduated from the same university as you did, you know that every story you tell or every event you rehash– they most likely understand and connect to. That and they will have a story or two of their own.
But it doesn’t just have to be your school.
Many times, people strike up conversation solely because their school is a competitor with yours in athletics (I’ve even talked with….dare I say…Ohio State fans).
Whatever the reason, it brings people of all ages, backgrounds and alma maters together under memories of years past, friends made, parties attended and sports games we’ve all gone crazy at.
As the years roll by, alumni can still recall their favorite 2 a.m. food joints. (long live Penn State’s Canyon Pizza!)
They can still remember that “one crazy night” or the time wasted (but not really) talking about stuff that may or may not happen in the future.
And whether you’re 18 or 85, every single person has a story to tell.
The times may have changed, but the pride remains the same.
And though you may only have the name on your diploma and a piece of clothing in common – those few minutes spent catching up with a total stranger connect you for a lifetime.
Powered by Facebook Comments