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End of The Journey: Graduation Trip to Penn State and Farewell Thoughts

It is with mixed emotions that I am writing this today. In December, I took my long awaited trip from South Dakota to State College for my graduation. Along the long drive, over 20 hours long, I kept thinking of all the things I wanted to say for this blog, and all the pictures I wanted to take to share with those who have never been to State College. When we arrived, I didn’t know where to start, so I just winged it as the week went along.

Stephen Verigood standing with John Cappalletti's Heisman Trophy.
Me standing with John Cappalletti’s Heisman Trophy.

You see, State College has so much to offer for everyone, and I was overwhelmed by what we could do and see. There was no way I could put it all in one blog, so I decided to shoot a little video at the Penn State All Sports Museum, and wherever I could find something cool and interesting at Penn State. My point is that you have to visit Penn State and State College yourself in order to know what I am talking about. I was like a little kid in a toy store and just didn’t know where to begin.

One of the places that I know that I had to visit was the World Campus office, especially to visit Liam Jackson, who has been my contact for these blogs. We enjoyed a little get-together and discussed ideas for this final blog. When we left the World Campus offices, we headed to the Sports Museum, and I had a blast walking through the great history of Penn State athletics.

When we got finished there, on the way back to the hotel, I saw the sign for the Creamery, and I had to stop. My wife and I ended up with five half-gallons of various flavors, and brought them back to South Dakota with us. (Still eating them, they are SO GOOD!)

The World Campus Graduation Celebration was something that I will never forget. It was the event that I was looking forward to more than anything (other than graduation). I didn’t take a lot of pictures that night, but the World Campus usually posts pictures on their Flikr account, so keep an eye out for those.

Stephen, Tammy, and Liam
L-R: Liam Jackson, me, and my wife

It didn’t hit me until I was sitting on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center that I was about to become a Penn State graduate.

If you have read my previous posts, you know that being a Penn State graduate was my lifelong dream. It was all I ever wanted to do, and I was shaking a little bit during the graduation service. The whole service was a blur, and all I could think of was “I finally get to wear my Penn State alumni shirts now.”

The best part of the whole week in State College was the time my wife and I spent with Kelly, another World Campus student. We took our graduation pictures at the Lion Shrine (as you see in the video), and we sat together during the service. Kelly and I are both Psychology majors, and we had a lot of the same classes together. So after two years of chatting and working together through some tough courses, we finally met, and it was like a class reunion. Friendships made for life, and that is part of the power of being a Penn Stater.

Stephen Verigood standing with Nittany Lion Shrine
At the Nittany Lion Shrine.

So, it is with a great sadness to say that this is probably my last blog post for the World Campus. I am going to keep in touch with the World Campus, hoping to get into another program sometime down the line (for my master’s, unsure of what at this point).

I have so many people to say thank you to, like my wife, who endured many nights of studying with me, and Kelly, who endured many chats about our courses. Also, special thank you to Liam Jackson, who made my connection with Penn State even more special.

Good luck to all returning students, and all new students of the World Campus. You are part of a special organization and one that I am always in debt to. Thanks for making me a Penn Stater.

Once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater.