PSU Freshman Experience: Daren Burton



So I get up one morning in the middle of August of 2015 in the middle room of my grandmother’s house. I was still looking for a job so I would leave early to give myself the opportunity to walk into a few places that may or may not have been hiring at that present moment. By 7am I was still riding around the big city of Philadelphia on my single speed road bike searching for an opportunity to be had. By 7:45 I received a phone call from my cousin who was supposed to take me to Penn State for a tour. I made it home before 8am and we were on our way to State College. When we got there, there were hardly any people, lines, or any sense of activity whatsoever, so I thought to myself, this place isn’t too bad after all and the stories that were told to me prior to my visit were just myths. They certainly were not.


High School graduation went buy and so did my summer, it seemed like the next day I woke up in my dorm room to a new world of chaos and calamity. There was no breakfast at my leisure anymore, the only thing at my leisure was the back of someone else’s head as I stood in the endless line to the dining hall over at Pollock. On the way to class I used the GPS on my cell phone for guidance around the campus that seemed like another planet to me. I got to class and the first one wasn’t big at all with maybe 11 students, the second class had over 300 students in it, the third class had roughly 340 students, and the last class had at most 13 students in it. The smaller classes seemed less like high school with teacher actually being able to control and gauge the attention of the students. The bigger classes were like high school all over again. I wanted to leave this place and sometimes I still think about doing so only to make my learning experience worthwhile. Then I was told to give it a chance.

During the first week I heard the word syllabus a bunch, I did not want to hear that word again, but it is inevitable and the classes seem to be built upon the syllabus as if it is the only source of structure.

During the second week of school, I started riding my bike more to get to classes and it helped me a whole lot more than I thought it could. Not only was I able to get to classes quicker, I was able to distract myself from the loud blobs of young men and women making their way to class, and I was able to disconnect myself from the tight sidewalks that had been being trampled and abused by feet for who knows how long.

I spend most of my time in the dorm room studying and trying to stay afloat in the sea of blue and white. Staying sane is the most important part of being a student, whether it be high school or college. Time management has never been a problem for me, but when it comes to looking for financial aid, studying, eating, trying to socialize, and trying to get to bed on time in order to repeat the seemingly endless cycle; these things together combine and create an immense amount of pressure and then you start to question whether this life is for you.

Keep Our Students Encouraged, Send Love and Care Packages to:

Daren Burton

0305 Snyder

University Park, PA 16802


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