Penn State is known for its unabashed school spirit, with our acres of tailgating fields, intimidating student section, and the lovely riots that we throw either caused by extreme anger or extreme excitement. Over the weekend, we won the Big Ten Championship and that was huge for us. I, being a non-sports human, spent the day watching football and the night celebrating our monumental win.
Before traipsing to the bars, we sprinted to Beaver Avenue to participate in what we hoped would be a non-destructive rally. We were quickly stopped by a line of troopers on their horses, and further down the block, a brigade of troopers decked out in their riot gear. Everyone eventually made it to the main drag, where we chanted until our lungs gave out. Above us floated the brave few on their manmade thrones (air mattresses) and on both sides of the street, monkeys climbing up lampposts to get the ultimate selfie (only to be arrested shortly there after).
Quickly leaving the area, we made it to the safe haven that is a college bar - sort of an oxymoron. We found out that it didn't take long for street signs to be ripped down or lampposts to be removed from the ground and pepper spray to start flying. This barbarianism happened already this semester, but some people just don't know how to learn from the past.
It was just a few weeks ago that my father came to visit and he quickly commented on the trash (shattered beer bottles and pizza boxes) left by neighbors in the hallway. I'll admit that I was slightly embarrassed, but I definitely wasn't surprised, it was a common occurrence. What he couldn't understand was the carelessness and/or lack of respect that so many of my fellow students have.
There seems to be this sense of entitlement running rampant across the country amongst people my age and those younger than us. Is it the parents that are failing their children? Are they not teaching them very basic manners and proper behaviors? I suppose I was lucky to have parents instill within me these simple codes of conduct. You know, the ones like treat others the way you want to be treated or I don't know... pick up after yourself? Commonalities to make you a decent human being.
For those that choose to do the right thing, maybe even go out of their way to do so, we are so often brought down by the unfortunate few. This is true for so many groups of people, but we should not be judging entire groups of people - millions of people - based on the unsettling behavior of a few. I would like to imagine that the majority of the people that gathered Saturday night on Beaver Avenue just wanted to celebrate and be amongst their fellow Penn Staters, enjoying a moment that will surely live with us forever.
But to those who acted with such immense immaturity: your selfishness is both embarrassing and detrimental, not only for you, but us as well.