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If you answered anything but "PENN STATE!" stop reading this blog post now and take a drive to central Pennsylvania. You'll pass a few cows, a few more cows and then finally find yourself in the middle of one of the most energetic, crazy and downright cool places in the Northeast: Penn State University.

I spent the day yesterday at Penn State, visiting friends and professors. The main purpose of the trip was to visit the professor, Dr. Bu Zhong, who had played an essential role in acquiring a job in Beijing. Dr. Zhong has ties in almost all media outlets in China. He's well connected.

He and I talked, asking each other questions and passing on words of advice. Dr. Zhong will be visiting Beijing with a class of students in international reporting sometime in March. I said I was more than willing to meet them and answer questions or just show them around the city if they liked.

I had lunch in the HUB and met up with a few friends. It was nice sitting around, watching students rush off to class with their backpacks and coffees in hand, knowing that I did not have to do the same. I was an alum now. Out of the system. A "real" person. It was a relaxing feeling.

I met up with a few friends before heading down to the the Daily Collegian. Again, being in the office but know that I could leave whenever I wanted was a refreshing feeling. I sat around the office, talking for a bit, but soon felt out of place, since everyone had a task but me. I said my goodbyes and headed home.

As I passed Beaver Stadium, a hollow feeling sunk in. Happy Valley, where I had spent four years of my life learning, growing and unknowingly preparing for my current life in Beijing, seemed foreign. It was strange being back, but even stranger leaving. Graduating had been the "see you later" but this was the real goodbye.

And as Beaver Stadium and the university lights faded off into the distance, I began humming the Penn State fight song and thinking to myself, We are...
 


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