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Back In The Grind and It Feels So Good

Monday will be the start of my fifth week back at Penn State after the winter break and I couldn’t be happier. The first few weeks of school always toy with my head as I wait to get into a routine of work, gym, and study. I can never seem to enjoy a course until we learn new material day in and day out. It seems funny that I have only been here for five weeks and four weeks from now I will be home for Spring break.

Over winter break I revisited a passion that had drifted away over the last few years, skiing. Even as a 10 and 11 year old I remember how special it felt as I used nature and gravity to move myself around a mountain always looking for the next glade or a new way. I a feel free on skis and always have, I remember growing up at 13 and 14 literally racing myself down the mountain always weaving in and out  of specs of dirt on the snow as if I was in the olympics. I remember thinking about how beautiful things looked untouched just the way God intended them to remain. Since I have started skiing again this year it has been amazing, I have progressed faster than any time in my life and I am definitely better at skiing now than I ever have been. I hope that I never have another 3 year absence from skiing in my life as it is an experience that is new every time out. Always new terrain, changing elements, and a new route down the mountain.

The thing that is most special the me is just the interaction with nature. In my eyes the earth we live on is no more than a blank canvas that God is constantly painting, creating, and bathing with beauty. Whatever continent, country, desert, jungle, swamp, or ocean, a glimpse at nature untouched is beautiful and something that people often take for granted. Those in wars, clashes, fights, and arguments should just step back find a peaceful place and look around at what is right in front of their eyes.

Someday, before I die, I want to go somewhere in this world where the only thing you see is nature, where the impact of humans is unseen, and things are as pure as they could ever be.

Sunrise this August!

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1/8 of the Way

So its a new semester and a new year. New classes, professors and a new routine but its the beginning of a process that just ended. My first semester at Penn State was amazing to say the least. I have to say I am truly lucky to be a Nittany Lion. A teacher in my high school once asked me where I would be going to college and I told him ” I still am waiting to hear from UNC but if I get in there it will definitely be an extremely tough decision deciding between a Nittany Lion and a TarHeel.” He quickly responded by saying, “You really shouldn’t choose based on the mascot and their sports its a lot more than that”.  I replied ” I know but its the spirit of a school”

I think that spirit is what attracted me most to PSU. I grew up a huge sports fan, embodying the word passion and emotion as huge parts of my being and sports undoubtedly shaped the person I am now. However, that day when that teacher told me that a mascot doesn’t matter I wanted to prove him wrong. It isn’t about the mascot it is about everything they stand for, the traditions they have started, and the legacy that they have left for their school. A Nittany Lion is not just an animal, it is a person, a PSU alumni, student, faculty member, staff member, and proud parent. Lion’s travel not in packs but in prides, and I believe that the Lion Pride at PSU is a great one. To be a member of this pride means so much more than taking classes in State College, it is about the people you meet, the experiences you share, and the way that this University shapes you as a person by  instilling goals, life lessons, and molding every student who has ever lived in its dorms.

I believe its much more than just a sports team that we are all cheering for when 110,000 of us crowd around a 1.3 acre patch of grass just to watch young men play a game. I believe that a sense of a larger being, and a purpose is given to all of us. 110,000 people become one voice, unanimously echoing cheers and chants that carry a legacy of their own passed down from class to class, seniors to freshman. It is this sense of tradition, pride, and impact that makes a Nittany Lion more than just a Mascot. The Nittany Lion stands for everything Penn State, from the 46 hour Dance Marathon for Pediatric Cancer to the honor of a Penn State degree, to the alumni who still proudly represent the school colors, to the 6 year old who knows every football players name, and even the people who donate hundreds of millions of dollars to this university because they know that Penn State is working to make this world a better place. 110,000 people crowd around that field because they want to show everyone that Penn State has more pride for our school than any other place in the country.

I have only completed one semester here at PSU but looking back now I could have never imagined how proud I would be to say that I am a Nittany Lion. I have made amazing friends, learned amazing things, and started a route through life that will lead to success. I feel truly lucky to have been given this opportunity and I would be crazy to let it slip by.

Letting this opportunity pass by has never in my life been an option. No matter what situation I am put in I make sure to make the best of it, set goals, have a dream larger than life, and aim for the stars. Those dreams are what inspire and motivate me and my dreams slowly become my reality. I dream big not because I am arrogant or cocky, but because in my heart I know that with discipline, and dedication anything is within my reach. My dreams will always be lofty and will never falter because no matter what setbacks I face my discipline keeps me on course. Why sacrifice the dreams of the future, for a joy in the present, it is this which keeps me going, keeps me motivated and makes me the person that I am. I will always look to the future and of things to come, you cannot live in the present without being left behind by the rest of the world, I want to live in the future and lead this world in a new direction, change its course, and leave a lasting impact.


94 Days

It has been 89 days. 89 days at Penn State, 89 days without a home cooked meal and 89 days without seeing Marshfield, MA. I never could have imagined going this long without being at home, but its still not over and I have 5 days left until I get to sleep in my own bed for the first time since August 17th, my birthday! Now after such a long time away from home I start to think about all of the things I have done here in State College. From football games, to frat parties, to midterm exams, new friends, cookies at west, and countless laughs. State College, PA is my perfect home away from home and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else in the entire country.

I think that after the first few weeks here at Penn State I really started to realize just how lucky I was to be here, I had put in a lot of hard work, had a lot of guidance, and now it was finally my time that I had been imagining for the last 2 years of high school. You set your own guidelines, your own schedule, and your own priorities. Priorities and values that are by far defining in your life here at Penn State. School, Friends, Fun. Thats the order here for me, and thats the way it has to be in order for me to achieve the goals that I have mentally set. I don’t have to write them on paper, I’ve never had to, but the goals I set for myself aren’t average or close to it, I have always aimed as high as possible and tried to be #1 at everything I do. I think this competitive spirit is my most valuable characteristic. It fuels me to become the greatest I can be, and when other kids are out partying, I have no problem sitting behind a Bloomberg terminal just messing around trying to figure out exactly how it works and how the hell some sophomores already seem to have it mastered. It is this competitive nature that gives me the work ethic to never put in a lazy day, and never put in an effort that is less than 100%. I don’t measure my success upon the views of others, I measure my success by comparing it to the standards that I set for myself. So far, everything is going well, but there is never an easy semester or even week here at PSU and if you even hesitate for one day you aren’t living up to your potential.

94 days. How have I changed? Am I still the same person I was the day before I left for college? Do I like who I am becoming? These questions go through my mind constantly and I am constantly answering them. I would be lying if I said that college hasn’t changed me. I have become so much more comfortable with who I am, and who I want to be. The great thing about PSU is that there are so many people that you can truly be yourself and not have to worry about what anyone else thinks, because your true friends love you for who you are. I have gotten bigger, stronger, smarter, and I have grown up so much in the past 3 months.

Most of all these 94 days here at Penn State have been made me appreciate all of the little things about home even more. I have always loved Marshfield and everything that goes along with it, but now I know that for the rest of my life whenever I think of my true home Cranberry Cove will pop into my head. I will be able to picture thousands of games of catch with Dad that slowly turned into life lessons, the countless nights of watching TV when I rested my head against Mom’s shoulder just because she always makes me feel so happy, growing up everyday with Camden and everything that goes into a brother hood that you can never really express in words but that is so important, and watching Rachael set such a good example for you that all you ever wanted to do was make her proud and follow in her footsteps. I have been blessed with so many things throughout my life that all I can try to do now is to take advantage of everything that has been given to me and live up to the potential that I know I have. I know that whatever I do in life, my family will always be proud of me, but I want to make myself proud.


Stop for a Minute!

These past 7 weeks have been some of the most amazing, and surprising weeks of my entire life. I have gone from a 17 year old highschool senior in May who had no clue about life, to an 18 year old college student in September who still doesn’t have a clue, but just happens to know how to do his own laundry. But in all seriousness these past 7 weeks have been a rush, here one minute and gone the next. Sometimes I really do just need to take a step back and “Stop for a Minute”. My mom should especially love this blog post as the title is a tribute to one of my favorite songs she showed me before I left for PSU. That is the reason for this blog, it is my time to sit back relax and write about my time here at Penn State and show all of you what my college life is all about.

I have noticed that as you begin to live on your own, even if it is in a dorm room, you begin to shape who you are as a person. Mom and Dad are no longer there to guide you, your alarm clock goes off and its your duty to get up, no one is going to come to the door to make sure you aren’t going to sleep through class. Cleanliness is your job, if you want to make your bed than make it, if not then your room can get as messy as you want until your dorm neighbors tell you its starting to smell. Also, self-respect and values begin to start to reflect your own true beliefs and ideals. Your parents are no longer there to influence your views and morals begin to be tested to see if you really are who you want to be.

I think that after those first 7 weeks I have begun to realize that I am very happy with who I am. As Warren Buffet said, “we got the good tickets, saying you’re american, intelligent, and have opportunities those in other countries simply don’t have.” It is very true, I think that since I have arrived at Penn State I have matured as a person and started to realize that what is truly important is self worth and those people who surround you everyday. It is not about money or status, success should not be measured by salary but by how much good you pass on to this world. If you pass on a smile to everyone you meet, strike up random conversation and don’t care about what others think than how can you go wrong. Do what makes you happy, because if you are out there trying to satisfy everyone else and appeal to everyone around you, than eventually you will realize that your life is hollow and you have been wasting your time. I cannot believe that any man or woman who grew up, got married, raised a family who they love and care about would ever tell you they were unsuccessful. They have succeeded, even if their salary isn’t 200k they are happy and surrounded by love. I think it is important to remember that you can have a Ferrari and a yacht and a giant mansion, but when you come home from work at night and that mansion is empty than you are alone. These views passed on to me from my parents, and now that I am living on my own I am really starting to realize how they got these views.

I have also found that I am an extremely neat, tidy, and anti-clutter person. I love routines and following them, and my desk is always set up ready for tomorrow so I can wake up and start my day without a hiccup.

7 weeks, 3 home football games, 3 mid-term exams, loads of HW and readings. I think everyday here is a growing experience. I cherish everyday that I have here, the second I wake up I can’t wait to start my day and get things going. I have learned about gothic art, stonehenge, combustion engines, corporate social responsibility, limits, derivatives, stock options, beta, and life.

My life rocks, and its just getting started.


3 weeks in and going strong!

After 3 weeks at Penn State I could have never imagined my experience would start off like this! It has literally been everything I could have ever expected and 100x more. The classes here are tough, constant attention and focus is needed in order to succeed. I have studied, re-read notes, made flash cards and read more articles online than ever before in my life and my first exam isn’t for another week. Penn State is where you come to work, and where you come to truly learn and form opinions about things for yourself where before you just adopted the opinions of those about you.

After 3 weeks I have learned that football here is unlike anywhere else. After 3 weeks the passion shown by every freshman for this football team reflects their passion for this school. In New England you root for the Patriots because they are from your region, they have your favorite players and they win championships. At Penn State we love the Nittany Lions because we live as Nittany Lions. We sleep as Penn Staters, we eat as Penn Staters, and we live as Penn Staters. Our loyalty to our team doesn’t start when NFL Countdown comes on ESPN like fans at home, our loyalty is non-stop and never falters. After 3 weeks at Penn State the passion I have for the Nittany Lions matches that of my love for the Patriots after being a fan for as long as I can remember.

Finally, after 3 weeks here at Penn State its all starting to come together. I know I still have a lot to learn, and a lot of hard work ahead of me but I feel at home. Its a feeling that is strangely foreign because Marshfield is my home, but State College PA is slowly turning into an excellent substitute for my time at college. Buddies begin to turn into friends and a place that once seemed like a 3 mile campus slowly begins to turn into your home away from home.


Taken for Granted.

Taken for Granted.

The theme for this weeks blog. I cannot state the number of things that seem so easy to take for granted at home that make such a big difference in your life once you leave them behind. They range from things as simple as nice towels, to the smile on the face of someone you love more than this entire world.

First, I miss the home cooked meals. I miss the family dinners. I miss walking down my stairs every morning and knowing that the dog was awake before me, and that I could probably find some poptarts in the counter.

I miss my friends. I miss the relationships I had made and the close bond that you feel to someone when you have known them for such a long time that you can predict their actions, speech, and moods. I miss the ability to call a friend and know that they will answer and be waiting for that call so that you can meet and go out. I miss John, Will, Emily, Jamie, Leah, Bridget and all of the other friends that left for college with me.

Its funny that something as simple as a warm towel can change a mood. The towels I had when I first arrived were dingy rags that left blue lint everywhere on me and my room. It made me hate showers here and postpone them as much as I could. Then things changed, old towels, used towels, towels from home. Warm soft towels that smell like Marshfield and that I know my parents have packed up just for me. These towels remind me of home, and thanks to these towels I smell much better.

Most of all, I miss my family. Its something that I knew would happen but I never realized just how much you all mean to me. We still talk on the phone, skype, and chat on facebook, but its not the same. I miss your presence in the room and all that you brought to it.

I miss Tessie. The simple act of petting her stomach and hearing her barks, at one point seemed like an annoyance but now seem as though they would be music to my ears. Throwing her bongo ball, watching her prance, and having her give me a kiss on the lips that I know means that she loves me and us all because we care for her and show her so much love.

I miss seeing Camden everyday and getting to act like a 13 year old with him and listen to his innocent stories of childhood that I left behind 5 years ago. I miss his smile his laugh and everything about him. He starts school in about 6 hours, and I hope he has fun and remembers that the most important thing is to surround yourself with people who make you want to better yourself.

I miss Rachael. Even though I don’t see her much in Marshfield I will see her even less now that I am not at home. I miss being in her room. Just being in her room, which is now mine, and seeing her artwork reminded me of everything that she means to me. She was my motivating factor all through high school I always wanted to be a captain of a team like her, get good grades like her, and go to a great college like her. She still gives me guidance in a way that no one else can. Every phone call from her is one I look forward too and once we hang up, I can’t wait for the next.

I miss my Mom. I miss hearing her soft and loving voice, her funny jokes that sometimes only she finds funny. I miss seeing her get her make-up on and getting that Apple Store uniform on! I miss the Marylous Coffee she brought home for me without me even asking. I miss everything she did for me and the great mother that she is to me even now that I am 500 miles away. Always asking how I am, making sure I keep up with my work, study hard and party less hard than I study. She is my rock the person that grounds me, keeps me in-line and the person that I always lean my head against on the couch when we watch tv shows, the person I share the blanket with on cold winter nights, and the person who loves vienna fingers and english tea. My mom is amazing.

I miss my Dad. My best friend, the person I share every detail of my life with. I miss hearing the cellar door open, shut and hearing his footsteps across the living room. I miss looking up, saying “Hi Dad” and following him into his room to hear his stories about his day at work, and then telling him the stories of what I did today, every single detail, and knowing that he is listening to every word that comes out of my mouth. I wish being able to go to him with any question just like when I was 7 years old and wouldn’t let him leave my room before I fell asleep saying, “WAIT Dad, I have one more question!” even though I must have said that about 10 times a night. I said it because I never wanted him to leave, because I cherish every moment I have with him. I miss playing catch, playing golf, shooting hoops, and just sitting and watching the Red Sox. I miss his laugh, unmistakeable and a trademark of his feel good personality. So positive and uplifting that even if I was stressed out, all I had to do was hear his laugh from up in my room walk down and see the smile on his face and know that as long as I did as good as my Dad, I was one hell of an amazing person! I am trying to follow in your footsteps now Dad, trying to leave every room making someone else smile, leaving a story with everyone I meet and trying to pas on some of that Bruno “gift of gab” that you have taught me. You are my best friend, my mentor, and I love you!

I can’t wait to see you all in 30 days on October the 10th!

I LOVE YOU GUYS

Jarrod


GO!

August 23rd 2010, the first day of classes that start off a college career. Looking back, today is so different from the way my freshman year of high school started that I can’t even imagine where I will be in four years. As a freshman in high school, I was clueless, and more afraid than I have ever been in my life. I didn’t have goals for myself, I wanted to do “well” in high school, whatever that means. My freshman year went well, I finished the year with all A’s and two B’s for the year. However, in college, that is not good enough for me. It will be a struggle to make myself study, I have already told myself that. It will be a struggle to understand and keep track of every word that leaves a professors lips when I am in a lecture hall of 600. But I am self aware, I have goals and standards that I will not let myself deviate from. I do not hope to become a Finance major 3 semesters down the road. I am a Finance major, I will finish my freshman year with a GPA above 3.5 and I will be successful in this University. I am no longer the lost freshman from who is afraid to raise his hand or seem geeky and I will throw myself into this world so that I cannot be missed.

I will not let my family down, my mother and father have given me the best childhood that anyone could imagine. I owe them more than the world because the love and support they have shown for me has not only made me the person I am today but has given me the morals and priorities to mold me as an individual throughout my entire life. I am at Penn State not only because they are paying the bill, but because they are all I could ever ask for as parents and gave me the perfect childhood. They taught me not to judge or take things for granted and that what you gain in life can never be taken away from you. Hard work will be rewarded, and FAMILY is always FIRST! I love and miss both of you so so much!

To truly learn is to participate. I am here to work, and I will not let myself down. This is not some sense of self bravado or cockiness, I am simply committed and confident to working hard and taking advantage of every opportunity I get to make myself a better person.

WE ARE PENN STATE,

I am Jarrod Bruno.