Alyssa Story


Alyssa Placha

Penn State has always been near and dear to my heart. My dad graduated from Penn State in the 80s, so blue and white has run through my veins since the day I was born. You know how Penn State alumni can be. Growing up in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh, a place chock full of Pitt fans, you can imagine the type of teasing I endured almost daily. But as a young girl, determined that one day I would become a Penn Stater, I proudly stood my ground.
Once I reached high school, things became a bit foggier. I was starting to explore other schools, even though my oldest sister had become a recent graduate from Penn State. I was incredibly close to going to Kentucky but finally decided on Penn State. I look back on that time, grateful that I made what I believe to be the right decision; one that has allowed me to grow not only professionally, but individually as well.
I won’t lie to you. My freshman and sophomore year, I had a tough time. I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past and being in a new and unfamiliar environment did nothing to help my case. My social anxiety was heightened by being around complete strangers nearly every hour of every day. I called my parents crying every night and came home every weekend that there wasn’t a football game. I even considered transferring, but I couldn’t bear the thought of giving up on a university that I had dreamed of for so long.
At some point during my sophomore year, things finally clicked for me. I became a part of Penn State’s two largest student organizations: Homecoming and THON. Through these organizations, I have made lifelong friends and settled into my new home. I am happier now than I have ever been. I am proud to serve a community that has given so much to me and I hope to inspire others to do the same. I am excited for this year’s 100th Homecoming and hope to make it the best one yet.