Joshua’s Story


Joshua Johnson

When we stood at Childhood’s Gates
I grew up in a small town not far from State College. State College was the “largest city” nearby, which itself is fairly small. None the less, throughout my childhood, my family would visit State College often especially when were treasure hunting. You see, my family got into this thing called “Letterboxing” where you follow clues to find a hidden stamp and stamp it in a sort of passport, and Penn State Campus was full of them. We would be on campus many a weekend exploring and looking for these treasures. Due to this, I had many disjointed memories of places on campus; autumn leaves blowing by Old Botany, construction by the Library, seating outside Rec Hall, and the Engineering Buildings steps by Allen Street Gate. 

Shapeless in the Hands of Fate
When it came time to choose a college, I wasn’t sure where to go. I knew the field I wanted to be in, but I struggled to decide on where I wanted to go, in a word, I was shapeless. Finally, hours before the deadline of being put in supplemental housing, I chose to Penn State and haven’t looked back since. For me, Penn State was something I knew, I’d grown up here, I had explored it, my family was close by, and I would soon meet a new family here. In my first weeks on campus, I was able to once again explore it like I did as a child, but now my disjointed memories came together, like pieces of a puzzle, to help me fully visualize this place, my new home.

Thou didst mold us, Dear Old State
Now here I am, almost three years later and I know this place like the back of my hand. I’ve seen the passion in the students here for their sports teams, for their clubs, their orgs, their education, for Homecoming, and for THON, and for one another. I have seen how this place builds people up and helps mold us into the people that we want to be. We all have our own Penn State story of which each of us is the Gatekeeper to. For that, we have Dear Old State to thank.