Zack Troyer, a senior plant science major at Penn State, decided to take on a bet with his friends that he could live in a tent on a nearby farm for his entire fall semester in State College, Pa. In August of 2015, Troyer set up his old 10 foot by 14 foot canvas tent secluded in a small stand of mature trees on Meyer Dairy Farm. He also began to work several days a week for Denny Meyer, the owner of the farm.
It might seem natural for Zack to seek out this work since he grew up on his family’s potato farm in Waterford, Pa. The challenge of the tent was just added fun for him. Living in partial solitude, with a diet consisting of mainly canned beans and tuna for several months, through a high of 90 degrees in the summer and a low of 23 degrees in early winter, Zack slept with a shotgun next to his pillow to defend himself from bears. Troyer says this is just one thing he has done in a lifetime of proving that it doesn’t take much to live an interesting and fulfilling life.
“Through isolation and simplicity I’ve actually formed more relationships and learned how to thrive in the real world,” he said. Troyer has enjoyed his experience so much and found it so rewarding that he wants to “take it to the next level” after the leaves State College in mid-December 2015.