State College Without Penn State

Story/Video posted April 29, 2020 in Best of CommMedia by Justin Lange.

My name is Justin Lange, I am a senior studying journalism and English at Penn State, and for the first time in a long time I am completely unsure of what to write. This past month and a half have been the most insane and unexpected of my life. With the COVID-19 epidemic shutting down universities for the remainder of my last semester I have had to wrap up a lot of things early.

I had no idea what meetings would be the last ones and what friends I might see for the last time. When I asked my roommates who they missed the most, a couple names floated around, but by the end of the debate we had decided that our favorite people were already here.

Trapped in half of a duplex in downtown State College is not how we expected to spend our last few weeks of college. I remember making plans to “go out with a bang” and visit every bar we had neglected. We planned to stay in town through May, I even pushed off having elective surgery (which is now further pushed off) to have an extra week or two with them.

We had different plans, but there is some comfort in still being together. I am lucky enough to live with my best friends. I think you can tell that in the video at the top of this story. I only recorded them talking for a few minutes but my microphone was blown out with laughter time and time again.

I hate when interviews come across as staged, so I had my friends sit down in the living room and talk over each other how we always do. It may not have made for the most coherent or well produced interview, but it is unabashedly real.

I set out to make a time capsule of these unique times and I think this describes it best. The whole town may be emptied out, but I can still have a handful of people to keep me sane.