So if that letter didn't paint a picture of the full scope of the Paterno Fellows experience, what would? Well, allow me to paint a few pictures for you.
Paterno Fellows is where you go. Being a Paterno Fellow gave me the financial assistance I needed to study abroad in Kenya and Tanzania. Imagine a soft, watercolor sunset spreading above the windswept grasses of the Serengeti. In the dark silhouette of an acacia tree, a leopard leaps along the trunk and settles to rest on a branch. You can just make out the twitches of her tail as she watches you, watching her. As your camera clicks away, you think, "Well, she's not the Nittany Lion, but she's pretty darn amazing too!"
Paterno Fellows is what you see. As a Paterno Fellow, I've been able to watch theater performances, visit exhibits and hear lectures I otherwise wouldn't be able to attend. Now, imagine you're back from Africa and sitting in a plush seat in the Schwab Auditorium. On stage, four actors from a British theatre company act out The Merchant of Venice. Though you've read Othello, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet, you've never had time to explore this gem of Shakespeare's creativity. The play is a new and exciting adventure as the plot unfolds and the twentieth century performance hall rings with renaissance English.
Paterno Fellows is how you feel. As a Paterno Fellow, you hold yourself to high standards in regards to your moral choices, your academic efforts, and your participation in school events. Each of your actions and choices reflects your commitment to better your school as an intellectual institution and yourself as an intellectual individual. You will take challenging honors courses, attend classes on ethics, and strive towards excellence in leadership and communication. Picture yourself at graduation, your head bowed as you receive your golden Schreyer Honor's College medal. In that moment, the words of the alma mater settle on your heart as realize your experiences with Paterno Fellows have shaped and molded you in these four years. You see now how much your love and loyalty to Penn State has challenged you to be the best student you can be, and now how all that effort has set a bright and hopeful future before you.
Being a Paterno Fellow is more than a checklist of requirements, a set of goals, or an itinerary of events. Truth be told, a single page is never enough to contain the full spectrum of experience you will have as a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar. But the good news is four years can be just enough!