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Exactly three years ago, my new friends and I made a promise to each other. My new friend Fiona was told by my new friend Bubba that he had been Shrek the ogre the previous year. At more than six feet tall and shoulders as wide as a doorframe, he fit the character well. “Shrek and Fiona! We gotta do it!” he decided within two minutes of learning Fiona’s name.
The group that was there to hear Bubba’s insistence never forgot it, and at the beginning of our senior year, my friend group decided we couldn’t let freshman-year Bubba down. Fiona got her costume ready, my five-foot self was told, not asked, to be Lord Farquaad, my other roommates got ears and a hat for Donkey and Puss in Boots, and their boyfriends were forced to be Gingey and Dragon.
We had our plan set to dress up as characters from Shrek on what Juniata dubs “Halloweekend”, the weekend before Halloween. First though, I had to be again reminded that I had somehow been at Juniata for more than three years.
October 30th was Senior Day for the Juniata Women’s Soccer team. Before our last game of the season, we had a small ceremony before the game. I walked with my parents through a tunnel of my teammates, received flowers and a framed plaque of my previous Juniata jersey, and heard my four-year stats and kind words from my teammates over the loudspeaker. I was met with fun decorations as I walked into our team locker room. Four tables filled with food met me after our game was done. Handmade scrapbook pages of funny memories and encouraging words were ribboned together in my locker. I felt a lot of love from my teammates and their families, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had grown three years older and wiser without my own permission. I cried a few tears but left our home field very full and very happy with arms full of gifts. I’ll be a mess after next semester’s lacrosse senior day, but I also imagine I will be happy looking back on my four year journey at Juniata, within athletics and outside of them.
My friends and I have come a long way from our freshman selves, but I am so glad we’ve been able to keep our freshman year promises. We are finishing seasons, completing high-level research, reflecting on internships or studies abroad in real-world job interviews, telling new students about that time we had that professor and got that grade, and all other sorts of things we had promised ourselves we would get through but didn’t quite know we would. Senior year forces us to think a lot about the future, but there’s nothing wrong with reflecting on how far you’ve come and how old you may have gotten.
Every year at Juniata, my friends and I like to search town for fun activities to do near campus. Even in my senior year, we’re still finding new places to fill up our weekends.
Some of our favorite locations include a classic trip to Raystown. Sometimes we go down to the Seven Points Marina, where we have Mountain Day every year. It’s fun to enjoy our own little mountain day, but once it gets colder and the leaves start changing, it’s still fun to go hiking and take in all the sights.
You can also go up to Hawn’s overlook, which not only overlooks the dam at Raystown, but provides beautiful views at any time of the year! It’s just a short, flat trip down a trail from the parking lot, and it not hard to get to. It’s a nice place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.
Another place my friends and I love to go to is further down the lake, called Trough Creek State Park. This state park is beautiful, with a lot of trails and breathtaking views. My friends and I try to visit here as often as possible, and I think that’s because this place provides some of the best scenery that central Pennsylvania has to offer. There is a wide range of trails to choose from, as well as picnic tables to enjoy a nice lunch in the sun.
For people who really enjoy hiking, the Thousand Steps is another good place to visit for nature lovers. I remember being very shocked to find out that it is actually 1000 steps, but if you can make it to the top, you won’t regret it. The views are just too good.
If you’re looking to get into the Halloween season, there are other, more seasonal attractions, such as making the trip down to the Lincoln Caverns for their annual Ghosts and Goblins tour, which features a tour of the caves, which have been decorated to resemble a haunted house. It also features a ride through the surrounding woods on a wagon. It’s a great way to explore what the area has to offer while enjoying the spooky season!
Overall, there are a lot of fun outdoor activities to do in Huntingdon and the surrounding area. If you’re into hiking or nature, there are a lot of places to explore, not just the ones I named here. I haven’t even begun to name all of the outdoor attractions that are available, but I have named some of my favorites. My friends and I often find ourselves scrambling to try everything new that we’ve discovered while also making time to visit some of our favorite places.
No matter what you choose to explore, there is always an activity that allows you to enjoy the beautiful autumn days in central Pennsylvania. Make sure to take advantage of our perfect placement in the middle of the outdoors!
Let’s be honest: on Day 2 of the fall semester, you’ll wake up in your half-made bed and curse yourself for not having the forethought to bring a water bottle. As your parched throat cries out for water, you’ll suddenly realize that the only option in these COVID times is the shower. We’ve all been there! Last year, when I forgot to bring dish soap, I was in denial that the bathroom hand soap was NOT an adequate substitute for all of my cleaning needs. Not to worry, I have compiled a list of things that, over the past three years, I routinely forget to bring with me to college. Hopefully, this will help you prepare for this coming fall semester. Enjoy!
Frisbee (or other lawn gear)
Sometimes on a warm fall day, you’ll find yourself looking out at the expanses of lawn and wonder, “Wow, I wish I had something to do out there.” Every fall, the frisbee team likes to take over and in the spring there are always some freshman guys that play catch or Spike Ball on the North lawn. Do yourself a favor and find a way to enjoy these beautiful open areas: bring a book, bring a hammock, bring a chair – SOMETHING.(more…)
I never understood adulthood until I had to buy my own silverware. While I was excited to start my new independent life (and first full summer out of my parents’ house), I was nervous to take on the responsibility of taking full care of myself. I couldn’t rely on late night burritos from Baker if I was hungry or the complimentary toilet paper in the residence hall bathrooms if I decided to eat the burritos.(more…)
Hi Future Eagles!
Welcome to the Dear Alfie blog! For those not familiar, Dear Alfie is an opportunity for prospective students to ask a current Juniata student questions about life here. Consider it a way to get Juniata info straight from the source.
My name is Caroline, I’m a rising senior at Juniata and my POE is environmental science. I have several jobs in the admissions offices, and I love just about any outdoor activities with hiking, camping, kayaking and cycling being my favorites. I’m also an avid gardener, music enthusiast and novice baker. Due to quarantine, I’ve recently discovered my wine making abilities and I have acquired two fluffy friends, khaki campbell ducklings Flora and Fauna.(more…)