Communication is key… but so is being myself

I’ve always been a reserved, introverted person and communication has never been easy for me. As a kid, I used to get into trouble for being too scared to even order a sandwich. There were opportunities in life that I missed out on due to my fear of speaking up. For example, in elementary school, my teacher assigned us a project, and I did my best to do well on it. I bought toys, clay, and paint—I really went all out! But I didn’t know we’d also have to present in front of the class, and as my teacher examined my work and praised it, I refused to present, too shy to even lift up my head. I’ve always dreamed of becoming an actress, but my mother says that if I don’t break out of this shell of mine, I won’t make it. She doesn’t mean it unkindly; she’s only trying to help me, which I understand and appreciate. I’ve read about actors and actresses who are shy like me, or a little awkward like Aubrey Plaza, and it’s reassuring to know that I can realize my dream despite my shyness.

I’ve been communicating more since coming to Geneseo. I’m still scared to talk sometimes, but there have been situations where I’m able to push past the fear and express myself even if it’s difficult and intimidating. I’ve made some new friends on my own, and I try not to overthink things or act awkwardly around them. I see a lot of performing arts groups on campus, but I don’t think that I’ll join. I’m too nervous and afraid to audition, but maybe my feelings will change over time. There are a lot of confident and outgoing people in this world, and society makes it seem like you can’t be successful or happy unless you are that way too. I used to think the same thing, but now I believe that I’m fine just the way I am. Yes, I’m shy but not to the point where I can’t communicate in my own way. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a first-year is that I can go far by being myself.

Reflections on academic life

Academics has its ups and downs: you excel in one class and struggle in another, or you do well at the beginning of the semester but poorly at the end, or the other way around. Writing has always come easy to me; however, English classes are a little difficult due to the fact that I’m much better at free writing than analyzing other people’s work. The same goes for mathematics; there are factors that are more complex than others, and if I don’t understand the material, I can get lost for a decent amount of time.

Studying is also a major component in academic success, but it’s never been a straightforward process from my perspective. It’s not because I can’t focus, or I have no patience, because I do. It’s just that studying never really helped me like it helps other people. Whenever I study, I end up second-guessing myself. I start thinking something is right when it’s wrong, or I completely disregard what I already learned and end up confusing myself. I retain the information well, and I understand what I’m being taught, but it just feels like I’m lacking somewhere. I need to find a way to study that works for me, so I can reach my full potential. I’ve only been at Geneseo for a few months, but it’s obvious that high school and college are very different and yet very similar. College has much more freedom and campus is an all-around unique environment from high school, but they’re both places of higher learning where I can excel and further my knowledge. I chose Geneseo because it’s a smaller school compared to others that I looked at, and even though the adjustment will take time, Geneseo seems like a great fit for me.