The Halfway Point

The halfway point of a journey is the most significant step within the journey; it is the moment in which noticeable progress has been made. The moment in which one can breathe, step back, and acknowledge the growth that has occurred. Reaching my halfway point at Geneseo has been a process that went by so quickly; I can only define it as a blur. There is no sense to how quickly I have been able to weave myself an entirely new life. Not a single aspect of my hometown life has carried through to Geneseo. My friends have entirely new faces, my sleep schedule has been stretched to include more sleep in the morning, and my passion has shifted from theatre to rugby. At the halfway point of the first semester—meaning this is actually a 1/16th check-in over my four years of college—I have forged a new life for myself. This extreme change is not meant to be expressed as a negative event. Rather, the stark contrast between college and high school has vastly improved my mental health. My halfway point is marked with happiness and laughter, and I can only hope that the trend will continue. 

The description of the halfway point of my courses is synonymous with the points of my social life. I have finally won my battle with crippling procrastination and have begun to not only schedule my assignments but commit to them as well. I cannot possibly count the number of times I put off an assignment until the last second or neglected the assignment in its entirety. Procrastination has been my handicap for the past 18 years, which I have finally managed to overcome. This single win has created an incredibly manageable course load; I have yet to find myself overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden. Unfortunately, I have not found most of my courses to be enjoyable. Many of my courses are set in a lecture style, and while I appreciate the approach, I learn more effectively through hands-on and discussion-based instruction. Therefore, I have needed to study longer to keep pace with the flow of information. It has been a difficult adjustment, but I know it will be necessary for my success. Overall, the courses are straightforward but have yet to open themselves up to be truly insightful and enjoyable. 

Although my previous opinions of my courses have been starkly unenjoyable, this class specifically has been just the opposite. I have enjoyed the open conversations that occur on a near daily level, and this is the one class in which I feel I have connected with the professor. The format of this class has been the most convenient for my learning style, and I hope to find similarly arranged courses for future semesters. I have been able to connect deeply with many of the materials used within this course. The chapter “Heracles in Hospice” from The Theater of War by Brian Doerries was particularly compelling. It was exceptionally emotional to see the effects of Greek Tragedy in a setting to which I can relate. My aunt was put in hospice care in 2013, and I never visited her. I was so scared to see how much cancer had changed her kind face, so I didn’t go with the rest of my family to the hospice center. That guilt has lingered with me for over eight years, and it was relieving to have the guilt of losing someone in hospice care be so pronounced in literature. “Heracles in Hospice” lifted a small weight off my shoulders and alerted me that I was not alone, which was a truly refreshing feeling. Theatre Therapy for Veterans has been my favorite course due to its powerful messages, and I hope that I continue to find connections to the literature we read throughout this course. 

By the end of the semester, I expect to have relearned my love for literature. I had forgotten the connections one can make to literature, and this course has pushed me back into reading. Furthermore, I hope that my lack of procrastination continues and equips me with the skills necessary to succeed in the next steps of my education. 

Rediscovering Home

Oxford Languages defines home as “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.” Unfortunately, this textbook definition does not do the complex four-letter word justice. Home is more than a place where one lives permanently; I have spent seventeen years living in a place that I could only define as a house. It was not until I stepped onto the grounds of Geneseo as a first-year student that I could finally feel an authentic connection to my permanent living situation. That is not to say that I do not love my family; I just define my home based on an intangible and unexplainable substance. Perhaps it is the air, the three-flight climb to my room, or the absolute freedom I have discovered, but Geneseo has become my definition of home. 

The first few weeks at Geneseo have only solidified my original views of the campus. The connections I have made within these weeks have forced me to analyze all the relationships within my heart. For years, I’ve maintained a single group of friends—one with whom I have gone to school for seventeen years. Then we were all thrust into different lives, different colleges, and we all had to cling to new friends we had never considered. Yet these new friends don’t feel new. Somewhere within the transition to college, a time switch occurs, making days of knowing new people feel like years…or perhaps this is a unique experience due to my extreme feeling of home at Geneseo.  

Geneseo has not only garnered a feeling of home within the relationships I have made, but that feeling of home is extended to classes as well. Every one of my professors has met me with open arms and is willing to work with me to ensure my success. I have yet to feel overwhelmed by college because of the pace of my classes. In the past, I have struggled with procrastination, but having all my semester’s assignments in one place has been extremely helpful for my brain to comprehend. I can work on multiple assignments at once and look weeks into the future so I don’t end up overwhelmed as I have in the past. The pace at which all my professors are going is perfect for my learning style, and I am so grateful that the place I feel most at home is also a place that fully caters to my brain’s needs. 

My high school English teachers placed a lot of value on creating writing that could be defined as “artsy.” Therefore, my brain naturally falls into a pattern of writing artistically, and I often struggle with presenting simple information while writing. I always try to turn information into something pleasant to read, which is not functional for many kinds of writing assignments. Additionally, I aim to work towards clarity in my writing so that it is not difficult to understand or read. I hope this course will improve my writing habits. Mainly I hope to combat the previously stated faults within my writing skills, but I am also striving to become more comfortable with writing. Writing is a crucial skill in college, and I need to stop placing a heavy weight on writing tasks and instead attack them with the same energy I would if it were a simple knowledge-based assignment. I am hoping that with increased writing, I will become more comfortable with the act, and writing assignments will simply become another aspect of life. 

Although we have only read the prologue of The Theatre of War by Bryan Doeries, I have already found a connection to my own life. My middle school best friend was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and it was always difficult to see her acceptance of death at such a young age. By twelve, she had already accepted that it would be a miracle for her to make it past 22. Her rationalization of death forced me to recognize that we would all die someday. Death was not some far-off mystery that could only be realized in our 80s. Death was real, and for her, it was grinding closer with every passing day. The Theatre of War brought me back to middle school, brought me back to that feeling that I was going to lose my best friend again. Although I have grown apart from her, that feeling of painful fear will never leave me, and I am grateful that literature was able to bring me to such a feeling. Emotion in literature is equally important as knowledge, and I expect that future readings will extend my understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder. As a psychology major, mental health is of paramount importance to me, and it is exciting to be in a writing class that involves my prime interest.