One (almost) done, one to go

I don’t know if it’s just me, but, WOW, I simply cannot believe that this semester is coming to a close. I feel like it was just the first day of classes, and you were explaining to us how we would be writing three blog posts, talking about our experiences at Geneseo as first-year students. Here we are, twelve weeks later, one more blog post left to do. It really made me realize how quickly time is flying and how we will be halfway through the school year sooner rather than later. I think that these past twelve weeks have mainly consisted of trying to find your way in the world, especially at a brand new school and home. I was ready from the start. I had been planning my early graduation and going to college since the age of thirteen. Maybe I had been in over my head, but certainly can confirm that I was indeed ready. One of the biggest things that changed for me personally was the independence of being away from home. Life here at Geneseo allowed me the opportunity to flourish independently while also being supported by those around me. Life here has felt right like it was what I had been patiently waiting for since such a young age. The newness of being here no longer feels like fear and uncertainty but instead comfort and a place of growth.

I think a part of me expected to be more overwhelmed with the shift from high school life to college life. Especially in terms of classes and the demand of them. There is a different kind of readiness I’ve learned that you have to have at the college level. I feel as though I have raised the bar for myself and things have been for the most part pretty well. Did I know what I was getting myself into when I saw I was in a theatre class but don’t have a musically inclined bone in my body? Nope. Was I at all ready to write creatively when I had never written a single short story in my life? Absolutely not. But with every class that held any sort of uncertainty, I knew I would be able to meet every expectation and every challenge with the confidence that I could do greater than I imagined.

I tend to think about the future, probably way too much, as you can tell from what my thirteen-year-old self was planning. However, a part of me is excited for the first semester to be almost over so that I can start the next and continue on here at Genny. I feel like these past few months almost paved the way for the semesters to come. It was a chance to get used to how classes are, what it would be like meeting and working with others, but also testing your own personal limits and capacities. I’m seventeen right now and already thinking about how I’m ready to graduate college and move on with my life. Like I’ve said, if you really can’t tell already, I think about the future way too much. If there’s anything I’ve learned as week twelve begins, it’s that time truly is going faster than the blink of an eye and that you need to enjoy moments before they’re gone. It may have been quite the transition from life before college, but it has changed a lot of parts of my life for the better. I am very much looking forward to what life has in store in the future, and I don’t just mean five years in advance. I’m attempting to stay present and focus on the now.

How it started vs. how it’s going

Every single time I go home or talk to a family member, I get asked the same two questions. I mean it, every single time I see them.

  1. “How is college, Haley?!”
  2. “How do you like Geneseo, Haley?!”

Personally, I think we need to switch up the questionnaires and spice things up. Maybe that’s just my family and me, but I’m telling you, I’m not being dramatic about this one. It always takes me a moment to give them a response. I genuinely ask myself how much I’m actually enjoying Geneseo, the place that has become my new home. Part of me wants to exclaim about how much I love life here, yet another part of me is still trying to find my place here at Genny.

In terms of classes, that is something that I am still trying to find my way. Even though it’s Week 8, which, let me just say, WOW. I still can’t believe we’re already halfway through the semester. Anyways, I’ve always had a hard time speaking up in class and making my presence known. Since day one I have been that shy kid who can barely talk to her own family members. I may be doing well grades-wise but my goal for the end of this semester is to be a fully active participant in every single class. That may be an insanely large goal for me, but I believe I am fully capable of obtaining it.

That’s one of the reasons why I love it here at Geneseo and being able to have a fresh start in my freshman year. We are all still new here, the most unfamiliar with life on campus and in the classroom; so what better opportunity to emerge ourselves to the fullest in class and make each of us known. This transition from high school to college is something that is going to take time. The uncertainty of life here will eventually fade away and turn into comfortability. Before Geneseo, I had the same wake-up, the same schedule, the same practices, the same ending to the day. It was a constant cycle. Now, things are different, and every day has the capability to hold a new potential or discovery. As the semester continues, I hope to learn more, discover more, meet more people, and continue developing the person that I want to be here. On top of that, maybe by the end of the semester I’ll stop getting asked those same two questions. Who really likes small talk anyways?

A blank slate

I’ve been at Geneseo for about three or so weeks, and honestly, it feels like I’ve been here for much longer than that already. The fact that I packed up all of my things and moved 45 minutes away from home in Rochester, New York, less than a month ago absolutely blows my mind. I’m not going to lie and say it’s been nothing but a breeze, but things are completely starting to fall into place for me here at Geneseo. Graduating a year early from high school, I was ready to get out of the place that I have always known and spread my wings to explore brand new places and experiences. To me, college has been a blank slate; it is a chance to start fresh and create the future you want for yourself.

To be completely honest with you, I made my college decision at the very last minute. By last minute, I mean the absolute last day that you possibly can. Decision-making is not one of my strong suits in life. I can barely decide what I want to eat for dinner when I go out (which I rely heavily on my girlfriend to decide on), what to wear in the morning, or even the college where I will spend the next four years of my life. Which, I do admit, is one of the larger decisions you have to make, so cut me some slack on that one. Anyways, I’d like to think that Geneseo caught my attention from the beginning. I’m a sucker for good views and scenery, and there is plenty of that here. I think that sometimes you just know something will be good for you even before you get to truly experience it. That’s the exact feeling I got with Geneseo. I was looking for somewhere that was a decent distance from my family so that I could easily see them if I needed to and a place that could end up feeling like a home away from home. After almost a month of being here, I definitely succeeded in finding a college that makes me feel that way. To me, deciding what college you go to is always partially a leap of faith. You never know how something is going to turn out until you try it and emerge yourself. I couldn’t be happier that I decided to take my leap of faith with Geneseo.

Within my first two days at Geneseo, I had two classes that I would’ve taken, cancel, and removed from my schedule; it was a stressful time, to say the least. All I could think to myself was, I am not even surprised this is happening to me, you know what they say, “Bly luck.” Luckily, everything got taken care of and put in order. Part of me ended up feeling more worried about going to those newly added classes, unsure of what had been put into my schedule. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I found out I was going to be taking the Theatre – Therapy for Veterans class. When I read the word theatre, my first thought was that I am incapable of all things singing and dancing. Little did I know that well, I wouldn’t have to show my lack of musical talent, but that this class was so much more than I ever expected.

By definition from the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder, is “a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.” In our Theatre-Therapy for Veterans class, we are learning specifically about veterans that experience PTSD and how the performing arts can be used as a therapeutic tool to help them cope with the pain. Mental health issues, affecting both veterans and humans across the world, are a genuine problem that has a big stigma around them in society. We normalize healthy mental states and easily forget that struggles truly do exist, no matter how minimal or extreme they may be. Coming from someone who knows a lot about the toll that mental health can take on the brain, I have a deep connection to that aspect of this class. I may not have been a veteran, I may not have witnessed war or mass amounts of people being killed. However, what I do have in common is the knowledge of what it feels like to hurt and feel pain. I am ready for the school year to continue and be in this class that I honestly didn’t expect to be a part of but am grateful for the opportunity to be here and learn.