A period of transition 

As the first semester of my sophomore year comes to a close, I can say this has been the most eventful time of my life. Catching Covid in September pushed me back a lot in my work and social life. I missed so many assignments and campus events that coming out of quarantine felt like I was starting over from scratch. Being isolated for almost two weeks made me realize that the world doesn’t wait for you. Work piled up and it was as if everyone forgot about me while I was away for what seemed like forever. My friends checked in when I first started isolating, but then the communication stopped. I had no idea what was going on outside of my cold room in Niagara Hall.

The death of my grandfather from dementia and cancer took a toll on me this fall as well. It signified a great change in my life; one that I thought I would have more time for. My close family has remained constant and stable throughout my childhood, but after his death, I definitely noticed a shift. There is a lot to deal with after a person dies and many loose ends to tie up. My mother has become very involved in this process, and as a result, I feel a lot more independent as a young adult. I’ve wanted this kind of freedom since I was a little girl, but I miss the attention from my mother. While my grandfather’s death was something my family expected, it shocked us all in different ways. Each of us had our own personal connections to him, but I will never know about them. In my family, we rarely express our emotions. Our lack of expressing emotions is something I think about constantly because I wish it were different. It would be nice not to have to venture outside of family to discuss family business. The whole situation felt strange, especially the timing of my grandfather’s funeral—I went home to New York City for the services while my peers were celebrating Halloween weekend. The lesson that I’ve learned so far in sophomore year is that the world will not wait for me. With sickness and death altering my life this semester, I have learned that life is short and should be lived to the fullest.

Back to my first year

It is now my sophomore year at Geneseo, but I can remember my first year like it was yesterday. Coming to Geneseo in August 2020, I experienced culture shock as a girl from Brooklyn, New York. The community was very foreign to me and I didn’t always feel welcomed. With the percentage of the BIPOC community being so small, I felt it would be best to get to know the people within it. I joined one of the cultural clubs, Black Student Union, where I started out as a freshman representative and now serve as Vice President. It was very comforting to hear the upperclassmen and first-years tell stories of their own personal experiences, knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt uneasy in this new environment. It took a lot of thought, learning, and reflection on how to deal with this major life change.

They say that high school prepares you for the real world, but college has taught me the most in such a short period of time. Listening to stories of people who experience being treated differently because of the color of their skin is different from hands-on experiences. From unnecessary stares to microaggressions, you can experience so much being a BIPOC student, and although I do rethink my decision of attending Geneseo at times, I appreciate the life lessons and confidence it has given me. The uneasiness doesn’t stop here and this is only the beginning. I look forward to Geneseo teaching me a lot more as I go through my next two years here. I’ve learned that having a support system and people to talk to is key. There are people worth getting to know of all cultural backgrounds; it’s just a matter of finding them. Thank you, Geneseo, for teaching me life lessons. Thank you for the connections with different types of people I have come into contact with. Most of all, thank you for the deeply supportive friendships I have formed through the Black Student Union and beyond.