The odd duckling

By: Vivian Youmans

When starting my first week of Geneseo, I wanted to go home. I felt like I was the odd duckling among the rest of the students around me. I seemed to have convinced myself that I wasn’t going to find a good group of friends even to do the simplest things such as eat dinner with, but now being halfway through, I can see my next four years being here at Geneseo with some of the best people I’ve met. The most solidified thing for me now is a routine of when my classes are and where they are, and what I should be doing in between. I do have to say I am one to procrastinate a bunch, and that can lead to overwhelming stress on myself. Overall, I am more comfortable on campus than when I first started.

As far as my classes go, I believe I am in good standing. Each class of mine has an assignment due on the same day every week, which is beyond helpful in solidifying a routine. As I said before, procrastination has been falling heavily onto me recently. During the first weeks of class, I wanted to ensure I started in good standing, but now it is more of a mentality to have it in before it’s due. Even if that being it is turned in ten minutes before the cut-off time. On the plus side, I am pretty lucky to have no midterms, especially before fall break. I think I speak for myself and other students when I say the single-digit days before fall break drag on drastically. I am happy with what I have accomplished this far into the semester, and I’m excited to see where I am heading. 

One could talk about all of the classes in my schedule and how they have impacted me, but I have chosen to talk briefly about Theatre Therapy for Veterans. In the class, we have covered a wide range of materials, stretching from mental health to the effect PTSD has had over hundreds of years. When in class, we indulged in the readings of Bryan Doerries. He has made connections about love and how far it spans in his life, and I realize that I can make my own connections with love within my life so far at SUNY Geneseo. When I gave my goodbye hugs from my hometown family and friends, I found that making new friendships and finding that love here on campus is a must-do. As the months have gone by, I have noticed that no matter how far I am away from home, the distance won’t break the bond between my family and me. I am also speaking of love having a massive effect on me because I am one of many incoming freshmen with a long-distance relationship. That person can be thousands of miles away from you; luckily for me, it is only about a hundred. Back on track with the overall thoughts on the class so far, I say two words; absolutely fantastic. The readings and blogs have significantly impacted my view of this class and my writing tactics. 

By the end of the semester, I believe I will be in a comfortable position. To be able to see a finish line by mid-December, I have a reason to keep going. Honestly, I can’t say I will have the most fantastic grades. It can be stressful when you are still trying to a new setting and find the ropes. I firmly believe I will still have created halfway through the semester in December, maybe even the bonds I have more! Being more comfortable with my surroundings on campus is also a huge factor that I believe will be different than where I stand now. If someone were to ask me what is one thing I could say to another student to help them, it would be, “Do what makes you happy.” Make the choices that put a smile on your face; make the choices that make you proud to be where you are and do what you are doing.

take a moment

As a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with Dr. Suess and his books. I found the colorful, vibrant pages with whimsical creatures and fluorescent lands to be a comfortable place to look upon under any occasion; They sparked my imagination. But that’s it—I would only ever look at the pictures. I never found reading the lines exciting, so I would skim through and look at the soft truffula trees and cringe at the green eggs and ham. As a freshman in college, I find that Suess’s words have a deeper connection with me. This quote, in particular, resonates with me. Oh, and disclaimer, I grew up thinking it is his quote, but it has never been proven, although, to me, it is his:

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance. Take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.” Unknown

I have read that quote quite a lot in the past few months here at Geneseo.

I have noticed that Greek life and partying are the two major activities you can do here as a student, and when you are into neither, it can get lonely. In general, everyone seemed to have found their group of friends to hang out with and go out with on move-in day. Almost everyone was open and welcoming; after about three weeks, that all went away. There is a Main Street as well, but being a college student, a low income makes shopping very different. Being able to balance life at home while living a new life here can sometimes be unbearable. I am lucky (I must say) to have been able to go home quite a few times while here. I have become quite accustomed to the train station in Rochester. Some of my other friends aren’t as fortunate; they wait until the holiday breaks. In truth, I envy them. I envy every person I have spoken to on campus who tells me they live eight hours away and can’t go home until Christmas. I envy the fact that they can stay emotionally stable for weeks. No familiar hugs from a loved one or looking out a car window to see the little village they passed by every day as a kid. I always make myself up to be a person who keeps her calm. I can put a smile on my face just as others can. 

The past few months here have been nothing short of different—different stores, buildings, views, and faces. However, in terms of classes thus far, I have enjoyed them. Recently, I have taken two exams in my geography class. Sitting down for the first time in four years to take a test on paper felt weird. The minute you feel you have gotten everything back to normal after COVID, something makes you remember how it all was before. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss high school—I dreadfully miss the six o’clock wake-ups, the cold walks to the bus, the eleven classes back to back, and the relieving walk out the doors to the same bus once again. In high school, I dreaded every second I had to sit in those metal chairs and hear the constant chime from the bells in the hall. I regret not pausing for a moment to take it all in before it was gone. I had some unbelievably amazing friendships in senior high, and now I have parted with just about every single one. But that’s growing up.

Within the last few weeks, I have been introduced to many different views on writing and literature. Just recently, in my INTD 105 class, I was introduced to the book Acts of War. As soon as I opened the first reading, I noticed it was all written in play script format. I had to do a double take on the pages—I leaned over to my friend and asked her if she had read something like this before, but she shook her head no. Little did I know in the next few weeks, reading that script as a class would be the most fantastic form of reading I had ever done. Opening up to a way different way of reading wasn’t something I thought was possible. I say that because I had expressed in class that I had never read anything besides the usual chapter-by-chapter books from grades K-Twelve. Being able to read out loud with others around me in the class has made me more connected to the class. This class has been nothing less than genuinely eye-opening. I am absolutely impressed with the setup of the criteria. I have even gotten my roommate to take a class with this fantastic professor in the Spring!

By the end of the semester, all I can hope for is good standing in all parts of my life here at Geneseo. Those parts include but are not limited to my friendships, grades, home life, personal well-being, etc. I have faced moments this semester that have made me need to take a step back to re-evaluate my choices and thoughts, and that’s okay. I can’t say my grades will be perfect in the end, but I am putting forth my best effort, which is what life is all about—putting forth your best. Not the best that others want, the best that you want. I have created amazing friendships and discovered what it is like being a Knight here on campus.

To reiterate part of what Suess said, “If it changes your life, let it.” Being here on campus has changed my life. Taking these classes and seeing different viewpoints has changed my life as well. College life is changing itself. At the same time, society deems college to be all shiny, pristine, amazing, and guess what? It’s not always that way. There is also an emotional aspect to it that many pushes under the rug. Let me say this—you are not alone. Some students out there share their thoughts and feelings about being first-year college students. I believe that the world has come to say that the only reasonable option in your life is to be perfect and follow the stereotypes engraved into society. Nobody is perfect. As long as you try and do what you love, that will carve you to be the best version of yourself.

NObody Told me

Hello there, I’m Vivian Youmans. I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. I grew up there for about four years until my parents divorced. When I turned five, I moved to Syracuse and grew up there for the rest of my life up until now. I lived with my mother and my brother and visited my grandparents often because they lived 7 minutes away. A little bit of an insider about me, my middle name is Love. I used to have people tell me that I was lying, but it’s the plain truth. My middle name was given to me after my great-great grandfather, George Love. He was drafted into the army at the age of 16 and never came back home.

I’ve always been more comfortable and accustomed to home. So leaving my safe space is huge for me. Before coming into college, I have had so many people in my life tell me all sorts of things that they experienced in college, each and everyone in defining detail. My parents talked to me about their friendships, the endless times their friends, and they had a good laugh and tried to contain it in class. The parties; Where there were mosh pits of sweaty teens dancing to Depeche Mode. As well as all the crazy crowded football games they attended where the crowd would sway to Sweet Carolina and do “the wave.”But there was one statement that my mother told me that stood out the most. She told me that she met her lifelong best friends in college, some of whom were at her wedding. She said, “ You’ll meet your bridesmaids in college, trust me.” From then on, I always felt that college would be fantastic and everything I dreamt it to be; I would find my people.

Now, partially, that could be correct. Geneseo is gorgeous. The campus is perfect for someone who doesn’t want too big but doesn’t want too small. In truth, it wasn’t my first choice. I never had even toured the campus before I applied. The entirety of my family has gone to Syracuse University. My grandmother even teaches there to this day. I applied, of course, but I honestly didn’t want to continue the line; I wanted to branch off. I received a letter a couple of months later in my email from SU stating that I had not gotten in. I felt like I had let down my family and friends, saying to myself that if I couldn’t get into SU like the rest of my family, I wouldn’t get in anywhere. A few more letters rolled in a few weeks after starting the same, starting with the word “ Unfortunately.” I lost hope that I had no idea what I was doing. I reread my general common application, checking for errors or missing information, but it was all filled out. I was astonished and excited when I found the Geneseo letter in my mailbox stating that I was accepted into the SUNY Geneseo community. I told my family and friends; the overall consensus was good.

It’s a giant step, moving to college: new people, new life, a new beginning. Since moving in, I have been determined to find my lifelong friends. I met my roommate on move-in day. Noticing that everyone on my floor had known their roommates before moving in, I became extremely anxious. My roommate and I had talked for about a month over text, sharing little details about ourselves. I spoke to a few people on campus about my thoughts as a freshman moving in with someone you barely know, and most felt the same way! It made me realize that I am not alone in the beginning stages of living with another person.

As far as classes go, it has been a blur for the past few weeks. Being so nervous that every assignment is turned in and that you start with a good grade can take the fun out of any class. I am enrolled in Physical Geography, Creative Writing, Geneseo First-Year Seminar, and Theater- Therapy for Veterans. Focusing on Theater- Therapy for Veterans class, I have found a sense of comfort that I can’t say I have for any other course. The connections I have made with the people in this class have helped me immensely. I started with very high expectations on the first day of class, maybe a little too high. I hope to learn what it means to be a college student writing an essay rather than a high school student writing an essay. This class overall seems exciting, and I love the energy coming from the teacher. It always helps to know that you can feel comfortable talking to your educator.

Geneseo is a magnificent community, but I was only told the positives outweigh the negatives in college. No one warned me about all the sharp, stressful times. No one told me that making friends would be harder than ever and that classes have a way of getting overwhelming in the first week. No one told me that as much as I was ready to jump in and move away, I would miss home. No one told me I would want to go home so fast and hug those I’ve grown around. I was only told that it’s an enormous change and that I would enjoy it.