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Beginning at Geneseo

What’s up, everybody, my name is Callaghan Oberst, and I am currently a freshman. I am a biology major and a member of the varsity lacrosse team. I am from Rochester, New York, and, more specifically, Brighton. I live with six other lacrosse players, all from Long Island, and none of us knew each other before coming here. To be completely honest, I was nervous about rooming with six random people I had never met before, but it couldn’t have turned out any better. We all get along well and balance each other out. Last week my suitemate Jake and I stayed up until three in the morning watching a tennis match; before that, I had never watched tennis. The first couple weeks of being here have been nothing short of exciting. I’ve always been more of an introvert, but being surrounded by new people always made me come out of my shell and helped me find people who do the same extracurriculars as me. This place opens you up to so many new experiences and people. What’s had the most significant impact on me here is the friendliness of everybody; it seems as though most people here are genuinely kindhearted people, rather than cliquey, which high school is often like.

My second biggest worry coming into college was the courses and workload because in high school, all the teachers would say it would be ten times harder. Are the courses and work harder? Yes, but you are provided many resources to receive academic help if needed. In both of my general science courses, we have Supplemental Instructors or SI’s who hold instruction sessions outside of class to help clarify and break down material in the course. The other nice thing is that you can plan your schedule around your practices and lifts if you’re an athlete. I’ve had to improve my time management because if you don’t, your work will catch up to you. I made a color-coordinated excel spreadsheet organized by the due date of assignments which has helped me stay on top of my workload. 

As I am only three weeks into taking Theatre Therapy for Veterans, I still am not entirely sure what to expect from it. Often was told to write a paper in science or history that would be very dry. I have not steered away from that type of writing, which often makes my English papers slow and hard to read thoroughly. Therefore, my goals are to become a more elaborate writer, especially when writing to break down a novel or some writing piece. I also hope to make my writing more captivating and exciting for the audience.

I relate quite a lot with the textbook we are reading in class, _They Say I Say_ by Gerald Griff and Cathy Birkenstein. In chapter one, the authors refer to a speaker at an academic conference as Dr. X. In this chapter, they explain how although Dr. X backed his speech with evidence, it was hard for the audience members to understand why he was trying to emphasize this point. The writer's point out that you must start your writing with what they say. In other words, you need to address what you are responding to or arguing. When writing argumentative essays, I never understood the use of a concession. Still, I see that it is not necessarily for me but for the reader or audience to understand the entire situation rather than just your snippet. I also related that you (as a writer) must put yourself in the shoes of the reader. When writing about a topic you have a bank of knowledge, your reader might have absolutely no clue what the writing is about unless it is broken down into digestible pieces.

The First of many sunsets

Professor Arena 

INTD 105 

1 September 2022

My name is Samantha Emke. I am a first-year student at SUNY Geneseo. When I am not here, I live in Eden with my mom, dad, and older sister, Alex. I am lucky to have a family that is very close to one another. Once a psychic even told my mom that her, Alex, and I were all sisters in a past life. We had such a close bond that we decided to reincarnate together. I am not sure how true that story is, but we all are very close to one another. I also live at home with about thirty animals. At Geneseo, I do get homesick without being near my family or my pets. So far, I have gone home once. Honestly, I was not sure if I would make it back. My parents keep having to reassure me that I made the right decision to go to Geneseo and that I will eventually love it here.  

Moving away from home for the first time is a strange transition. Having to take on all sorts of responsibilities and become independent is an indescribable feeling. You always hear how great college is, the parties, the friendships made, it is supposed to be the best years of your life, however, this can be quite different if you are not an outgoing, party-type person. At times it can feel like you are so different from others that you are supposed to love being social all the time, but I have learned that it is okay not to be outgoing or want to party all the time. It can take time to find “your people” with the same interests as you, and slowly, you will find each other. Once this happens, you will feel more at home. My first few weeks at Geneseo have been okay, with a few hiccups. During the first two weeks, there was an issue with my roommate. We had found each other over the summer and decided to become roommates. Once move-in day came, I realized that we had completely different ideas of what fun was and that being an introvert myself was not going to work while living with her. After a lengthy process, it finally came the time I was allowed to switch rooms. Being with a roommate you are compatible with makes all the difference. I feel happier being here at Geneseo and feel I focus on my classes instead of worrying about roommate drama.  

 I am a history major with a museum studies minor. This semester, I am taking five courses: World of Vikings, Art History, Theater Therapy for Veterans, Intro to the History Major, and Local and Public History. So far, my favorite has been art history. Over the summer, my sister and I traveled to Europe and went to some prominent art museums, such as the National Gallery in London. Connecting the artwork I saw in the museums to the artwork talked about in class makes it even more interesting to me. To be honest, taking an art history class initially made me nervous. I kept thinking how much I would dislike it since I always thought it was not my “thing”, however, this could not be further from the truth. Once I began to engage in the course, it became quite fun for me. Now I cannot wait to go to class! Since the course interested me so much, I decided to join the history club and the art history club.  

Another class I have enjoyed is my writing seminar (Theater Therapy for Veterans). During the semester, I hope that through this course, I not only improve my writing skills, such as my grammar and vocabulary, but also to learn the history and science of why veterans use theater to help with their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) The class so far has taught me how to improve my writing skills. Even though I had thought I was a good writer, once I had read about the ways to improve, I instantly realized how many common mistakes I make in my writing. 

Overall, my beginning at Geneseo has been nothing like I expected. Even with minor difficulties, I love being able to study here. I can already see my friendships forming and now realize that I made the right choice. Whether it is walking past the “Seuss Spruce,” the classes, or getting to sit in the gazebo to talk with friends, there is always something to look forward to at Geneseo. Seeing that first sunset on your first night here makes you realize why you wanted to come here in the first place. It takes (and will continue to take) patience but eventually, you will learn that it is all about family here, and everyone can fit in.  


On September 23rd, 2004, my parents named me Joshua Irizarry inside a hospital located in the Bronx. Ever since that day, New York City has been my home. Although the city has its problems, such as being dangerous and expensive, I still love it and want to at least live near it in the future. However, as I stated, it has its issues. Since I’m not from any wealthy area of the city, such as lower Manhattan, myself and the people around me have experienced situations we would have preferred not to experience; including being threatened with weapons or being mugged; however, it is important to keep in mind, the chances of this happening again, or in general, is slim. 

Nonetheless, I would still like to live outside of the city, preferably in a suburban neighborhood close enough to New York City so I can commute. This is because even though the city has problems, it still has a lot of amazing career opportunities. It is also my main reason for coming to college in the first place. My goal in my life is to get one of those high-salary jobs in Manhattan, so I can afford my three objectives for life. These objectives include being able to financially support my mother (who is constantly working hard), an affordable Tudor-style home near New York City, and a convertible BMW M4 Competition.

The objective of being able to support my mother financially is my main goal. In the late 1990s, my mother left her home country of the Dominican Republic and arrived in New York City with one goal in mind; to have a better life. She is always working, pushing her limits to now not only support herself but me and my grandmother as well. While I was home, there were days and nights when I wouldn’t see her due to working or sleeping over at my grandmother’s home to take care of her. Even with all these sacrifices that she made, she put me in the position I’m in today. That is why I’m taking this opportunity to be at Geneseo to the full extent. To better both my life and hers.

Thankfully, Geneseo has treated me well. These past few weeks, I’ve met many great people. Some, of course, I met once, then never again; others, I see occasionally and say hi to. The rest have become my friends. The professors have also been treating me very good as well. Although the coursework wasn’t arduous, I realized how important the idea of time management is. I slacked a bit at first, which caused me to be a little behind in two classes but catching up will be possible. 

In this class, Theater a Therapy for Veterans is going a bit differently than expected. The first time I saw I was given this class, I thought I would be working on a play, or something similar, for the entire semester. On the contrary, we have been mainly doing tasks about writing and filling journals. Overall, this class has been going smoothly, and just like all my other professors, this one seems very passionate about what they teach. I also did not expect this class to be as interactive with one another. Originally, I believed it would be very interactive because I thought the class would focus on manufacturing a play. However, during syllabus week, when we were told about the readings and writing, I believed it would be just that, then work together on a play at the end. However, as I already mentioned, it has been more than that; I’m glad since we have discussions that are interesting and have me question myself. All and all, this class and college has been wonderful, and I can’t wait for what the future holds.

Geneseo, Geneseo: We’re Halfway There?

I found myself checking the dates when reading the format of what this blog should be. I then looked at the date, realizing it was halfway through October. Truly where has the time gone so quickly? I swore yesterday I was unpacking my dad’s car in the blaring heat and joking about everything I brought and how it was definitely over the top. Seeing my dad begin to cry as we finished our dinner at Mama Mia’s, (which was well deserved) after ten trips up and down the dorm steps (don’t worry, my waterworks started quickly thereafter). It’s been hard for me to grasp how quickly this place has become my home, especially since I miss my life back home (especially my bed dearly). I guess I never thought that the end of the first semester would come so quickly, but around the time someone will be reading this on word press, it should be around seven to eight weeks! I hope this isn’t coming off as me wishing my time away. I’ve made some of the most amazing friends I believe will be in my life for a long time. I’m so grateful to my parents, who have made this college dream a reality for me.

So far, the classes I have been in are super informative and a joy to partake in. I feel as if many of the education styles during K through twelve had me thinking the college wouldn’t be any better. In all actuality, though, I feel as if I’m finally getting so much enrichment out of learning. I’m taking classes I want to engage in because it’s now so simple to pay attention to topics I enjoy. Furthermore, in college, I’m starting to realize the importance and power knowledge has and how it necessarily doesn’t always have a good grade attached. Though I’m doing very well right now, there have been times when I’m not focused on the letter or number but more looking forward to reading a professor’s response. I appreciate growing my education as a whole while connecting with people who are also passionate about the topics they teach.

Theatre Therapy for Veterans has become one of my favorite classes. I have finished one of the main books, The Theatre of War by Bryan Doerries, and it is something I have suggested to anyone who will listen to me ramble. After reading this book, it’s fascinating to me the new appreciation I grew for the brave service members and veterans of our country. The bit of knowledge I have on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the book has helped me take a different look at not only what these courageous people physically put on the line so selflessly but what mental struggles they have to live with on the day-to-day. Alongside the sacrifices their families make as they protect us. The book had me teary-eyed in some sections. It was so well written. Doerries did an incredible job portraying other people’s stories he learned during his tour. It did its part in helping people learn the other side of P.T.S.D. and how frankly debilitating it can be for someone not seeking help. It wretches your heart seeing men and women help others so heroically but show some struggle to help themselves. To understand just how powerful this book is, you need to read it. For anyone who either seeks better knowledge on Theatre and how it relates to Veterans coping with P.T.S.D or just looking for an interesting read you can’t put down, I suggest this one a hundred times over.

As we are heading toward the end of the semester, it is coming a lot quicker than I ever expected. I hope to understand my limitations better. When school started, I was always trying to stay busy, doing homework for some classes due the following month, and it started to make me sour towards homework. I made it ten thousand times more complicated than it had to be. By the end of the semester, I think I’ll (hopefully) learn better time management and how to better pace my time. It doesn’t make me a bad person to take care of myself, and I’m starting to come to terms with that. Going from a highly active life where I was constantly getting something done to hunkering down to do my best at college is an adjustment. Though it’s a change, I like the new skills I’m learning and enjoying this path of getting to know myself better.

Second reflection

Compared to my first year, many things have changed for me. The workload is a lot different than I expected. I’ve always considered myself busy, but sophomore year takes the cake. Last year my latest class ended before 4:30 pm, and now my classes end at 10:30 pm. My time management was challenging this semester. I found it very difficult to have a full day of classes, rehearsals and still have the energy to do homework as well as take care of myself. I want to show the same amount of effort in my general education classes as in my major-based classes, but it is much more complicated than I thought it would be. When I was younger, I never took general education classes seriously in high school, so a liberal arts-style college was a bold choice for me. I have always struggled academically with non-music classes. I always found it easier to memorize a song than it is to study for a test or write an essay. But I wanted to have a well-rounded education no matter the struggle I went through during it.

 My major-based courses are a great way to challenge me. I was never a dancer, so I am glad I’m taking a dance class to help me build technique. I’ve started to improve my dancing, which I am proud of. I am also in “Chamber singers,” and that class keeps me on my toes. It helps me pay attention to detail and gain more confidence in my ability to read music the first time and then sing it. Choir has always been my passion, and I am glad I get the opportunity to experience that again. My professor is demanding, so I feel honored that he trusts me with such beautiful works such as Eric Whitacre and Undine Smith Moore. I adore variety in choral music because it is never all the same Catholic mass music; it can be spiritual or contemporary. Learning new styles of music is very valuable to me as a musician. I am taking a class called Musical Theatre Performance I: Foundations. It is an incredibly daunting course. We are assigned songs we have to perform and work on them in front of the class. It is a very intimate space, so being five feet away from my classmates’ faces singing is naturally very uncomfortable. At first, I was a nervous wreck in this class because everyone could see me, and I could see their reactions as I sang. Over time I got more comfortable with these people and intimate performance spaces. At the beginning of this class, I was assigned a song I didn’t like. I felt the song was easy to sing but hard to understand emotionally. However, as time went on and I worked on this song, I learned not to judge something at first glance or not to hate something because I find it difficult. 

Often, my stubbornness gets in the way of my learning. Once I got to college, it allowed me to learn my own way while doing the same things as other students. In this class, I learned to challenge my thinking and political morality. I was never fully educated on military life and what happens to veterans after they leave their deployment. I have family who are veterans, but that was a part of their life they never talked about. When I read American Tet in class, I was shocked by the reality of veterans living with PTSD. To learn about an experience that is outside of myself was eye-opening. I have always been passionate about integrating theatre and music into therapy and other mental health services. In Theatre of War, they use Greek tragedy as a way for veterans to connect and be seen. It is so powerful to see such an old story remain relevant and meaningful to people. In the book, they explain how they wanted to bring a Greek tragedy to a prison. Naturally, this did not end up going well with the inmates, and I wondered what the expected final product of the performance was. It had me question the morality of prisons and the treatment of the human beings inside of them. Being in a class that constantly challenges my thinking keeps me motivated to learn about other people’s lives and experiences. By the end of the semester, I hope to be more organized and on top of my game. I want to learn the skills to be successful in music and life. 

Halfway mark At Geneseo


      Halfway Mark At Geneseo

My experiences here at Geneseo have been going quite well and going pretty much as I expected. I am thrilled  I chose to go to school here. It is crazy to think that my first college semester is already half over, but as expected, time flies. When I first got here, I didn’t know many people, but as time passed, I started to make friends and meet new people. 

In my classes, (most of my classes) are very doable, although two of them are getting intense. These classes include my accounting and my microeconomics because the content is challenging, and I have to start to study harder for the exams, which I am not used to doing. Although, the workload is pretty fair. Especially with all of the free time I have here. I have time to get all of my work done on Thursday then I don’t have any work to do over the weekend, which is nice. But there is lots of room for improvement. This is because I could always put more effort into my classwork. Also, Increasing my study time will always be positive.

 My Theater Therapy for Veterans class is going pretty well so far. I am enjoying the content too. I would have to say this class is justly easy as long as you put in the effort. The workload in this class is small as long as you read and record your thoughts in our journals. It is only the halfway mark, but I am confident  I will be successful in this course. I really enjoy the content in this class because I find it is different from all the other classes I have had. I say this because learning all about veterans from a veteran is extraordinary. It makes it easier to learn about a topic from someone who lived it. Also, many of the readings that we go through are interesting. It is cool to learn about all of this, although I can’t say I can connect or relate to it. It is also interesting that every veteran has a unique story because everyone’s experience differs. Then after war, everyone’s experiences make them feel different ways. Some veterans might have worse PTSD than others.

Lastly, by the end of the semester, I hope to be in a similar spot that I am in now, which is showing up to all of the classes and keeping my grade high and all of my work on time. However, I want to change some of my habits. These habits include my study habits. I want to study more, which would make my test scores higher and my class works higher quality. I would also like to go out of my comfort zone and seek help when I need it. If I take these steps and change these habits, I will be in a great spot by the end of the semester. A similar spot that I am in now. 

A New Chapter

My name is Conlan Shirley, and yes, that is the correct order. Some may look at my name as Shirley Conlan and assume I’m an Irish woman. As a tall, dark hair, dark-eyed Polish man, I couldn’t be any farther from that. Beyond people switching my name around, some have never heard the name Conlan. You may know the Buffalo Bills player Shane Conlan, but that’s not my name’s origin. My Mom struggled with pregnancy, and when she finally got pregnant with me, she said it was like a savior that I came. Conlan, meaning Hero, was a clear choice to my parents when they found it.

Walking into SUNY Geneseo, I had no real expectations. All I knew was I would finally be on my own and make my own decisions. I grew up as an only child, so helicopter parents are understated. Beyond that, I had older college friends who had told me school stories. Most of them would say they hated it at first and that it took a while for them to settle in. I held this in my mind as I entered college, but not to my surprise, I was fine. It felt weird sleeping in a new bed, but from the second I walked into my dorm, I was hit with a wave of excitement and liberty. Honestly, I had chosen to have a random roommate for the fun of meeting a stranger, but we were very similar. We both like the same music and enjoy the same hobbies. I’m good at making friends, but it was nice to have someone to see the campus along with me initially. I had mixed feelings about classes. I knew they would be more strenuous than high school, but I hated how it was formatted. High school is chugging useless information and see if you can spit it out in a week while simultaneously learning nothing. Even after only being a college student for about two weeks, I already feel the difference. Classes feel more engaging, and I have to use critical thinking compared to memorization.

Taking this class is slightly unusual for me. Writing is not something that I particularly enjoy. Not because I don’t know what to say but because I don’t know how to put my words to paper. If you asked me to stand up and give a presentation on lions, I could do it perfectly, just off the top of my head. If you asked me to write a paper on lions, I would feel like the episode of Spongebob where he just wrote: “The” after an hour. I took this class because I want to improve my writing, more specifically, grammar and word formatting. Writing is a crucial life skill and will be something that I’ll use throughout my life. Beyond that, I want to learn to be a strong writer. I have a lot to say, and my lack of ability holds me back. Sometimes in my writing, I might leave out a good point I had just because I didn’t know how to word it.

In the book “They say, I say,” I recognized myself in the chapter talking about underquoting and overquoting. I had an avid problem with filling my writing with just quotes. I sometimes would do the opposite too. I would write an entire paper in my own words, then slap in one quote to hit a requirement. Beyond all, I’ve loved my time at Geneseo and this class so far. I’m very excited to see what the future holds.

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. 

Just Getting started

Don’t procrastinate- the number one lesson displayed through the first half of my semester. Continuing to adjust to new norms of my everyday lifestyle, it’s vital to stay on top of all your work. Free time is hard to come by, but one thing that I’ve learned in my time here so far has been priorities. I recommend completing your schoolwork before going out on weekends; I learned the hard way. Even though it took me some time to understand what comes before a built-in schedule was stitched into my head: class, eat, get work done, eat, more work, sleep, repeat. Overall, the beginning of the first semester has been stressful due to deadlines, routine, and balance. Balance has been the key to enjoying activities outside of school and getting work done. Besides school work, I’ve continued to play club baseball and intramural flag football to keep myself active. Staying active is a crucial part of college life because you can find yourself not participating in any physical activity throughout the day. When you do get lazy, let the “freshman fifteen” motivate you to start moving.

I was shaken when I opened the canvas and saw “Reflection halfway through your first semester at Geneseo” I was shaken. Have we already been here half of the semester? The beginning half of the first semester has flown by. The only issue regarding the approach of the halfway point is midterms. So far, courses haven’t been too much for me to handle. Studying for midterms leads to waves of stress and anxiety. Around this point of the semester, work continues to pile up, allowing each course to take its toll on time. Time management is crucial for completing assignments and studying because time is challenging to come by. My two introductory classes are taking up the majority of my workload: financial accounting and microeconomics. Having assignments due once every week and a quiz (in class)every other week have been at the top of my list. While some courses are boring, and I can barely sit through the lecture, I enjoy coming to this class.

The part I benefit from most is the group discussions. Working in a group setting has always been my strong point because it involves two basic skills: listening and responding. It sounds easy, right? But, most people struggle with taking in the information the other individual is saying. Focus is required to actively listen and respond accordingly. In The Theater of War by Brian Doerries, Prometheus gets put into solitary confinement due to stealing fire and giving it to humans. In prison, Prometheus feels like there’s no way out because the individual is chained up with no escape. In other words, people can have negative responses when they cannot do something based on their circumstances. I could relate to this because in my junior year of high school, I tore my labrum playing baseball and ended up needing surgery that brought my season to a close. Knowing there was nothing I could do about it drove my spirit down. This time was a challenge, but it takes time to consume hardships. The main lesson I received from my injury was to always have a positive mindset.

Where do you expect to be by the end of the semester? Besides the basic answer: I would like to accomplish the “A” to “B” range grades in all my classes. That’s a question that I have no clue how to answer. Some people might have set schedules or goals they want to achieve in the short term.I’m going with the flow and seeing where that takes me. Even though it’s important to have goals, you never know where you will end up. Goals are key to pushing through obstacles that interfere in your everyday life; therefore, there’s something that makes you want to keep fighting.