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Everything must come to an end.

I never thought that the innocent joy of my childhood would remain a mere memory. College compels teenagers to forget about those stormy nights that terrified us, those school trips that went to the bookstore, but the simple fact that you had to go by bus with your friends, caused those jumps of illusion and joy. Those 20-minute breaks in which much of the week’s drama happened during those short minutes. In general, the innocent pleasure of small details. Now, one does not stop to think about those beautiful memories since there is no time for them; the only objective and thought is to reach the goal we only dreamed of as children.

The clock struck eleven in the morning, and I was surrounded by people I had never seen before during my years, and I must admit, it wasn’t very comforting. But as the days passed, I interacted more and more and got used to the routine. The routine of eating acai bowls on Tuesdays and sushi on Thursdays after class. The daily conversations about the reality of life and how there are rules on how to be happy, among other things. I know you’ll be asking why I’m sensitive if it’s only been three months. I titled this blog “Everything must come to an end.” And yes, it is true, that is the unwanted reality, having to follow the path of success, and because of it, the comfort of habit is lost. It is not a desire of anyone but an obligation due to the days going by faster and faster that you do not realize the beauty of the seasons. Seasons are another one of my few examples about the cycle of life and that although life is a cycle of experiences, there is no stop sign. If there is, it is only a temporary stop since many cars behind you will rush you to keep driving.

Well, I’ve talked a lot about the past, so let’s move on to the present. When I heard about the final project, I was terrified since I am not an individual who comes by public speaking naturally but out of obligation. But now it was different since the topic was severe and deserved to be heard and felt. I have to say that I didn’t know what PTSD stood for before I stepped foot in this class, but now that I know, I pay all my respects to the veterans because of the many resources. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), characterized by hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and avoidance behavior, was not diagnosed formally until the 1980s. Effective treatments for this condition did not become widely available until the 1990s. 

Although on the other hand, some individuals mark a contested and unsavory reputation towards the military. Of the texts we’ve read, such as Theater of War, or Acts of War, I have to admit that Nine Circles were one of the most impotent and vexatious theoretical pieces I’ve read. And it is not for the fact of having read it, but knowing that this happens daily to people living in Iraq, without it being shown in the news. That is why, returning to the mention of the final project, not being able to help or imagine what those who serve in the military go through every day and how they are irretrievably frightened. Having the opportunity to carry out this play, I can express my immense reverence and performance for the work of everyone with PTSD. Regarding this class, I feel that it has increased maturity in my outlook on my routine life. I am thankful daily for waking up and having family by my side. 

Although I am faced with the disadvantages of my readings without being dependent on a translator of English, I have been able to assimilate and provide a great understanding of the readings without having to go to the translator and depend on it. Although I have completed six years in this country, it is hard for me, and it will be hard for me to adapt to the assimilation. I will try my best to assimilate because it is clear that English is the dominant language you are expected to speak while in the states. I aspire to have the requirements and the academic hope of passing my classes while being able to enjoy the teaching this institute offers for a successful future. 

Bittersweet endings

Since midterms have finished, things have been peaceful— almost a little too peaceful. Midterms were not too stressful for me as I understood most of my classes’ material, excluding one. The time following midterms has me feeling like I’ve begun to find my way in Geneseo. One major thing slipped my mind due to midterms and panicking about finals— registration for next semester! I believe I have found my major, and I’m making my schedule work around that for next semester without having to wake up super early because I am not a morning person. Besides all that, I am doing rather well in my classes, namely this class. 

For various reasons, this semester, Theater Therapy for Veterans has been one of my favorite classes. The main two are that I feel comfortable in the environment of the class, and I understand (and enjoy) the work we do. I have connected with a few of the readings so far, mainly bits and pieces of The Theater of War and 9 Circles. I will not get into detail here, but it is nice seeing you are not alone in what you are going through. I really enjoyed reading 9 Circles because it was overall a compelling piece of literature. I appreciate the effort put into the writing and how it was written in a way that forces you to see both sides of a story. The rest of my time working with peers and Professor Arena in Theater Therapy for Veterans has been delightful. For the last few weeks of this course, I hope to put my all into my final sketch— even though I am nervous about performing it in front of my peers, which is funny because we have been reading aloud for weeks now. As for my other classes, I will continue to put all my effort into these remaining weeks. 

I believe that I will do well throughout the end of this semester— as long as I do not overwhelm myself and continue to pace myself with the work that is left. I have been feeling incredibly nervous about finals week, and I hope to give myself enough time to study for everything. All of my classes are going better than expected— I have mostly A’s and B’s. I continue to encourage myself to study and take the time needed for my work, but it is not easy sometimes. There are a few things I am trying to get done by the end of my first semester here at Geneseo. My hopes are I will be able to keep my grades up even by going home for the holidays and getting out of school mode, and giving myself time to relax so I do not overwhelm myself with studying and schoolwork. Maybe I can get into the classes I have planned for next semester. I’ve consistently reminded myself that even though things are stressful, this is worth it. 

My main concerns are the last two, I think. I have been working on my registration plan for a while, so I am crossing my fingers that I get into the classes I planned out. Lastly, I have been hard on myself for not getting straight A’s and only high 90s to100s on my schoolwork. Then I remember the first semester at college will be difficult because it is a significant change, and sometimes it is hard to adapt, but things will get easier. It is all going to be worth it in the end. No matter how challenging this has been, I can’t help but feel it is bittersweet having my first semester at Geneseo almost over. 

The Final Stretch

Since Mid Terms, my classes have continued to push forward. They are all picking up the pace as we get closer to finals. More information is being presented in class, and I am expected to learn and do more on my own outside of class. The military prepared me well for this increase in workload. While in medic training, I became certified as a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician, or NREMT. Generally, an NREMT course takes at least six months to complete in the civilian world. We did the entire course in 8 weeks, so I am more than accustomed to a fast rate of information presentation. Professors still help as much as they did in the first part of the semester. My classes that are either labs or outside of STEM have turned to final project prep. My Biology Lab final is a group presentation on microbiology, and the Theater Therapy for Veterans final is a skit about PTSD. There is no guide for how the performance needs to connect to PTSD, so there is considerable freedom within the rubric. I have been thrilled with how classes have progressed since Mid Terms this semester.

Overall, Theater Therapy for Veterans has been going very well for me. I have made friends with most of, if not all, my classmates. I enjoy the readings, and Professor Arena makes things as fun as she can, even though we talk about some very intense topics. I can connect with the readings we did in class with many different people because I have heard other soldiers’ stories about their time in Iraq. The readings we have done have mainly dealt with soldiers and them doing things in Iraq voluntarily or something that they had to do because it was their job to do them, and that’s how they were taught to do them. I have heard many service members tell me about things they did overseas. I could tell by looking at their body language and especially their eyes that told me they either regretted doing what they did or wished they could have done it differently. I think I connected more with 9 Circles by Bill Cain. It is a play about a soldier whose actions brought to light a problem with the war. I can almost understand why he did what he did through my dialogues with other service members who deployed to Iraq and the hate they developed for their enemies. This class has enabled me to start understanding my fellow service members’ struggles and how they can help deal with their struggles with PTSD.        

I plan to push through the semester and do well on my final exams and presentations. I only have three finals that I need to worry about, which is a good thing because the less spread out my attention is, the better. That way, I can focus on the classes that I need to. Doing well in my classes is very important to my future because it will allow me to achieve my goals outside of undergrad at Geneseo. I also plan to start working in EMS before next semester. I need a way to be able to support myself. I have lived off my savings for this semester; it is dwindling. I hope that the rest of my first semester goes very well and that I can go into winter break feeling like I did the best I could in my first semester.

Final Reflection

 

At the beginning of the semester, I was genuinely struggling. The workload, combined with my struggle with mental health, indeed took a toll on my schooling. As time went on, I started to do better for myself and my grades. Over this semester, I’ve learned how to balance my heavy work schedule and make time for myself.

            As the semester started, I was in Geneseo’s production of Into the Woods, where I was cast as Cinderella, one of the leading roles in the show. I was required to come to school significantly earlier than most, so it all started to pile up when classes started. I had no idea how to balance all my work. And honestly, I just needed to be thrown into the mess to know how to navigate it. As Into the Woods ended, my mental health started to decline rapidly. I could not get any of my work done, and I could barely attend classes. I finally decided to get help for myself, and the results of that are truly unique. I can now focus on what I’m doing, get more of my work done, and be more prepared for classes. A significant thing I’ve learned is that self-care is essential. Going to bed early makes a significant difference in my day. I’ve become interested in my classes, and I enjoy reading about the subjects. Since I can manage my time better, I can now revisit the old hobbies that I let subside due to time. I’ve gotten back into sketching as well as reading, and to have my old hobbies come back makes me feel like I’m myself again.

In this course, I’ve learned a lot. I never truly knew anything about PTSD or veteran life. Once I started doing the work for this course, I started feeling glad I signed up for it. PTSD is a thing all people should be educated on because it affects people’s daily lives. I wouldn’t say I liked the play when we read Nine Circles by Bill Cain. I have a habit of judging prematurely, so when I actually saw the play live, it completely changed my opinion. At first (when reading it), the play seemed cold and too heavy. Once I saw it live, the leading actor truly made the show unique. He didn’t make the character too likable, but he was still human. Indeed, this performance was stellar and made me rethink what I thought was true. I’m glad I could see it because it educated me on PTSD and military life in general. 

This semester has taught me a lot. It taught me to balance my time and homework in my classes. I’ve started to learn how to write essays, and by the end of the semester, I hope to have a fully-rounded education on how to write essays, manage my time, and take care of myself. I’ve also learned how to get help through the campus mental health services. I’ve had a great experience with the campus service, which has helped me a lot in my everyday life. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned in class in the future. 

The End

At the beginning of the semester, I compared the experience of being in college for the first time to being thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool and learning to swim. Now that midterms are over and the semester is nearing its end, I stand by the comparison I made early on; however, I will add that along the way, there are breaks in the depth and moments where everything does not seem so hard. For the most part, my classes have not changed in their difficulty level; however, they are by no means easy. The semester for me has been a struggle and a significant transition; I knew it would be, as it is for everyone, but I did not expect it to be this way. These past few months have been a major growth period for me, with many ups and downs academically. 

As far as this class goes, it has been the best for me. Not only is it the best due to the types of things that we do, such as the in-depth analysis of the readings, our journals, and class discussions, but it is a sort of confidence booster to see successful grades in a sea of not-so-good ones. Since my major is biology, I have been taking several classes that are pretty difficult, so it is a struggle to get A’s. Of course, just like many other classes, you get what you give, so in other words, put in the work, and you’ll get good grades; however, it seemed as though, for a while, the maximum amount of work just was not enough. That is why this class is my favorite; the difficulty level is more than fair, the topics are interesting, and I genuinely enjoy coming to class. 

At the start of this course, I anxiously anticipated the final as I am not good at public speaking or presenting in front of people. I’m sure many can see, even if it is a small group like this class, but I am determined to do my best. Throughout the semester, I have learned a lot of valuable information on the topics we covered, and from analyzing readings such as American Tet and 9 Circles, which I believe is the knowledge, everyone should have. While the content that we cover in this class can be hefty, I am really grateful for the opportunity to get to read them and learn many valuable lessons, such as the effects of PTSD and the importance of being able to see all sides of a story. Especially since it was not originally my choice to take this course, I feel very fortunate to have this class added to my schedule. 

As far as my hopes for the rest of the semester go, I hope it all goes smoothly. As finals are getting closer, every class is starting to pick up speed, which can be very overwhelming, especially since they are getting more complex. The idea of finals is terrifying and shocking how fast they are becoming a reality. In September, I remember thinking I had so much time and would be ready for when they came up; but suddenly, I blinked, and now they are just about a month away. I always believed people when they said how fast the semesters go, but I did not realize it would be this fast. That being said, I know that everything will all work out in the end and that if I put the effort in, I will get good results.

Full Circle

It is hard to believe I am at the end of my first semester of college here at SUNY Geneseo. It feels as if I was taking my tour with my parents around campus just yesterday. The instant feeling of belonging surrounded me once I arrived in Geneseo. It was such an overwhelming time of my life, as it is for anyone choosing a college. However, it was fun seeing the college students’ groups on campus and putting myself in their shoes. Recently, I bumped into a tour group and had a full-circle moment. It was weird seeing myself as a Geneseo student during their tour. To think that I made it to Geneseo and am now a part of the student body still amazes and excites me. Being a real historian in my classes is a thrilling experience. 

With the semester winding down, there are many final assignments to complete. For my World of Vikings course, I have to complete a paper with a partner about a movie based on the Vikings and rate its accuracy. I have not begun working on this yet, but I plan to meet with my partner soon since the due date is coming. My art history course does not have a project but rather an exam which I am not too nervous about since I am doing well in the class. I am really going to miss taking an art history course next semester because of how amazing Professor Toothe has been. I have also discovered some of my favorite artists and works within this course. For my Local and Public History course, I have to take a piece of local history and make it public. I have decided to focus on Geneseo’s Wadsworth family, specifically Martha Blow Wadsworth. Mrs. Wadsworth took many amazing photos worldwide, now in albums in Geneseo’s library. I met with the special collections department to discuss what project I could do with the photo albums and decided to digitize an album of Martha from her Paris and England trip in 1909. This project has given me lots of experience, such as learning to handle and care for artifacts, learning how to scan the pages and how to complete the metadata for the album. As a History major, this experience is beneficial in showing me the many parts of being a historian. Since I want to work in museums, knowing how to digitize an artifact is an important skill to have. 

In my Theater Therapy for Veterans course, the final assignment is to create a play with a group about a veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My group has been very creative with our story, which I think will be a good play. Besides the project, we have also finished reading 9 Circles by Bill Cain. I enjoyed reading this play because it showed the heavy emotions that occur to those in the military. Within 9 Circles, readers learn about Reeves, who served in the military. Throughout the nine scenes, I understood Reeves more and realized that his PTSD is most likely how other veterans feel. Each of the plays I read this semester brought PTSD into a new light for me to understand it better. It will be sad to say goodbye to this course since I have enjoyed the topic and found it interesting to learn about.

Overall I have enjoyed my first semester of college. I have learned many new facts about myself, such as my love for art history. Throughout my time so far, I have realized that even though I might doubt myself sometimes when things get rough, I made the right choice to be here at Geneseo. Thinking of myself on that tour a year ago, I think I would be very proud of the person I am today. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be sitting in class learning to become a historian or even loving to learn about art, I would have thought they were crazy. It seemed as if college was so far in the future still. Now it is here, and I have loved every minute of it.

Stuck in the cold

Geneseo is freezing. That’s the one thing I always notice shortly after midterms: how cold it gets here. The temperature decline goes hand in hand with how the second half of my semester is going. You’d think since this is my second year here, I’d be in the swing of things by now, but I’m not. My classes haven’t precisely gotten harder, but extenuating circumstances have made it more challenging to keep up. I’ve fallen behind in almost every class, but not to the point where it’ll be impossible to catch up. If my current academic standing were a temperature, it would probably be a solid Geneseo 40° (with wind, if we’re getting technical). The wind makes it worse, and it’s a toss-up as to whether it’ll warm up the next day or get even colder. Luckily, I don’t have any unsympathetic professors this semester, so working with them and trying to create new deadlines hasn’t been too difficult. 

This class, Theater-Therapy for Veterans, has been one of the better ones for me. The only assignment I’m very behind on is this blog! Once I turn this in, I think I’ll be in a pretty good spot. I enjoyed all the readings we did, although some sat really heavily with me. Neither my immediate family nor I have ever been in the military, so I couldn’t make any personal connections to the characters. I was, however, able to relate to the recurring theme of helpless struggle and enjoyed seeing it accurately portrayed by highlighting its effects on the person in crisis and everyone around them. The final is going well for me, too. Our final project is to write a play, so it gives us a break from something like a final essay or another long exam. My group worked well together and efficiently, so we could finish our script with ample time left for many run-throughs. We are performing it on Thursday, so I expect it to go well. 

By the end of the semester, I hope to get in as much missing work as possible, even if it means staying up all night. A strategy I’m using for myself, which I highly recommend, is making a pyramid of post-it notes on my wall with all the assignments I need to do. The ones at the top are the most important and are weighted the most, and the ones at the bottom are worth less. This way, I have a visual of what I need to do and how much progress I’ve made; this helps keep me motivated. If I stick with this, I’ll be in good standing by the time I go home for break. In other words, I’ll no longer be academically “stuck in the cold” like I am. 

Overall, this semester went smoothly, other than the last three weeks or so. This class was by far one of my favorites, and I would suggest it to anyone reading this blog. I’m eager to finish this semester strong and move on to the next. My advice, which I plan to follow going forward, would be to use strategies such as the post-it note pyramid before you scramble at the end of the semester to get work in. Keeping this in mind will help me refrain from relying on the adrenaline rush I get from working under pressure, making way for a much smoother and much “warmer” semester this spring. 

Numbers

As a freshman at SUNY Geneseo, adjusting has been challenging. I have gotten comfortable with my routines and balancing work with studying for my courses. However, there are still adjustments that I need to make and maintain to be successful here at college. It has been a month since the midterms came around. On my pre-calculus midterm, I got a question wrong that I did not finish in time, resulting in a test score of ninety-six. As for chemistry, I needed more time to complete the exam, only getting through half of the questions. As a result, the score was forty-five out of one hundred. The obvious solution to improve my test score is to time myself while taking the practice test.

In addition, I was doing poorly on my bi-weekly biology quizzes. I got a five and a six out of ten. Even though I regularly attended Supplemental instruction sessions, did all my homework, and participated in class, I still needed better results on each quiz. It was clear that I had to revisit how I study. So, I started to sit down and read each chapter of my textbook piece by piece instead of just completing the assignments. After these adjustments, the realization came to be that the amount of time spent on the course differed from the amount of knowledge obtained. The issue was not my time management overall but managing the quality of studying. Being more efficient with my time was the key to success, and it showed when I got higher test scores.

On the topic of my INTD 105 Theatre for Veterans class, I made some adjustments to keep up with the course. This course teaches a critical lesson on how procrastination will have an incredible impact. All the small assignments will pile up unless attended to day by day. Once the procrastination stopped, there was much to enjoy about the topics discussed in class. After each lesson, my perspective on veterans and their families widens. At first, the idea of being in a military family frightened me as it sounded impossible. For example, American Tet is a play about a veteran family and how the veterans fighting in the war are not the only ones impacted. The play ends with the son dying while serving and the daughter setting herself a flame. The play shows what a lack of awareness can do to a lovely family. Although the play portrayed a terrible outcome, there are many opportunities to prevent those events from becoming a reality. There are so many outlets and resources to lean on. Simply ignoring the elephant in the room is not enough to get by. Eventually, the lack of coping skills will eat each family member up inside.

As my first college semester is coming to a close, the key to doing well on my upcoming finals is understanding the material instead of memorizing answers. Sharpening my problem-solving skills and using my knowledge is now my priority over memorization. I came to college to learn about science, myself, and make friends, not just get good grades. Not only do I want to succeed academically, but to network by making friends and socializing. In other words, I want to make friends and lasting connections.

Scheduling the time for me to have fun gives me structure and ensures I do not experience burnout. Going to more campus events, volunteering at the horse stables on Avon Road, and utilizing the campus facilities, will help me feel recharged and be focused when doing coursework. Therefore, having the motivation to put in the effort necessary to do well on my finals.

Three: Finale

As the first snowfall came a few days ago, along with it comes the end of the semester and finals. Reflecting on my semester, it’s hard to recall memories; everything went by quickly. Not much has changed since I first arrived on campus; I still enjoy spending time with all my roommates and doing dumb things with them. I have gained some other friends outside of my suitemates, and it has made my classes more enjoyable. When I was in high school, I often was annoyed with having to participate in group work;

In contrast, at Geneseo, I’ve had to participate in multiple groups, such as my science laboratory and a project for English. Being put in those situations taught me to work better with others and cooperate. Since midterms, my classes have pretty much stayed the same. The workload is similar to before then, maybe a little heavier, but it will lighten up as we approach finals.

In particular, my INTD class has been enjoyable. We are approaching some final due dates for a couple of assignments and starting to work on our final projects. For our final projects, groups of three to five students are tasked with writing a script for a skit that includes the ideas of PTSD we have learned in class. In my opinion, this is much better than writing an essay or something along those lines. With the production of this script, we can express a lot more creativity and voice than if we had to write a paper. We have read two plays out of the book Acts of War in the last month. Both plays were hard to read for different reasons.

As a class, we read American Tet and 9 Circles. Both plays were exciting and allowed the reader to immerse themselves in the everyday struggles service members faced when they were active and after serving. In American Tet, my eyes were opened up to the other side of war: The side that the US is fighting against. Knowing the atrocities that occur in war for both sides makes you wonder if it is worth it- which is something that one of the protagonists argues in American Tet. Overall, I’ve enjoyed taking this course and am excited to continue working on the final project.

Two: Halfway mark

I am now halfway through my first semester at Geneseo, and wow, it has zoomed by in a blink. We recently had a fall break, and I went home to see my family. If you had told me in August that I would be itching to return to school, I would’ve called you crazy. But there I was, sitting on my bed at home, waiting to go back and see my roommates. So far this semester, I’d say that everything has gone smoothly. This past Friday, I finished fall ball, which is the off-season practice we do in the fall. It’s a bittersweet end to fall ball for my roommates and me. We are disheartened that we don’t have lacrosse until the spring. On the other hand, we now have much more free time to do assignments and go on weekend trips, like seeing the fall foliage at Letchworth State Park.

It’s good that we have this free time now because midterms are happening, and the assignments are coming in thick and fast. Although the workload has increased, it is still manageable. Often the work is a review of what was gone over in class, so it’s relatively easy as long as you attend class. Two weeks ago, I got a test back in my math class, and the grade was not where I had hoped it would be. The good thing is that the teacher offered a retake of that test to improve scores. I set up an appointment with a tutor in the Math Learning Center (MLC) and was able to go over the mistakes I made on my previous test and learn how to solve the problems I had missed. So far, that is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned. I think people my age, including myself, often think they are invincible and don’t need to ask questions or ask for help. I can say firsthand that it helps with clarification and a deeper understanding of topics. So if you are even a little confused, ask for help. It can’t hurt and will be advantageous in the long run. Other than that test, my courses are going well. Compared to high school, the speed of courses is faster; it feels like we’ll get through a unit in a week in biology that would take a month in high school, but as I said earlier, still manageable.

This class, in particular, is going well for me. I enjoy what we cover and the readings we have to do. It is also nice that the class is at eleven o’clock so I can sleep in, my other day’s first class is at eight-thirty so no sleeping there. In class, we read a piece of literature called _The Theater of War _by Brian Doerries. In this book, the author mentions the story of Ajax; in the play, the Greek legend Ajax loses his best friend Achilles in war. He is eventually driven into madness and takes his own life. I have never lost anyone in battle, but I have experienced the death of a close friend, so I could relate with Ajax about the mental toll that type of stuff takes on you.

By the end of this semester, I hope to make the dean’s list. To achieve that status, I need to earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher; that is my big goal. I, of course, have consistent goals of wanting to be a better person and lacrosse player. Hopefully, by the end of this semester, I can also learn to kick this bad habit of procrastination, as I am currently writing this blog the night before it is due.