Class of 2012: Megan Paolone shifts focus, finds direction

I wasn't always set on coming to Geneseo. I was an indecisive high school senior, and college simply seemed like the next logical step.

I arrived here as a freshman history major and soon after added Spanish, but despite having declared both of my majors, I still had no direction. For me, school had always been about getting good grades and impressing my teachers. Here I was thrown into a completely new place, faced with the unfamiliar and missing home.

That first year was really tough for me, to the point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay. It wasn't until I stumbled across The Lamron that I really made the unconscious decision to stay. Having a task outside of my classes every week that was important to me really solidified my feelings about belonging to the Geneseo community.

While my grades are still something that I obviously care about, I now know that they're not what are most important. Academically, I'm thankful that Geneseo has given me a chance at an education that means something outside of memorizing facts to get an A on a test. Because of this, I know I won't leave here as the timid freshman that I started as, but rather someone who has formed her own opinions and has some semblance of an idea about her place in the world.

Outside of classes, The Lamron has been integral in shaping my Geneseo experience. I spend at least 30 hours per week doing Lamron-related tasks, and I honestly don't know what I would be doing with all of my time if it wasn't dedicated to this publication. While I sometimes dread Wednesday production days – and do a good deal of complaining – being a Lamron editor has ultimately helped me realize my goals after Geneseo: graduate school for journalism and editing.

For many I'm sure, it's the people you spend your time with that really define your college experience. While studying in Spain last semester was an amazing experience that I wouldn't have traded for anything, it really helped me to realize how much I love Geneseo and the people that I associate with it. The amazing professors that I've had here have challenged me to think in ways that I didn't know were possible, and my friends have been nothing short of amazing in terms of support over the last three years. I know that even after graduation I'll spend time, however intermittently, in the company of the people with whom I spend hours on our Chestnut Street porch, talking about everything and nothing.

So what will I take away with me when I walk across that stage in May? I think my time here has really helped me to come into my own. Like others, I've taken classes that I've loved (and hated), made my fair share of mistakes, pulled more all-nighters than I should have and built relationships with some of the best friends for whom I could have ever asked.

While I'll always look back fondly on my years at Geneseo and haven't yet come to terms with the fact that I'm leaving in less than eight months, I know that it's my time to leave, and I'm simply grateful for everything that this little Western New York college town has afforded me.