Class of 2012: Sarah Cantatore offers final words of wisdom

It's my senior year at Geneseo, so I guess it's time to reflect. I can barely believe this is truly my last year here. I vividly remember everything like it just happened: orientation roommates, drag shows, Red Jacket dinner texts, laundry room turf wars, housing selection debacles, registration problems, decorating our Christmas tree with Pokémon dolls and Mario hats, dirty kitchens and an ever decreasing amount of free time.

So what have all these years provided me? The knowledge that I had no clue what I was doing. Thus, I humbly offer some advice I have gleaned from my years here:

Make – and cherish – friends. I was so shy when I first got here that I had barely made friends by the end of my first semester. But then I met an amazing group of people that I am proud to call my Geneseo family. They've all helped to shape me into who I have become and I won't be able to remember Geneseo without thinking of them. It may sound cheesy, but I know that we'll be friends for life, especially since we plan on living together next year.

Go on a service trip. I went to Mississippi two years ago with Livingston C.A.R.E.S. for alternative spring break. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only did I help some very deserving people, but I learned so much and ate some really great barbecue.

Talk to your professors. When I first got here, I thought that my professors would never know who I was, that they had too many students to possibly care about little old me. Well, I was wrong. Stopping by office hours a few times can really make a difference and lead to some great things, like a research opportunity, a letter of recommendation or even just a great conversation about pizza.

Study abroad. I went on the Mediterranean Roots humanities trip and it was absolutely amazing. Everything – the locations, histories, cultures, food and people with whom I shared it all – were beyond description. If you have the time and the resources, studying abroad not only enhances learning but it will provide an intangible experience like no other.

Make some poor life decisions. Don't do anything major, but I think some bad choices could be good for you. For example, in the middle of January of my freshman year I went to Paul Blart, Mall Cop at midnight movies with my boyfriend. We ran into a group of about 10 people who we were friendly with and they invited us to Denny's after the movie. One problem: the bus doesn't run that late, so we would have to walk back to campus. I thought, "The walk can't be that bad." It was. After filling our stomachs with milkshakes and fried food, we began the two-mile journey back to campus around 4 a.m. in 12 degree weather. It was absolutely awful and we really thought we were going to lose fingers to frostbite.

Despite the pain suffered by that incredibly stupid decision, I would make it again in a heartbeat not only because that's how I met my previously mentioned group of friends, but because it is a memory I will never forget.