Geneseo Class of 2014: Encouraging self advocacy

Suddenly, with commencement approaching, July 2010 seems like a very long time ago. That month was when it actually dawned on me to begin thinking about what going to college would entail. This included going to the Apple Store to buy a laptop, trying to figure out whether or not a shower caddy was a good investment and frantically stocking up on phone cards for my TracFone in optimistic anticipation of having new friends to text.

August rolled around and Geneseo’s First-Year Adirondack Adventure program, a graduation present from my parents, loomed large.

I didn’t know anything about hiking or canoeing and much less about the kind of people that would be inclined to go on a college-sponsored pre-freshman year trip.

I thought it would probably consist of a group of 21st century Ethan Allens powering through the wilderness while I walked five miles behind. Of course, that wasn’t the case.

Looking back, and at the risk of sounding trite, I think the people that populate the Geneseo college community are some of the most remarkably bright, courteous and welcoming that I could have ever hoped to find. Geneseo professors are not only excellent educators but also excellent advocates and mentors.

One of the most formative moments in my time at Geneseo was making an arbitrary appointment during my freshman year with professor of French and Western Humanities Beverly Evans to discuss whether or not she thought I was capable of studying French at the college level. That appointment led me to declare a French major, study abroad in southern France and apply to be an English teaching assistant for a year in France after graduation.

If you are a freshman reading this, take advantage of Geneseo’s liberal arts core to branch out, and if time allows, take a class or two that may seem far afield from your major requirements.

I could go on for pages with glowing tributes to friends, professors, community members, Residence Life members, alumni and Geneseo sunsets, but for the sake of space, you will have to fill in those accolades for yourself.

The most important piece of advice I can give you, whether you’re a high school student bound for Geneseo picking up The Lamron on a tour of the College Union or a sophomore reading this in the ungodly stir fry line, is this: Embrace the opportunities that Geneseo presents you with and don’t be afraid to be your own advocate during your college experience.

There won’t always be a time in your life when you can take Spanish pass/fail, go on an intercession study abroad trip, present at a conference, be an RA and spend $500 – ok, maybe $800 – at Starbucks … so you might as well do it now.