In writing this reflection, I’ve been trying to think of how my time at Geneseo can feel so individual and yet still intertwined with my 900-or-so peers graduating a month from today. I’ve come to the realization that while my college experience seems so distinctly my own, mine and everyone else’s have just been shaped differently by a similar series of minuscule and monumental decisions. I’m a planner by nature. I like to know what’s coming next and to be in total control of it. My college years have felt so conscious and well-thought out, but at the same time, I recognize how much uncertainty has driven them – and how little I could have predicted the outcomes of the endless choices I’ve made.
There are the seemingly insignificant decisions that have an unforeseen impact: What if I decided to walk a different way to class? What if I took that 8 a.m. section of HUMN I instead of switching to the 11:30 a.m.? What if I didn’t force myself, as a shy and intimidated freshman, to go to my first general meeting for The Lamron?
And there are also the heavy, mind-weighing, keep-you-up-at-night decisions: What if I declared a different major or studied abroad in Paris instead of London? What if I chose a different college altogether?
It’s dangerous and silly to spend too much time contemplating these “what if” questions. But it’s powerful when I think of my holistic college experience as an amalgamation of a continuous series of choices from an endless number of options.
What’s even more amazing to me is that the infinite choices that led me through college led everyone else too, creating an intricate web of connections between us. There are funny, talented and interesting people in Geneseo whom I’ve never talked to or even passed on campus, but at the same time, I’ve made friends here who are now some of the most important people in my life.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned through college is that even with all the thought and planning in the world, there will always be things that happen outside your control.
I remember when I first heard the administration was shutting down the studio art program, in which I have a minor. That was one of those completely unanticipated moments that hit hard. But after four years of art classes with professors who continued to engage and empower their students despite the department’s impending closure, I know I’m lucky to have been present and involved.
I’m not going to blabber on about how amazing Geneseo is and how going here was the best decision I could have made because to be honest, I think I could have been happy – maybe even more fulfilled – at another college. But I am content with the little and big decisions that brought me to this point, and I’m thankful to Geneseo for providing the space for me to make them.
I’m still learning how to embrace the uncertainty of the future, especially the immense amount of it associated with graduating – or, more specifically, not knowing where I’ll be living or what I’ll be doing six months from now. But I feel more at ease when I remember that I was in a similar situation four years ago. After all that’s happened since move-in day in August of 2010, uncertainty feels a little less scary.