The phenomenal reputation of SUNY Geneseo as one of the top public universities in New York is one of the reasons I choose to attend college here. Trying to decide which college I would attend was a long, exhausting, and challenging process. I knew that if I wanted to major in education and become a teacher, Geneseo would be the right fit for me both, financially and academically. Even after choosing Geneseo, I still questioned my decision. College turned out to be different and a big change for me. I thought I was prepared to handle the demands of college and being independent, but I soon found I was inadequately prepared.
This first year has been a whirlwind of events, emotions, new learning experiences. In hindsight am so grateful for the opportunities that Geneseo has presented me with. I have grown tremendously in such a short time and I continue to learn new things about the world around me and myself. The Geneseo’s Mission, Vision and Values, states “the entire College community works together to advance knowledge and inspire students to be socially responsible and globally aware citizens who are prepared for an enriched life and success in the world.” This is important to me because at Geneseo the whole campus is a community. Students are vital to the success of the college, without the students and teachers working together there would be no Geneseo. The support system developed between faculty members and students is a critical relationship for universities to foster. Geneseo has established a strong student and faculty relationships by placing emphasis on the shared collective experience of learning and educating. This is not just the students learning and working with and from professors. Professors learn and work with their students daily to help students achieve success. This type of environment fosters a unique learning experience.
However, choosing a college and then arriving there in late summer for the first time is a lot easier said than done. Going off to college was risky for me, because I didn’t know if I was making the right decision at the time. I was reluctant to leave my life at home to go and pursue a new endeavor. In high school, my friends and family were with me every day. I didn’t have to worry about making friends because I already had them. I was afraid to go to college because I don’t have my siblings to lean on. I felt lonely, but, I hoped with time I would find new experiences. However, I realized I wasn’t entirely alone because the hard experience of leaving home for the first time is something that many incoming freshman were also experiencing. I made the most of out of the situation and tried adjusted to my new life.
Geneseo has numerous different clubs and activities that allow students to get involved and find their passion. Although, I openly admit that nothing can compare to being at home with my family, the home cook meal and our family pizzeria. The point is that despite my initial negative thoughts on college, Geneseo proved to be different and has given me so many new opportunities and has allowed for both personal and academic growth that I couldn’t of experienced without coming to College here.
One of the best choices I made this year was joining the Geneseo’s Colleges Against Cancer club. Over the last two semester my friends and I worked together in this club to organize and plan the Relay for Life event. I, not only have contributed to the greater good by actively involving myself in service and charity work, and build relationships with others This club has allowed me to gain a sense of community at school. CAC works to raise cancer awareness throughout campus and in the local community. Helping to fund and provide resources for services for those currently facing cancer and survivors is important to me because of my personal connection to the illness. This was my first Relay for Life event and participating in it was incredible and very rewarding. The campus came together to help celebrate, remember and fight for those affected by cancer. The small community at Geneseo was able to raise over $162,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The support Geneseo gives its student has help me to commend the school as not only the right school for me but one of my best life decisions. At first, I, was unsure of all the choices I had made as I was starting college, but with time it became such a rewarding experience in which I can say I am proud to be a Geneseo Knight.
Earlier this week, my dad was texting me about a situation I have going on within my close friend group. He thinks I may be too involved in certain situations, which I cannot disclose due to confidentiality. However, he gave me an analogy that I have been thinking about a lot. He said “someone once explained it to me as fitting your friends on a lifeboat. You can fit a certain capacity. If you stay within that capacity, you can all make it to shore. That may mean you have to leave some behind. If you take on too much capacity, you all capsize, and no one makes it to shore.”
In class, we have recently discussed Geneseo’s Learning Outcomes; “Leadership and Collaboration” specifically caught my attention. This Outcome urges student to work together and also encourages students “to experiment, take risks, and learn from mistakes.” At first glance, I didn’t see the importance of this line; in fact, I thought it was strange to include “mistakes” in a Learning Outcome. However, after thinking about it, I think this line is one of the most important parts of the GLOBE.
I have found that the best opportunities and achievements often require one to step outside of their comfort zone. I recently started to tutor for an elementary school class. When I first signed up for the program I signed up to tutor reading; however, when I got my teacher placement the program had signed me up for 6th grade math. At first, I was worried; I am terrible at math and have never learned the common core that elementary students are currently learning. I know that it is just 6th grade, but I really doubted my ability teach math to someone else. I almost told the program I couldn’t participate, but I told myself to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. I was honest with the teacher in the beginning and told her that I was nervous to tutor math. What she told me changed my thinking; she told me that most of the time the kids just need help staying on task and being encouraged to keep going with they get a question wrong or are confused. I was surprised to find that this was true; often the kids just needed someone to tell them that they are smart and capable and give them a little nudge when they are frustrated. They need this even more than they need help with actual math problems. On the first day when the teacher introduced me to the class she said something like, “remember the last half of the year when we asked for a tutor but couldn’t get one? Now we have one!” I realized that she was grateful to have me; whatever level my math tutoring ability was at it was better than no tutor at all. It’s crazy to me that I almost didn’t try tutoring because I was afraid of my own abilities, but I took a “risk” and it wound up for the better. After reflecting on other instance in my life where I took a risk, I have found that taking a risk and trying something new or facing on a challenge often provides more benefits than downfalls.
The second point of the line I provided from the “Leadership and Collaboration” Outcome is to “learn from mistakes.” As I said earlier, I was surprised at first that this line was included in a Learning Outcome because mistakes usually have a negative connotation; I thought they wouldn’t want us to make mistakes in the first place. However, after class discussions and thinking about it more, I have come to understand the importance of mistakes; we learn from the mistakes we make and find better alternatives as a result. I connected this to our rewrites of our essays. In most of my classes, I learn the material, study it, take the test and then forget the material. While I would like to take the time to look over my tests and understand every question that I got wrong, I need to devote that time to work that will help me for other tests/essays. However, in our class we currently have the opportunity to rewrite an essay. This gives us the opportunity to “learn from mistakes” in the old essay; we can see Dr. McCoy’s critiques and work with her and others to improve our own writing. I see this as the best way to grow and learn; if we didn’t have to do a rewrite we would probably not learn from Dr. McCoy’s critiques, and therefore not improve as writers. Learning from what we did wrong and what we can do differently improves our writing, not just for this one essay, but our writing abilities in general. Furthermore, the Learning Outcome shares that mistakes are actually encouraged because they allow us to learn and create new paths that work better. This encourages students to take on new opportunities and challenges, something that is necessary to prosper, not only as a student, but in all aspects of life.
A large part of Geneseo’s curriculum is based of the Geneseo Globe (Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education). This is a list of what Geneseo hopes their students get out of their classes. A few weeks ago, in Dr. McCoy’s class, she gave us an activity that was closely related to the GLOBE.
After being separated into groups, she asked us to write a paragraph together, explaining the problems and solutions in Ian Chipman’s article, The Power of Realistic Expectations. Out of all the group projects I have done, none have been similar to this activity. Usually, in group projects, the work can be divided and each person is typically working on their own part, but it is essentially impossible to divide work up when you are working on a single paragraph.
This activity related directly to points two and four on the Geneseo GLOBE- Communication, and Leadership and Collaboration. Both of these deal with group work, being able to communicate ideas effectively and engage in conversation with others. But six people working on one short paragraph can be a challenge since everyone has their own opinions. When Dr. McCoy asked us what writing in a group felt like my classmate Anderson portrayed it very well by stating, “there were too many cooks in the kitchen.”
While a group project like this can be challenging, I can easily say that it is very rewarding. This first project was an initiation for the group work we would be doing for the following weeks, a much more detailed project. Without this first project, I feel as our groups would still be lost, with less of an idea of how to collaborate effectively and communicate.
So while, “too many cooks in the kitchen,” is an accurate description of the initial struggle groups had, without this we would not have had the ability to step up and overcome the problem. And I personally feel like this is what the Geneseo GLOBE is hoping for- a little bit of struggle to encourage us to push through toward our success as Geneseo students.
Yesterday, SUNY Geneseo hosted its 13th annual Relay for Life fundraiser. I walked in expecting to stay the hour to fulfill my obligation to my lacrosse team. I did not know, however, that I would walk out in tears, reminded how short life is, and just how much of an impact a person can make.
When I was just a baby, my father was diagnosed with cancer. My mother, her hands full with two young boys and now a newborn, was forced to find strength within her I’m not sure she knew she had. For months he battled and underwent rigorous treatments that cause him to still endure the side effects to this day.
During the time I spent at Relay, Geneseo’s President, Dr. Battles, made a moving speech. She mentioned how a family member had battled cancer and wrote a blog series throughout her journey. One particular entry she quoted was entitled “Numbers.” It discussed how everything in life seems to be in terms of numbers. But now, with cancer, numbers took on a whole new meaning. They were no longer birthdays, or days until Christmas, but doses for her treatments, or how many days since she was diagnosed.
I started to think about strength in numbers. Continue reading “New Numbers”
It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are above tragedy. On the other hand, it is easy to spend excessive energy awaiting tragedy, coming up with endless scenarios in your head. I tend to identify more with the former. Of course, I have worried about tragedy happening, thinking a headache is a tumor and such, but I usually dismiss the intrusive thoughts with a “that would never happen to me” kind of thing.
Recently in class, Dr. McCoy asked us, “What are some personal reasons a student may find themselves on academic probation?” Our list included both physical and mental health problems, work, stress, and an infinite list of other possibilities. In short, there was no clear reason for a student struggling academically. My attention was brought back to her question this past week while scrolling through Instagram. I saw that SUNY Geneseo released a series of installments, titled “One Voice,” written by five student athletes that have overcame some form of adversity in their lives. The features range from stories of loss and heartbreak to buzzer-beating victories and unexpected recoveries.
The installments exemplify the type of setbacks students may face that can lead them to struggle academically. Since the stories are written by fellow students, athletes, and friends of mine, it was extremely eye-opening to the commonality of such circumstances. Some of these people I’ve known for almost a full academic year now, and only just realized how much they’ve gone through and sacrificed to be at this school.
Conlan Keenan, a star hockey player, lost his mom to a tragic pulmonary embolism when he was a freshman in high school. Davina Ward, a graduating senior who helps manage the women’s basketball team, was in and out of foster homes and suffered abusive parenting throughout her youth. Baily Gorman, a runner on our track team, battled cancer her senior year of high school. And these are just a few stories of many I’m sure can be found on Geneseo’s campus.
How could Geneseo, or any college for that matter, know of such obstacles that their students are facing? Furthermore, how can the college recognize this adversity and give every student the opportunity to receive help? In taking a closer look at Ian Chipmans article, “The Power of Expectations,” this is one key problem in Stanford’s letters sent out to students when they are placed on academic probation. Students feel more like a failure than a person dealing with hardship. Continue reading ““One Voice” of Many”
In her recent blog post, Courtney Ciardullo explores the dichotomy of professorial teaching styles and their relation to Stanford’s “Academic Probation” letter. While some professors are uncompromising in the guidelines they set, others allow more freedom in their partnership with students. “Finding a balance in the academic workplace is difficult,” Courtney says “but if achieved could produce a successful and productive classroom environment.” The most constructive professors may exist somewhere in-between firm and relaxed. Representations of this dichotomy can be found in other areas of the academy as well. Particularly, I have seen the physical arrangement of a classroom influence discourse between students. This is to say that depending on how students are positioned in relation to each other, a course’s effectiveness can be bolstered or hindered. Continue reading “On Seating”
Currently in my Child Development class we are learning about emotion. In class, we discussed the importance of framing what you say to a child and validating that child’s feelings. The textbook gave an example; if a young boy falls and starts to cry, a parent might say “big boys don’t cry.” The parent is probably trying to help their child, trying to tell them that they’re going to be okay. However, this can be detrimental because it tells the child that their feelings aren’t valid. Telling a child that big boys don’t cry is telling him that he shouldn’t be crying. Next time the child falls the hurts himself, he may automatically start to cry as a reflex, and then get frustrated because he thinks that he is not supposed to cry. What a parent should do instead is validate the child’s feelings, saying that it’s okay to cry and ensure the child that it’s only a small pain and will get better soon.
While discussing this in class, I thought of “The Power of Realistic Expectations.” Both my Child Development class discussion and this article have to do with the mindset of individuals and how that can affect how they develop, whether that development is emotionally or academically. Specifically, “The Power of Realistic Expectations” shows how society’s treatment of a student’s situation, whether it be minority stereotypes or students on academic probation, affects a student’s perception of a situation and perception of their own abilities. The article shares how students were “exposed to the idea that intelligence, rather than being a fixed trait, is something that grows over time and can be developed with effort.” I really liked this quote and think that it can be connected to everything in life. Specifically, with the writing and revision process. At first glance upon any negative feedback for blog posts, blood child essay, or any from any other class, I, as I assume many others do, get really frustrated and label myself as a bad writer. However, after putting the work away and going back to it later, I realize that I was being irrational; the feedback is important, it is not saying that I am bad as writing, rather, that there are things that I can improve upon to make my writing stronger. Critiques are something that we should want, in whatever we do, because they make us better. Confidence and mindset were emphasized so much in the article; how one thinks of themselves affects their thoughts and actions about other situations. It was so interesting how even changing the capitalization of the letters, from Academic Probation to academic probation, changed the affects. Rewording the letter changed the outcome because rather than seeing the situation as fixed and something that defines them, students started to see it as an obstacle that they can overcome. This furthermore connects to one of Geneseo’s Global Learning Outcome’s, “Leadership and Collaboration” which states that one of the goals is, “to experiment, take risks, and learn from mistakes.” When students start to perceive their “failures” not as failures, but as opportunities for growth and development, they start to believe in themselves and their ability to improve.