I remember just how excited I was when I got the email. “Congratulations you have selected you to become a probationary member of SUNY Geneseo First Response. Welcome to GFR!” I was in utter shock. 135 applicants and I was one on the 13 to make the cut. Me a lowly freshman. There are people who apply every semester until their senior year and never get the opportunity. Somehow I got in. I was practically skipping. It may not have been the most prudent thing to do, but I wanted to tell the world. I was really excited. I told my RA “I got into GFR”. His response was “I love eating there”. I was so confused. My first thought was we don’t serve food. In my excitement, I completely forgot the restaurant existed. I clarified “Not Geneseo Family Restaurant. Geneseo First Response.” We laughed it about for a while. Then he congratulated me. I told all my friends I got in and they were all happy for me including the ones who didn’t get in themselves.
I felt I was on top of the world. Things were great. However, I found myself relating to Chipman’s The Power of Realistic Expectations “Think about starting a new job. You’re trying to figure out the landscape. It was a really competitive search. You feel fortunate to have gotten the job, but then you’re really worried about whether you’re going to fit in. What happens if you stumble? We all make mistakes on the job” I realized the achievement gap is a mental battle more than anything else. Like in most of Geneseo I find myself an outlier in GFR. Not many people look like me. In fact, I am the only Hispanic male in the organization. I began to feel doubt in my abilities. I’ve reached my goal of getting in, but what about fitting in? Getting in is only half the battle. How do I prove my worth? What if I mess up? If I do I reflect badly on more than just myself. I know it may be irrational, but what if I’m just a test run. Could I harm someone else’s chances of getting in? These were all thoughts circulating in my mind.
There is no need to feel uneasy. The thing that no one tells you when you stand out is that it doesn’t necessarily paint a target on your back. Much of what you may fear is only in your mind. As I took more shifts and got to know everyone a bit better my fears dissipated. My mentor is super supportive and I get along with just about everyone.