May. 15, 2013

A bittersweet farewell: A senior reflects on her transformation at Geneseo

Kim Showalter

Kim Showalter '13 reflects on how Geneseo has changed her and the bittersweetness of graduation. /PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN

It seems like yesterday I was pulling into the parking lot in front of Writers House, and saw the move-in volunteers with their bright orange shirts for the first time. I turned to my mom and said, “Quick! If we turn around now, they’ll never know I was here!” I wanted to go back home before I even got out of the car.

I was nervous and shy, and not sure if I was going to enjoy being at Geneseo. Before I even arrived I had decided I would hate it. My first year was as bad as I imagined. I had a hard time making friends, and by spring my roommate had left school and I was lonely. Thankfully, my saving grace was being hired as a resident assistant in Writers House.

As an RA these past three years, I’ve learned that I can handle more than I gave myself credit for. It’s been a big confidence boost to see that I can juggle my classes, extracurriculars and a sometimes chaotic job all at once and still excel.

When I first came here, though I was set on my major being communication, I never thought I’d be going to graduate school and I certainly didn’t think I would write research papers worthy of getting accepted to conferences. But I’ve learned that I really underestimated myself as a freshman. I presented at four conferences, thanks to the guidance and help of my advisor, Atsushi Tajima, who always encouraged me to keep trying and not give up, even when I was frustrated and stressed. Without his guidance, I highly doubt I’d be going to Boston University next year, or any graduate school for that matter.

All I needed to thrive here was a little push — in the form of a wonderful advisor and a job that really challenged me. Once I realized I had to stop being afraid to fail and try new things, I was able to get much more out of my time here. I wish I had realized that my first year.

Even though I’ll be going to Boston in August to pursue my master of science in communication, I’ll be proudly wearing my Geneseo Alumni hoodie, which I plan to purchase first thing after I walk across the stage.

              — Kim Showalter '13