Over two years ago, all over social media, I saw a parade of acceptance letters from fancy schools with housing, somewhat stereotyped progressive activism and massive halls that could rival the Parthenon (and the debt of Greece). I barely accepted the fact I was just going down 787 to a community college that didn’t have bachelor’s degrees or even spring break.
A friend of mine was accepted to Colgate University. I put their alma mater on my toothbrush twice a day. I was still embarrassed that I was going to Hudson Valley. I was naïve, uncomfortable and pretty much everything you would expect from an 18-year-old teenager who graduated high school in a class of about 60 students.
When I went to orientation, I felt like I didn’t belong here. I told myself, “C’mon Tyler, you’re better than this.” When family and friends asked me where I was going to school, I changed the subject to exciting subjects like the weather or the harvesting of rare and endangered oysters.
I came to Hudson Valley looking for my cap and gown. It was like my first day of kindergarten. The first week kind of sucked. But don’t worry – this isn’t a sob story.
I was an introverted kid who “never tried” in high school. I made a promise to myself that whether I was at Hudson Valley or Princeton, I would take advantage of this time to reinvent myself. And I did.
Here’s where this story really begins to change. Around my third week at Hudson Valley, an editor entered my journalism class and spoke of opportunities available at the student newspaper that were surreal. As a skeptic, news junkie and hungry college student, I had to check it out.
As you can see, here I am writing this piece for The Hudsonian, so the story continues for one more year. I won’t go on about how great of an experience this paper had been (although I’d love to), but I can speak from experience: for those arriving this year, this college can be one hell of a new beginning. From campus clubs to athletics, you have the opportunity to make a very real difference on campus.
You have to see that difference for yourself. I have struggled balancing my life on campus sandwiched between jobs, academics, and occasionally relationships, but it has been worth it.
Whatever path you take this year, I hope you rest your head happily each night intent on getting up for more in the morning. While you’re at it, tell us your story, because that’s our thing at The Hudsonian.