Shay Harris—As my third year comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the 2016-2017 school year. In doing so, here are a few lessons that I’ve learned a lot from:
- Do things that scare you. This school year I was able to present some research at Brockport’s Diversity Conference. My presentation was on the lack of racial diversity in Young Adult (YA) novels and the effects a lack of representation could have on our youth — in particular, those of underrepresented racial groups. The room I presented in had A LOT of people in attendance, which made me a bit nervous, however, my love and passion for the topic got me through. Now, I feel more confident speaking in front of large crowds and more confident sharing my own work. I also took on new leadership roles — I’m now a Tour Guide (Campus Ambassador) for Admissions and a senator for Brockport Student Government (BSG). Both positions seemed intimidating to me at first, but I’ve gotten used to these new roles and am excited to see what happens next year.
- Learn to let go. This has to deal with personal possessions, people, and obligations. Last summer I adopted minimalism as a lifestyle, and as such, I have been practicing living my life with less. This mentality affects what I own and purchase, as well as what I do. Earlier this semester I had been taking an English class that if completed, would have resulted in my completion of my major requirements. Unfortunately, the class didn’t vibe with me, so I dropped it. I also finished my final semester as a freshman Peer Mentor and relinquished my participation in clubs that, although being fun, didn’t properly align with my ultimate goals.
- You have the right to change your mind. When I first came to Brockport, I knew that I wanted to write. I wanted to write novels and get them published, with the ultimate dream being having my work adapted to an animation. Now, despite this, I’ve always known that I wanted to have another career, besides just being a writer. Only, I didn’t know what that thing would be. Then I came across some woman at a mall over the summer. I learned that she was going to school for architecture and her story excited me. Over the course of the school year, I’ve gone through a major career plan shift. Instead of taking a year off after my senior year, I’d like to head straight to graduate school. What will I study? Well, as of now, I’d like to study Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. Taking a break after senior year was something I was very passionate about, however, I feel more connected with this new plan. Besides, I still plan on seeing the world in-between breaks.
- Adventure is good. I left campus more times this school year than I have my last two years at Brockport. Now, it’s not like I left every weekend, but I took more trips to catch movies with friends, visit new restaurants, and simply walk around. I love Brockport, but sometimes a change in scenery — even if it’s only for an hour — can do wonders. I studied abroad this past January, which was a life changing experience! I have some trips that are in the planning process and I’m trying to study abroad again this upcoming winter. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can visit New Zealand — that’s where they film a lot of Power Rangers episodes!
- Self-love is the best love. Self-confidence is something I’ve been working on for years. This past summer I was at a high point, but as school progressed I felt myself getting lost. By acknowledging the many good things going on in my life — especially the wonderful support system that I have — I’ve been able to build my confidence. In looking at goals that I have for the next 1-5 years, I’ve been able to hone my focus and not feel so lost.
I’m sure I’ve learned more over the course of this year, but those were some of the highlights. This summer I have an internship and summer orientation to look forward to. I may even be giving some campus tours! In regards to my personal projects, I’ll be working on a literary project while practicing my painting, photography, and long boarding skills. There will be a lot of prepping for the year to come, but for now my stomach is craving some fruit snacks and fruit snacks is what I need to get.
Until next time!