For most students, Plattsburgh State plays a big part in their present and their future. Their experiences make them who they are and pave their paths. Rebecca Wilson’s connection to Plattsburgh State goes back to before she was born and before her father was born, and that connection goes all the way back to her great grandfather.
An environmental science major, Wilson started her collegiate career at New Paltz. Though she loved her professors, she was discouraged by what she thought was a weak social scene and its close proximity to home. Her father, Neil Wilson, a PSUC alumnus who also majored in environmental science, said being so close to home took away from his daughter’s college experience.
“She needed to put a little space between herself and home so she can get herself entrenched into the campus life. New Paltz wasn’t doing that for her. She was spending a lot of time at home,” Neil said. “Now she’s far enough away that she can make a place for herself. We were confident that she was going to be able to do that.”
Her decision to come to PSUC was easy because she had a connection to the college. Besides her father attending PSUC, her mother Rose (Narsico) Wilson and her grandmother Shirley (Pitts) Wilson attended here. Though she wanted to be far away from home, coming to Plattsburgh was like going home. Even if her parents and grandmother didn’t attend PSUC, Rebecca is confident that she would still feel that way.
“It’s kind of funny whenever I drive back and forth to school, I forget that there is four hours between us. Plattsburgh has a homey feel,” Rebecca said. “It’s familiar to my family, and it has a super special place in our hearts because it shaped us to who we are today. So if Plattsburgh didn’t happen for us, I wouldn’t be here and who I am today.”
Unlike most students who have to paint a picture for their parents when referring to the Angell College Center or the Blue Room, Rebecca can get away with referring to them by name.
For Rebecca, this enhanced her connection with her parents because they could easily relate to certain situations, and vice versa. Another perk that came along with her decision to study in a place where her family got their education is that she shares the same major as her father.
When the family heard about Rebecca’s decision to study in Plattsburgh, letting her go was an easy step. Because they had experienced the city and the college, they knew she was going to be safe. Rose said they felt it was important that she had a real campus experience to grow from, and they were confident she was going to get it and adapt well because she was in Plattsburgh.
Safety aside, one of the most exciting moments in Rebecca’s collegiate careeer was her 21st birthday. The Monopole is one of the many places in Plattsburgh that holds a special place in the hearts of Rebecca’s parents and grandparents.
Rose said remembering her own experience, her in-laws’ experience and now seeing her daughter take similar steps she took while she was her age is interesting to her. The drinking is also just as important. As they took their first legal drink together as a family in Plattsburgh, Rose realized:
“That building (The Monopole) has been there forever. It’s a piece of our history, and now it’s becoming a piece of hers. That’s the fun of it. I think. To be walking on campus and think about good memories in Hood Hall. To think about all the great memories we’ve had and to know she’s making some memories,” Rose said.
Though she liked sharing these experiences with her parents and grandmother, Rebecca would sometimes not like it
“Whenever they come to visit me, it’s kind of annoying because they’re like oh we did this, I went there they just go on and on with their stories from when they were here,” Rebecca said.
But that’s a small price to pay when sharing experiences with parents helps her set her goals for college. Being the third generation, Rebecca feels her purpose is to continue her family’s legacy and continue the success and accomplishments from Plattsburgh for her family — something she knows she will be able to achieve because of the hands-on experience she is getting.
“I think that stepping into the workplace or graduate school, I feel like I’m going to be prepared,” she said. “My professors have set really high standards, so if I meet that, it challenges me. I will definitely be really prepared for whatever endeavor I have next.”
Email Winta Mebrahti at firstname.lastname@example.org.