“What brings you all the way to Plattsburgh?” The question that almost always follows after, “Where are you from?” ever since I was a freshman.

Coming to Plattsburgh from Brooklyn four years ago was a bit of a culture shock for me. I went from being able to walk or take public transportation for travel to hoping to find a friend who had a car. The idea of a fun weekend activity was no longer to go to a museum, but it was to go hiking or fishing. Plattsburgh was very foreign to me, but my gut had a good feeling about it.

During orientation, I decided to declare a major in public relations. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I didn’t actually know what the major was about until my sophomore year. After throwing myself into clubs, forcing myself to take on group leadership positions and creating a practicum to continue working with a client, I got a sense of what I was getting myself into for the rest of my life. I was able to watch the PR department grow, and nothing makes me more proud to have been a part of it. My people and writing skills have improved entirely, and it’s relieving that the thought of public speaking will no longer give me a panic attack. Special thanks to the fantastic professors that helped me along the way — I am forever grateful to you.

I read college all wrong. Most of the things that were thrown at us were life lessons waiting to be taught. Introducing a final project to you the first week of classes isn’t because professors think you’re going to actually start it at an appropriate date, but it’s to see your quality of work after dealing with the time-constrained pressure of working in a group. Having clubs and extracurriculars offered to you every semester aren’t actually for you to add the bullet to your resume, they’re a test to see if you’re ready to take on a leadership role. Randomly selecting you to live on floors with students from all over the state isn’t supposed to make graduation hard because they’ll no longer be in the same house or down the block, it’s to present you with a challenge you’ll have to accept because they’re people you can’t see yourself never seeing again. We’re always told that college is the best time of your life and don’t take it for granted.

Thank you, Plattsburgh State, for confusing me when it came to picking general education courses — which to this day I still don’t really understand why I had to take in the first place. Thanks for all the frustrating group projects that made me cry countless times throughout the semester, even though I knew they would get done. Most of all, thank you for all the memories you have given me that I would rather not share, but will hold on to for the rest of my life.

Tagged : # # #

<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/samantha-mendes/" rel="tag">Samantha Mendes</a>