Defining Time at College: What Will Remain Important When It’s Said and Done?

By Cloey Callahan

What three words would you use to categorize your time at college? Will they be places you’ve visited? Groups you’re a part of? People you knew? 

How will your experience be defined? 

For some you might just be starting college, while others might be ending it, like me.

Those who are in the middle of your time – how are you defining it now? Will you be happy with your experience by the time graduation rolls around?

I now have the opportunity to look back, play the nostalgic card, and reminisce on my time at school over the past four years. 

The Teller. Sigma Delta Tau. Relationships. Those are my three words – in no particular order.

The Teller is an obvious one. I feel like starting The Teller has become part of my identity in a way. At least my undergrad identity. It makes sense, though. I have spent at least five minutes of every single day thinking about The Teller or doing something for The Teller since the spring semester of 2018.

It has become the most remarkable aspect of my resume, my icebreaker for a number of conversations, and something that has shaped me, as much as I have shaped it.

Being a member of Sigma Delta Tau is something I don’t think I have ever discussed in the magazine. (why do I keep the two so separate? they are both so important to me) However, I have been involved in sorority life since the beginning of my sophomore year. 

I have met my best friends through joining that organization. I never thought it would have become such a significant part of my life. It definitely sweeps you off your feet in a way. Before you know it you have ~35 sisters to go to for anything you could imagine.

Whether I like it or not, being a part of Sigma Delta Tau shaped my college experience in an unforgettable way. I say whether I like it or not because, well, we all know the stereotype of Greek life. But, I promise, SUNY New Paltz redefines greek life in a whole new way. I truly can’t imagine what the past years would have been like without it. Now, I get to leave college with friends who I can lean on for anything.

Which brings me to the next part: relationships. 

This one seems a bit obvious and might apply to everyone. But all of my relationships in the past four years have helped me define my time at college.

I’m talking about many different types of relationships – whether it was my romantic relationship of two years (half of my time at college! crazy), the platonic relationships I made with friends, the relationship I built with myself – well, all of it mattered.

These relationships decided where I was spending my time, who I was spending my time with, and so on. This one is the easiest for me to overthink. Should I have put more energy into different relationships? Made more relationships? 

Although I might overthink relationships, I can admittedly say I am most grateful for the one I built with myself. Four years ago, I was, well, not so in touch with myself. I didn’t like to think about too many of my feelings and I didn’t always go after what I wanted.

Now, here I am. A different person in some ways. I am much more grown up and genuinely happy with how the past four years have treated me. 

If I had to give an honorable mention to a fourth defining part of my time at New Paltz, it would definitely be Main Street. New Paltz is magical in its own way; I really am so sad I am moving out. The memories made on Main Street are unforgettable. I think of the street fairs over the summer, people watching on Water Street, the livelihood at night, the parades and so on. 

I am so thankful for my time here and everything that has helped define my own experience.

How has your experience been defined?

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