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May 16, 2010 / Brent Sears

These Aren’t My People

About a month ago I had a meeting to talk about study abroad with a student named Laura who is a biology major.  As a sophomore she told me she was bored, despite having a near 4.0, being asked to do research, and having faculty members planning out what they were going to do with this rising star.  She was excellent as a student, but she wasn’t in the place she wanted to be.  She said something that astounded me.

‘I was [on campus] walking around barefoot and I got yelled at for it.  It was then I realized that these aren’t my people.’

To realize that takes depth and insight, but to go in a slightly different direction takes something even more amazing: courage!  What she really wanted to do was take a semester and pursue outdoor adventure with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS.)  As we talked about it she told me of her involvement in the Outdoor Adventure Club at Cortland and all the amazing things they did on weekends.  She really had a passion for outdoor adventure.

To make a long story short, and after about two days of research, Laura figured out that she could do a dual major in Biology and Recreational Studies and that NOLS has programs that involved ecology.  There are also significant scholarships given out by NOLS so it would cut the cost even further.  It was that simple.  It works, and all she did was decide to look into it, ask questions, and talk to the right people.

That is what I call earning major Coolness Points.  Tom Sawyer would be proud!


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