August 25, 2017
by Demetrius McCray ’18, Philosophy major and Theatre & Performance minor from Yonkers, NY
When I first arrived on the Purchase College campus, I was coming from a high school where I did almost nothing outside of class, in terms of extracurricular activities. There was nothing that I thought I was truly interested in and for me school just felt like a formality that just existed—something my parents just wanted me to take part in.
With that being said, there was a lot to be worried about when I got to Purchase. I moved in, placed my PS3 and TV on my desk, went grocery shopping and said goodbye to my parents. Now, before continuing I would like to state for the record that I know this is not Kindergarten but when my parents left me after move-in, I began to experience a wide range of emotions, including some that I didn’t expect.
Yeah, I was happy that I was here and on my own but the most terrifying thoughts started to manifest in my mind, in what I call my “Inner Raw Voice.” I sat on my bed and scrolled through my phone, pretending to stay calm but all my thoughts screamed “You need to make friends, buddy! Go outside and do something! Say something to somebody! Do you really want to be alone forever for the rest of your life?! Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.” I know, dramatic, right? But trust me when I say that this is a thought that a lot of students have when they first arrive on campus.
MY FIRST DAY ON CAMPUS
So, for the first day, I awkwardly and haphazardly jumped in from group to group. I actually ended up having fulfilling conversations that I never would’ve expected, which was great. I met a good amount of people, a lot of whom just came up to me and started conversations based off of the most random of things. I loved it but I felt like something was missing. You see, having friends was nice but I just felt like there had to be more to college than talking in groups and going to sleep at the end of the day.
I started to walk around to academic buildings and talk to faculty and staff and they were all very nice and told me about their programs and what is possible if I committed to them. All of them were stunningly genuine people but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
As an Undeclared student the last thing that was bouncing through my head was permanent commitment to a single area of study. I guess you can say I was sort of like the popular artist Drake when it came to majors at the time. I wanted to be everything and nothing at the same time. I found myself leaving those conversations with my inner voice saying to either myself or to the staff member “I’m just saying you can do better…I’m just saying you could do better.”
Everything was connected but I still felt out of place, like Wonder Woman when she arrived in London for the first time in the most recent film (If you have not yet seen it—please go, it is a much-watch).
GETTING INVOLVED IN CLUBS
Anyway, it wasn’t until I got back to my room did I run into a bit of luck when my roommate said he was going to the club fair. At first I thought it was like night clubs that were having a fair (I know, sometimes even I wonder why I have the thoughts I have).
It turns out that the club fair was an event where you can see all the clubs available for students to join at Purchase. I walked with my friend to the Great Lawn and saw an array of awesomeness. There was a video game club— “My PS4 has a home!” I thought to myself.
There was a cheese club, “People giving out free cheese!” was another thought that popped into my head as I rushed over to talk to the representatives of that club. There were activist clubs, clubs for majors, clubs for LARPing (Live Action Role Playing), a nerf guild (A NERF GUILD! They literally run around the gym with nerf blasters and you get the best cardio workout ever!) However, for me, the most impactful table was the one labeled “PSGA.”
Now I have never been involved with a student government before and I did not know what I was getting myself into but at that table I felt good, I felt potential brewing in me like a perfect storm. This was where I asked the most questions and everyone there was more than willing to answer. I wish I can outline everything that happened ever since that moment but to make a long story short. I became a senator, then created a committee then oversaw and created the club fair in my junior year and now I’m the president of the student government. I know, that is very far away from where I started.
JUST GET OUT THERE
I guess the best message I would want you to take away from this is—don’t be afraid to ask anyone and everyone how you can help, or get into a club, organization, or even an office on campus. I have friends that now work in the Liberal Studies and Continuing Education office on campus, friends that are Resident Assistants (RAs), friends that are SOLs (Orientation Leaders), and many more things because they became creatures of curiosity.
So, don’t be afraid to break out of your shell (but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to because honestly, Optimist Prime looks cool in his shell as a truck and out of his shell as one of the last Primes that exist in the Universe).