I never went to my own open house event when I was considering college. I thought of
myself as an average non-committable student and assumed I would go to my local community college after high school, whether I liked it or not. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I was seventeen. I enjoyed reading and composing stories in creative writing, but I didn’t apply to colleges or know what an open house was until I started working at a college, my first university in Baltimore. The original open house I worked at had 15 prospective students, a cooking demo, and baking chocolate as my incentive. In the years since- I’ve met with countless students, talked about English, and shared my interests with everyone who seemed interested.
For November Corning Community College opened its doors to over 500 registered
participants whose interests varied from Nursing to Biology to Engineering. As students and
families enjoyed the curiously warm weather touring the campus outside they were greeted and entertained by our own Red Baron mascot. Walking around - the grounds were lined with recent fall decorations of pumpkins and the young children stopped to point and smile before skipping along reaching out for their family's approval, wondering for a brief second where they could be themselves one day.
Once inside The Commons the tables were enthusiastic with people, music,
food, and our shared admiration for learning. Who knew an open house could be as exciting? For cuisine, the cafeteria supplied pasta, salad, breadsticks, and possibly something with meat of which, as a vegetarian, I overlooked.
After the tour groups returned from campus buildings and the library a new table appeared with what seemed an endless supply of snacks and drinks. As families and students enjoyed the food ambiance of the later afternoon they strolled around the tables slowly to make conversation or ask questions. Questions I often was asked fell along the lines of “what can one do with a degree” and “what if I have no idea what I want to do or major in?”
Although I am no expert at job availability or every career path I do believe in following passions. As a senior in high school, I myself made a last-minute decision to attend a SUNY college and I entered as an undecided major. I didn’t know until taking courses I enjoyed studying literary analysis along with a winter course called Poetry of Desire & Disaster that I wanted to be an English major. There is no set time to know what you want to be or choose what you can do with a degree. I understand parent's concerns at an open house, but often the answer is simply to live life. Sign up for classes that sound interesting, join clubs that seem enjoyable, talk to fellow students, check out the diversity center on campus, watch the student production of Rocky Horror, visit the observatory or play a round of pool downstairs in The Commons - live
life truly and deeply - in the moments- the experiences- the journey.