A Look Back: Cazenovia College, Part 1
I went off to college in the fall of ’99 and there was no way that I could have guessed where it would take me. In the small college town of Cazenovia, NY, I attended Cazenovia College; majoring in Advertising & Graphic Design. A small, private college with a total of 1,000 students (or thereabouts) right in the middle of New York State and just outside of Syracuse. It is 3 1/2 hours away from my hometown of Lockport, NY and honestly, it was the furthest I had ever been away from home, not to mention the 1st time I had ever been without my family.
The summer before my senior year of high school my parents and I took a trip to visit the campus and see if it was the college that I wanted to attend. From the moment we drove through the town, I knew that this was the college for me. I was beyond excited when I got my acceptance letter in the mail and throughout my senior year I tried my best to prepare myself for college. Little did I know, there was nothing I could do to prepare myself for what was to come.
Seeing as I had never spent more than a day or two without my family, I had a very hard time saying goodbye to my mom, dad and 2 younger sisters. I was scared and nervous about living with others, being so far away from home and on top of it all, I didn’t have a phone. (Long distance phone plans through the school were expensive and I didn’t have the money for phone cards at the time – this was pre-cell phones). I found myself feeling very alone and stressed out a lot.
I had a lot of trouble fitting in with the other kids and had a very difficult time making friends. I just wasn’t confident in myself and didn’t know what to do. I spent a lot of time alone in the computer lab and actually taught myself how to build websites to keep myself busy. Somehow I did manage to make a couple friends throughout my time there. Seeing as I was paying for my education myself, I paid strict attention to my work and grades and focused heavily on it all. (Too much looking back now) Even though I didn’t make friends easily and was always working on projects/studying, I did have fun. Some of my fellow dorm-mates and I used to have “water-wars” in the hallways and could soak the floors and stairwells and we did some other crazy fun stuff.
I had a very difficult time living in the dorms and with some of my roommates. Being an undergrad meant that we weren’t allowed a car on campus, so my only escape during my 1st year was with my friend Sarah. Sarah lived off campus with her parents and she was in a lot of my classes. We would hang out during the week and on the weekends, I would spend time at her house. We are still friends with each other and I don’t think she fully realizes how much I appreciated her friendship while I was attending Caz.
By the end of my 2nd year and a trip of a lifetime (for me, a girl that had never been more than 3 1/2 hours away from home before), I started to really make friends but those ties were broken quickly because I decided to leave the college. I attended Cazenovia College for 2 years (with the hopes of staying for all 4 years) but I ended up transferring back to the Buffalo to attend Daemen College to finish my 4 year degree. There were a lot of factors that lead to me “coming home” but mostly it had to do with family problems and Michael. (Part 2 will explain more about him and Caz) but also because I just couldn’t handle living on campus.
As I said, not all of my time was terrible and I did love the college. Their design program is a wonderful one and I learned a lot during my time there. Plus, I was part of a program that offered students the chance to get out and do things at no cost to us. I did a lot of things that I was never able to do while I lived at home. I saw live performances, went on day trips into Syracuse and even went on a 4 day trip to Washington DC (all for free!).
I really found out who I was during this time and learned to take care of myself. (I already knew how to do laundry, clean, etc.) As the months went by I was figuring out who I was and it was an experience that I needed to have. Even if it was really difficult for me.
I have so much to say about the 2 years that I spent at Cazenovia College, that I will be splitting up my posts into sections. My next post will be about meeting Michael and how he fits into my college experience.