If I could pick up the phone, dial a number, and have a conversation with high school me, I think she would be very surprised to hear me talk about her future. That person, unsure if pursuing an English degree would even be worth it, wouldn’t believe all the opportunities headed her way at Le Moyne.
A Presidential Scholarship? Honors program? A trip to Oregon for the largest writers’ conference in North America? She would probably hang up on me.
All these experiences, which have changed me throughout my past three years as a ‘Phin, wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support I was given. As a high school student, I remember receiving an envelope from Le Moyne in the mail, tearing it open, and seeing that in addition to being accepted, I had been offered an extraordinary Presidential Scholarship. On the top of the letter, written in green cursive, was a note from President Linda LeMura: “Well deserved!” My parents hung it on the fridge, where it stayed for a long time. Those words filled me with gratitude and pride every time I saw them; they were not only a culmination of the hard work I had done all throughout high school, but they were a reminder of the future ahead of me.
And what a future that has been. As an incoming freshman, I was accepted into the Integral Honors program. Since then, I have had the privilege of taking classes that have challenged me to think deeper into topics and question not just others’ opinions, but my own as well. While initially I was intimidated by the intellect of my peers and professors, I soon realized that classes were a collaborative effort. We were all there to help each other make sense of the world around us, which often turned out to be more complex and nuanced than we had previously thought.
After my freshman year, the bond between Honors students only strengthened, as the Honors suite was renovated to create a common area. Here, many students can be found typing on laptops, discussing ideas for their theses, or helping each other de-stress with laughter and a constant supply of snacks. The Honors program exists outside the classroom; it exists in the sincere and lasting connection between its students.
It is not only students who are connected to each other, but also faculty and staff. This became obvious to me when I was chosen to attend the creative writing department’s second annual trip to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference. I couldn’t believe it when Dr. David Lloyd, director of the creative writing program, reached out to me and two other students with the chance to travel to Portland, Ore., all-expenses paid. As an English major and writer, the opportunity to travel across the country with some of my favorite professors and friends in order to attend a conference of 15,000 people was life changing. Amidst writers of all ages and backgrounds discussing topics such as the representation of mental illness or the use of humor in children’s books, I felt inspired and awestruck by the passion of the people around me. My desire to change the world through writing was reignited.
Looking back as a rising senior, I realize that nearly every step of my college career, I have been fortunate enough to have benefited from the gifts of many generous people. All these opportunities—from the Presidential scholarship, to being a part of a supportive Honors community, to attending a prestigious writers’ conference—would not have been feasible for me were it not for the financial support I received.
I, along with many Le Moyne students, am incredibly grateful for all these experiences, and I know they have played an integral part in shaping me as a person. If the phone ever rings and me from the past happens to be on the other end, I’ll tell her to stay on the line and hear me out. She won’t believe the things that are coming her way.
Natasha Beauchesne was a member of the Class of 2020 was an English major.