Monday, May 5, 2014

All Roads Lead to Excellence - Klarissa Garcia

As my days become numbered in Geneseo, I can’t help but reflect on my time at this institution. In short, my college career can be described as transformative- in numerous aspects of my life. None of it would have been made possible without the continual support of the AOP department, and more specifically the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI).

I have had the privilege to be a part of this organization since my first year at Geneseo and every year has provided me with a better understanding of who I am as person, leader, student and friend. As a participant, my WLI experience was shaped by my personal growth. I remember Ms. Gonzalez’s tirelessly trying to crack the infamous “shell” I hid behind. The sessions I attended and relationships I established my first year truly pushed me to open up and be vulnerable, but the effort in becoming a better me didn’t stop my first year in WLI. I decided to apply for a position on the Program Development (PD) Team, and since then all three teams which I have been a member of have contributed to my transformation. This year, WLI and AOP in general, have undergone major changes in personnel. With Ms. Gonzalez leaving the program at the end of the fall semester, WLI’s future was questioned. Many, including us on the PD Team, were hesitant in being able to push the program forward and live up to the WLI legacy.

Yet, despite the experience I had on previous PD Teams, this year’s team proved that there is always room for improvement and that anything is possible! We were aware that without an advisor for the majority of the spring semester, we were going to be responsible to execute our planned events and continue to live out our mission and goals. The team not only met, but surpassed all expectations in regards to how the program would continue without Ms. Gonzalez. Our main goal was to do our best as a team and continue to support our participants. As the Student Advisor and senior, going through the WLI program for the fourth time, I was beyond proud of the team and couldn’t believe that I was still learning new things about myself. We were stronger than ever during this semester and our determination and enthusiasm was evident miles away.  I am still shocked by the passion and commitment I have witnessed within this team and have no doubt that the organization is in good hands.

WLI’s theme my first year was “Coming Full Circle: Experience, Embody, Embrace”. Without realizing, I have done just that! I have experienced WLI as a participant and PD Team member, learning new things throughout every year. Unknowingly, I had begun to embody and embrace our pearls and I’m finding ways to share that with our participants, PD Team members and community at large.  I know that although I will be graduating and leaving Geneseo, I will forever be a part of WLI. So, as I pass down my knowledge and prepare the current participants for what lies ahead, in terms of WLI, I emphasize how important it is to be open to change and new experiences. Our experiences may differ, but I encourage each and every young lady to let the process run its course- only when reflecting on your experience will you see how much has changed. I also want to stress the importance of support for the organization and each other. The work that has been done this year would not have been made possible without the support of the college, AOP department, the PD Team, and participants.  Thank you to everyone who has made these last four years the most memorable years of my life! 

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