Convocation

Gianna Gonzalez

Gianna Gonzalez '20
William Smith Student Address
August 26, 2019

I distinctly remember the first C I ever received. It was the second grade. It was in my Math class and it was addition. 16 years later, Math is still my least favorite subject.

So, as a college student, I could not contain my happiness at the thought that I would be able to avoid Math altogether and finally study ONLY what I wanted, in my case English and Media & Society. Unfortunately, in my first year, I was faced with a harsh reality when I found out that while this class would not need to be a traditional math class like the ones I knew in high school, I would still have to complete math reasoning in a different way.

I opted to take two classes to fulfill this goal, one of which led me down a completely different path than I anticipated, allowing me to embark on an exploration of Geneva, myself, and the HWS community.

The class was Education 115 Linguistics with Professor Audrey Roberson. Learning about words and how they change and form society was interesting. But what was even more interesting, at the time, was watching Professor Roberson engage different types of students and how her tactics varied based on the content. I quickly moved from being inspired by her teaching to being inspired to become a teacher.

At the end of my first year I was accepted into the education program, and thought PHEW! I have my life figured out. I went to the 7:30AM seminars with some of the most passionate professors and excellent teachers on campus, went into local public schools to explore my future teaching style, and met many other students and faculty with whom I now have life-long connections. But the closer I got to actually becoming a teacher, the more I realized that I was not meant to be doing this important work. Turns out, what really interests me is how people use words to communicate. So, after graduation, I plan to seek a career in television and communications.

Thanks to the many mentors and resources on campus I have been able to explore HWS and myself through a process of trial and error. While I do not know where this road will lead, I do know that taking Linguistics gave me the tools to explore my interests and prepare me for the challenges of choosing a career path. First years, please take the classes that interest you, or the ones that don’t! Have trust in this place and community. No matter the choices you make, HWS will always allow you to explore.  Thank you.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.