Sometimes, to succeed in the classroom, you need to step outside of it for a while. When you return, you may have new perspectives, new goals – and new motivation.
Take Caleb Harrower, a second-year Business Administration major and a resident assistant in the Student Village. A native of Waverly, New York, he went directly from high school to college, envisioning a future in the real estate industry.
But during the Spring 2018 semester, life became overwhelming and his academic focus began to waver. He decided to do something dramatic: withdraw from his classes and drive out to Colorado, where he spent two months working before returning east. It was a last-minute decision, but ultimately worthwhile.
His car only made it to Kansas, and he had to figure out what to do entirely on his own, far from family and friends. He made it to Colorado the next day and ended up renting a room from a family in the Denver area, working for a roofing company and as a restaurant host.
He describes the Denver area as diverse and friendly, with a booming economy. Still, although he enjoyed his time there, he knew it was time to return and finish his degree.
“I needed that break. Before I went on that trip, I felt like I was losing motivation,” he said. “I’ve been so determined since the junior year of high school. I didn’t regret it at all.”
His own path
Finding a path unique to his own vision and experience isn’t new to Caleb. Going into the military rather than college is somewhat of a family tradition; he opted out. In high school, he studied building construction at his local BOCES so he could learn how houses are constructed, knowledge he could draw on once he entered real estate.
But once he began taking classes at SUNY Broome, his perspectives on business – and his own future – expanded. He now sees himself as a future entrepreneur, and will continue his studies after transfer; he has already been accepted by the University at Buffalo and also has applied to Binghamton University.
“I want to start a business soon. I have some ideas, but I want to do a lot more research,” he reflected.
SUNY Broome has broadened his perspective in other ways, as well. It’s why he chose to live in the Student Village rather than commute, he explained.
“I feel like it puts me in a position where I have to learn about people from different walks of life. There are people from Rochester, New York City, Colorado,” he said of the Student Village. “Being in my hometown, it’s not as diverse. I wanted to explore new areas.”
You can trace Caleb’s appreciation for diversity to his summer jobs at local campgrounds, including KOA Campgrounds in Watkins Glen and Camp Badger in Spencer. Summer camp gave him the opportunity to work with people from around the world; at Camp Badger, he also worked with individuals with special needs, an experience he describes as life-changing.
He enjoys being a resident assistant, and makes sure to greet residents and their families during Move-In Day at the start of the semester. He is now more eager to reach out to others, and to make them feel welcome. In short, he found himself to be something he never imagined before: a leader.
Going to the mountains does change your perspective on life, as Caleb Harrower has found. But so do vistas closer to home: in the classroom, where you learn something new. In your residence hall or in your summer job, where you meet someone from far away and learn about their hometown.
“It’s pushed me to start my own business someday. I think my life has become more broad and it’s benefiting me a lot,” Caleb said of his time at SUNY Broome. “Coming here helped me better understand what I want to do.”