Alex Kendrick wasn’t ready.

The Binghamton High School graduate headed to Binghamton University directly after graduation, majoring in neuroscience. But she struggled with the work, and found her enthusiasm for the program waning. She started skipping classes – and her confidence fell in tandem.

“I was not ready for a four-year university at all and I wasn’t doing very well,” she remembered. “I wasn’t loving what I was doing. I wasn’t trying hard enough.”

She took her mom’s advice and withdrew from BU to enroll in SUNY Broome. The switch gave her the opportunity to explore her interests – and switch her major to Engineering Science. While classes are challenging, she made the Dean’s List her first semester and is still going strong.

“I love engineering so much. I was always interested in making things – not with my hands, exactly, but on the computer,” she explained.

Ultimately, she’s interested in computer engineering and working with software.

What made the difference? Top-notch professors and small class sizes, which allow students to connect with their instructors. Kendrick made a connection with her computer science professor, Diana LaBelle, on the first day of class.

“Relationships to professors have to be made twice as fast, yet it’s easy because Broome has such a friendly faculty and staff that they make the transition as easy as possible,” Kendrick stated. “My instructors are second to none.”

Outside of class, she works in the Dean of Student’s Office, and tutors her fellow students in chemistry and programming. She’s also discovered an unexpected new activity that has changed her outlook on life, thanks to the college’s Meditation Club.

People often assume that meditation is reserved for monks or yoga practitioners, but the club makes it accessible to everyone. They explore many different kinds of meditation, from breath and body awareness to imagery, such as reflections on a lake.

Kendrick said it has helped her manage anxiety and depression, and improve her performance in class. When she plans her rigorous study schedule, she makes sure to include meditation breaks. She has found that they actually help her accomplish more.

“It’s such a great thing for your body and mind. Meditation has helped me so much,” she said. “It’s hard, though. You have to be aware of what your mind is doing. I’ve gotten a lot more confident because of it.”

Looking toward her future, she intends to transfer to a four-year school for computer engineering. Perhaps she’ll return to Binghamton University, but she’s considering other options, too: the Rochester Institute of Technology and Clarkson University are just two of the universities that welcome SUNY Broome engineering science graduates.

In the meantime, this future engineer wants her fellow students to believe in their resilience. Mistakes and setbacks are learning experiences, and not the end.

“Everyone has bad experiences, and you can always come out of it,” she said. “Believe in yourself. You’ve got this.”

Alex Kendrick

Alex Kendrick