After spending four long years in high school with the same people, mandatory classes, and routine schedule, I was ready for something new. In addition to wanting to escape the regimented days of high school, I had a desire to learn more, especially about the subjects which I had grown passionate about. I decided to further my studies in history and attend college. The college decision process took time, involved incredibly difficult choices, stress, and the seemingly inevitable factor, money. While going to college and furthering my education was a big decision, I could not be happier with where I am today.
Two years ago, Geneseo, New York became my home. Relocating from Warwick, New York was a refreshing experience. After a month or so of living in Geneseo I felt that I was a part of the community. In fact, I still do to this day.
In my opinion, I am a valid member of this town. Similar to the year round residents, I eat at the same local restaurants, I run through the village streets during cross country practice, and I shop at the nearby grocery stores. Just like other members of the community, I have grown accustomed to the town’s environment and ways of living. I feed into Geneseo socially, economically, and, since I reside here most of the year, can affect the area politically. But for some reason, as a college student I am still distinct. I am unique. So, what underlying factor distinguishes between normal town dwellers and college students?
The Answer: College students are allochthonous.
Dr. McCoy explained that something is allochthonous if it is not from the region where it is found. Today, I reside in Geneseo, however, I am from Warwick. Therefore, I am allochthonous. Technically, my roots are in Warwick, with my family, but I currently live and participate in the Geneseo community. When I walk into Geneseo’s Wegmans with my fellow college friends, people correctly assume that based off of my age, appearance, and surroundings that I am here for school. With this assumption, however, comes some negatives. Yes, being allochthonous has its flaws.
This past Labor Day weekend, my housemates and I went out to grab some breakfast at a local diner. There were eight of us so we had to sit outside and wait a while for a table to be cleaned and prepared for breakfast. It was then that I noticed how much of an alien I was to the community. Families walked past us with rather offended looks on their faces. It seemed as if my friends and I had inserted ourselves into their territory. Unfortunately, these regular breakfast goers would have to wait for a table as well. It was their diner. For the first time in a while, I felt like an outsider and not a valid member of Geneseo. I thought to myself, “Did those families react that way solely because my friends and I are allochthonous, or were they just hungry?” If it was the latter, I could understand.
After studying the term allochthonous, many thoughts swarmed my mind. Overtime I concluded that it is not where you originate that matters, but rather where you make your impact. I’d like to think that I had a right to a table at breakfast just as much as the family from Geneseo did, even as someone who originated in elsewhere. During my time here, I have affected this community both socially and economically. It is important for people to recognize that a outsider can become an insider, even if they are young, troubled college students. I may not be from Geneseo, but Geneseo is most certainly my home.