My Introductory Reflective Essay (IRE)
“Wow you’re from New Jersey, what made you decide to come down here to the University of Georgia from all the way up there?” This is by far the most common question that I have received in my time here at the University of Georgia thus far in my first semester. That and of course, “Have you ever met Snooki?” Which to that I respond with, of course I have, I’m from the Jersey Shore. But really, how did I end up here? Well, there is a plethora of reasons, some of which you could probably guess, as to why I chose the University of Georgia. Reasons such as getting away from the cold weather (which plagues my town in New Jersey from October to April) and getting to experience in person the legend of college sports that is SEC football are obvious factors. However, the truth of the matter is that I felt like it was time for me to take a risk in life for once. You see, part of me wanted to stay close to home and my family, yet at the same time the other part knew that i needed to take this risk by attending a university in a location where I would be completely on my own and have to grow up and become a responsible adult in order to not just survive, but prosper.
As our plane touched down on the asphalt in Newark, New Jersey, my father glanced over at me, nodded his head, and grinned, as if saying, “You’ve made your decision, good.” In an attempt to appease him, I shot a reserved grin right back at him, yet the reservation in my facial expression did not go unnoticed.
“Ted, are you okay bud, I thought we agreed that this is where you want to go next year?” questioned my father.
“I don’t know, I’ve just been thinking about the school a lot, and I just don’t think that I can see myself being happy attending school there,” I explained despairingly.
“Okay well Teddy, you have to think rationally here, what about it didn’t you like? I mean, do you really want to risk going to another school when you have a scholarship and are already in your major of choice here?” I explained to my father that I just didn’t feel right at Ohio State. The school was far too large in population for my liking, it was in a location that had temperatures that were bound to be even colder than those of New Jersey, and most of all, something about it just made me feel uneasy about how safe of a campus it really was.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago. As I was waiting for a bus outside of the Science Learning Center I received a text from my father informing me about an attack at The Ohio State University. Completely dumbfounded by the information given to me, I immediately typed in “Ohio State” into the search engine on Google. I came across a video that explained the details of the attack and where on campus it happened. I called my dad immediately after watching the video.
“Dad?” my voice shook. “Dad, I, I would’ve been there. The street it happened on would’ve been right where I would’ve been living. Remember that conversation we had on the plane that day? This is exactly what I was talking about that day. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew the campus just seemed off.”
“I know Teddy, thank God you made the decision to come to UGA. You may have risked a scholarship and a spot in Ohio State’s business school, but you’re safe and that’s all that matters,” stated my father.
I took a risk coming to the University of Georgia. I risked a ten thousand dollar scholarship and a guaranteed spot in a fantastic business school. I also took a risk when it came to whether I would like it at Georgia. Since I had made the long trip to Ohio State beforehand, I didn’t have nearly enough time to come and actually visit the University of Georgia. So, when I finally did click the enroll button confirming my spot as a class of 2020 student at the University of Georgia, I still hadn’t even set foot on campus. Fortunately, these risks ended up reaping great rewards such as a beautiful campus, great friends, and great professors and classes.
Risk unfortunately doesn’t always bring gracious consequences. In my case, risking an education at Ohio State cost me nothing since I am in love with the school I attend currently, however, as one of my essays proves, sometimes risk can lead to very unfortunate events. For example, in my first essay about the short story “Brokeback Mountain,” I explain how one of the protagonists of the story, Jack Twist, took a major risk by being gay in 1960’s Wyoming and being fairly open about it as well. I go on to describe the consequences Twist faced due to his risk as well as relating his experience (which is purely fictional) to experiences that real individuals such as Matthew Shepard actually did go through.
Risk is also a driving factor in my second essay which revolves around the character of the late former pitcher for the Miami Marlins, Jose Fernandez. Just as I took a risk coming to Georgia, and Jack Twist took a risk being gay in a community where being gay was basically a sin, Jose Fernandez took a risk when he came to the United States as a fifteen year old teenager. In my essay I explain how Fernandez risked his life multiple times trying to illegally defect from Cuba to the United States, and how these risks shaped him into not just the amazing baseball player that he was, but the incredible and stand up individual that he was as well.
Finally, in my third essay, I explain how different individuals throughout the music industry can impact and influence the industry. In order to have an influence on the industry, someone in music has to be unique and original. In today’s society with the seemingly monotonous sound that much of pop music has to offer, it may feel overwhelming for an artist to try to stray away from the status quo and come out with something original. However, these artists and visionaries that do decide to take that risk of being different, usually end up being the individuals who have the greatest influence on the music industry.
Taking risks can be hard in life. Sometimes it feels like the risk just isn’t worth the possible consequences, but sometimes your gut just tells you to risk it all and you’ll be rewarded. No matter how you slice it, taking action when there’s a possible consequence is risky, but just look at my case: I risked not even knowing what the University of Georgia looked like when I confirmed my attendance here and risked the opportunity of being guaranteed a position in Ohio State’s business school, and well, the risk certainly paid off.