Learn about just a few of the students and alumni who transformed their lives through the IC experience.
125 Years of Transformation
I grew up a lot in Ithaca. I can't even begin to explain. I feel like Ithaca definitely transformed me in many, many ways. A great thing about coming to college is you learn what you love, and you learn what you don't love. It was great because I got to take classes in all of these different areas. Turns out, I suck at physics. Sometimes I get to see the moment when a student blossoms. For the first time, I felt beautiful, I felt empowered, I felt ready to lead, and take on the world. And those were all things that previously I hadn't ever felt. I can never forget it from the day I'm driving up Danby Road. And I kind of look over to my left when I see this like beautiful campus. And I was like, wow, this is nothing like NASA Community College. The reason I chose to go to Ithaca originally was both because of the amazing music program. And also because I knew it was one of the top LGBT friendly campuses in the country. The first time I came, I love the atmosphere. I met these people from the math department, which is what I originally went into. I thought that was really where I wanted to be. But it wasn't for me.T The transition was tough. The academic standards were a lot higher than what I was used to, as well as my wrestling career. Falling short two times, so I didn't make it to Nationals. Marty said next year, do you want to take this journey with me? And we lose together? Or you don't listen, you lose by yourself like you did this year. There was just that spark I needed to believe again in myself to really chase something that I chased my whole life. My freshman year I came in and at that point, I thought I had it all figured out. I remember Luca, who is the director of the LGBT Center there told me about this program. He's I'm bringing a trans speaker in and I think you should really go. It's like, oh, yeah, I'm a I'm a big ally for trans people, I would love to go. Of course, it didn't. It took like two years for me to actually do anything personal with that information. I was getting really bogged down. And I was like, I can't take more math classes, like I was already kind of at my end, and stumbled on this class called understanding disability. And I left that class every week feeling like this is it-- like this is totally what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I remember the pivotal moment was when she met her little buddy in the swim program. That is when Jesse came out of that shell and started to blossom. Oh, what a beautiful thing. I would spend hours and hours and hours and Lucas office talking about interpersonal relationships or transitioning. He really helped me find the tools that I needed to figure out my identity. Will was in the process of being and becoming who he was. And for him, that eventually meant not just sort of an emotional transformation of how he thought of himself, but a physical transformation. Will is a transgender man. Ithaca gave me that opportunity to grow up and kind of decide who who I was going to be. And now she's running this incredible organization and Ithaca for families of children with autism spectrum disorder, holy cow, she is phenomenal. Will really knew no matter what he came to, at the end of his journey, that he would be accepted. I would accept him his peers would accept him, no matter what I really don't know what my path would have looked like if I didn't have someone like that. So accessible to me, and so willing to help and to listen, actually have a fresh start senior year and really come with a different attitude. From that moment on. I was like Marty, whatever I have to do to get here-- I will do. Senior year of wrestling, I was going to Nationals. I was the one seed. I took the guy down, and I escaped. I was intune-- like everything I've learned led to that point. I was able to graduate I was able to win nationals on my birthday. It was a feeling that I wish so many athletes could feel. These memories and no one would ever be able to take away from me.
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