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Faces of New Paltz

Samantha Grove - Psychology

Past Faces of New Paltz
Terence Gardner
Digital Media Production
Judy Ko

Major: Psychology
Minor: English
Hometown: Greenville, NY
Anticipated Graduation: Fall 2013

  • New Paltz Women's Rugby Football Club
  • Former president, Undergraduate Psychology Association
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences Student Advisory Board
  • Psi Chi (Psychology Honors’ Society)

Why did you decide to study psychology?
I came to New Paltz thinking I was going to be a secondary education major … but then I was a camp counselor the summer after I got here, and I decided that maybe I’m not going to be a teacher. I hate having to discipline groups of kids. Now, I’m planning on becoming a social worker. I started thinking about it when I took a clinical and counseling psychology class and I had to do a career paper. At the time I didn’t know anything about social work. I interviewed (sociology professor) Donna Chaffee, and she was really helpful. She told me a lot about being a social worker and all the options you have. You can be an advocate, trying to change the laws. You can be a counselor. You can work with CPS (Child Protective Services). It gives me a lot of options, so I think that’s the direction I’m going to go in, hopefully.

How did you get involved in rugby?
When I was a first grader, I wanted to play football really bad. My dad said, “No, you can’t. There are no girls playing football.” He wouldn’t stop me from playing – he just didn’t think there were any other girls playing and that I would be uncomfortable. When I got here, my friend was on the rugby team. She told me, “You should come out. Just try it. You’ll have fun.” And I did, and I liked it. It’s rough, and I’m one of the smallest girls, but I have a good time. I’m afraid of tackling, but I’m trying to overcome my fear. That’s one of the things that I strive for. I do worst in the classes that are the easiest. I need someone to push me. I need to be challenged. And because rugby is challenging, I really enjoy it.

What are you learning here at New Paltz about yourself and others?
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned in college is that everyone is so different, and yet everyone the same. Different circumstances, different environments, but everyone wants to be happy and be the best they can be. I feel like that’s opened my eyes to a lot. I've realized, especially through the crisis intervention class I took, that everyone has things in their lives that you can’t see.  Everyone has things working against them. It makes me forgive people much more easily and be much less judgmental.

I’ve learned to be open, not only to other people’s ideas and thoughts, but to other people’s lifestyles. Dorming together, you have to learn to live with someone else who’s completely different than you. I had two roommates freshman year and both of them were completely different from me and from each other. You get used to people, and you’re able to understand people who are so different from you.

I’ve also learned to let myself be myself in front of people. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be imperfect. That’s one of the things I’ve been working on, as well. Freshman year, I had a 4.0 GPA. I was very serious. And now I’m learning that if I get a bad grade, I get a bad grade. If I forget something, I forget something. I’m not perfect and I don’t have to be, which has made me a lot happier. I’ve learned who I want to be and how to make myself happy through this experience. I don’t know if I would’ve learned that if I didn’t come to college.

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