Pipe Dream spoke with Stone Geise, a student speaker at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity. Geise, a senior majoring in biochemistry, hopes to become a physician, and will be focusing his talk on living a healthier, better life, both mentally and physically. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Pipe Dream: You’re a student speaker. How does that put you in a unique position for your TED talk?
Stone Geise: One of the biggest differences between myself and everyone else is that everyone else that’s here is a professional that’s had a load of life experiences, is achieving really great things and I haven’t gotten to that point yet. So I’m definitely coming from a different perspective than everyone else because I am still a student, I’m an undergrad, I don’t have a bachelor’s degree and I haven’t really done anything besides school my entire life. I come from a different wealth of experience.
PD: What are you involved with on campus?
SG: I have two main commitments: I’m an RA in Cayuga Hall in College-in-the-Woods, and I’m the musical director for Note to Self, the community service a cappella group here on campus.
PD: You’re studying biochemistry and you’re on the pre-med track. How does that academic experience influence your talk?
SG: The focus of my talk is about living your life in a better way. One of the things I talk about is how people are so incredibly overwhelmed with schoolwork, and any students here, but especially students in the sciences, know how overwhelming it can be, so that wealth of experience that I have of being so overwhelmed with my schoolwork has taught me and given me that experience to know how it is to be so stressed out.
PD: And how are you employing this philosophy of living better in your own life?
SG: I am definitely practicing what I’m preaching! I do my best to not let myself worry about the things that don’t necessarily matter, the things that I can’t control and just focus on the good things I’m doing. It’s better to just learn and move on rather than dwell on those other things and everything else.
PD: This year’s TEDx theme is “Infinity.” How is that influencing your talk?
SG: Because there’s an infinite amount of things and possibilities that can happen in your life, and there are so many things going on every single day. If you’re focusing on the bad things, it tends to distract you from all the great things happening all the time, of that infinite amount of good things that you don’t always see.
PD: How does it feel to be an undergraduate speaker at TEDxBU?
SG: It’s been an amazing experience, it really has. Just the preparation going into it has been a lot of work — I’ve been working with the public speaking lab tirelessly every single week this semester leading up to this. But also, it’s just the experience of people coming up to me, and being like, “Stone, good luck with TEDx!” People that I don’t know that well, especially, it’s a weird dynamic of having people know who you are when you don’t know them, and coming up to you and wishing you luck. To see other people excited about what I’m passionate about is really exciting and makes you feel really good.