Taking Risks: The Story of a Transfer

I don’t have any Colgate memories of freshman year. I never attended first year orientation and never had an FSEM. I’ve only been in KDR once and I don’t know what Colgate was like before the administration ruined the social scene. I’m going to tell you a different story, one that begins in Syracuse, New York in the fall of 2002.

As a high school senior, the college recruiters weren’t exactly banging down my door. Rather, I was a perennial underachiever, a lazy ass if you will. I never took risks. I always did the bare minimum, just doing enough to get by. I was afraid of applying myself out of risk of failure. It’s easier to accept a C on an exam when you haven’t studied than when you’ve been preparing for weeks. So I slacked hard. I decided to attend college at Syracuse only because I thought the campus looked nice. After all, it was the best school I got into.

In my second semester at Syracuse, I knew I made a huge mistake. Though my GPA was higher than it ever was in high school, I felt lost in the crowd at a big university. I hated my 300-person astronomy lecture, I hated that it wasn’t safe to walk the streets at night, and I hated the bureaucracies that comprise such a large institution. However, Syracuse straightened me out. Unlike high school, I felt my professors were on my side – they wanted me to succeed. So I thrived as a student there. I took a few risks and I studied hard. I started assignments weeks before they were due. I was a changed man. Yet I was still unhappy at SU and I was thinking of transferring.

In the fall of 2003, it was clear I needed a change. I wanted some place smaller and friendlier I needed a university that fostered class discussions and interactive learning. I also needed a greater academic challenge, as my SU classes were not tapping what I felt was my fullest potential. So, I set my sights on Colgate.

After visiting Colgate, I immediately fell in love with the place. The pristine Oak Drive and Willow Path were a refreshing change of scenery from Interstate 81 and Brewster/Boland Hall. In my visit, I was warmly welcomed by Andy Rotter of the History department. He gave me an honest description of campus life from the social scene to academics. After meeting with Professor Rotter, I knew that Colgate was the place for me. The day I sent in my deposit for Colgate was the greatest and most frightening day of my life. I was leaving behind good grades, two of my best friends, Adam and Matt, and a Big East sports program for the unknown. This was the biggest risk of my life.

When I first arrived in my double in Curtis Hall in January of 2004, I was thrilled. I didn’t care that the room was nearly half the size of my dorm at Syracuse, I was just glad to be in a new place and have a chance at a fresh start. Looking back, my first schedule was lousy, but I didn’t care. Class discussions were so wonderful and yet foreign. The workload was much more burdensome, but I felt like I was actually learning. As an outsider who became an insider, I have a special appreciation for the way Colgate educates its undergraduates. Though I have been known to complain about Colgate once and awhile, I’m proud to have been educated at this University.

As a mid-semester transfer it was a little tougher to get acclimated to social life. Most cliques had already been formed. I missed out on sophomore rush. Nonetheless, transferring to Colgate forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. In the 5 semesters I’ve been here, I feel that I’ve made many meaningful friendships and forged relationships with people I wouldn’t have considered possible friends in high school.

The Yo Mets! Intramural dynasty played a huge roll in this. After being asked to play by my transfer peer advisor, (Cooking With) Tom Evans, I was in the Yo Mets family. Though we may not be the most athletic group of guys, I can’t think of a better bunch to compete with. One of my top 5 college moments was our IM Softball championship last year. It was a tough blow when the bulk of the guys graduated last year, but I’ve tried to continue the Yo Mets! spirit of sports, beers and a few laughs.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Maroon-News staff. Without a doubt, this is the most rewarding activity on this campus. Nothing else comes close. Through our online and print readership we interact with thousands of students, alums, faculty, and interested readers each week. We do not get paid or receive any compensation for the work that we do. The only reward we get is the feeling that maybe our contributions, in editing or writing, will make a difference on this campus and the greater Hamilton area.

The diversity on our staff is staggering. We have athletes, Greeks, thespians, language enthusiasts, RAs, and SGA Senators. And how could we forget the likes of those who came before us, most notably Mr. Steven Q. Fair (whose uncanny ability for break dancing should be noted) and well as Evan “Paulie Walnuts” LeBon, who amused and sometimes frightened us with the vulgarities of “Northern Jersey.” As Commentary Editor and Managing Editor, I’ve had the privilege to work with two capable, intelligent, organized, and extremely sexy editors: Jeff Fein and Kimmy Cunningham. I have no doubt that this publication will be in great hands for years to come.

If The Maroon-News gave out an MVP award, the pick would be unanimous. Without Steve Sheridan, this paper is in a lot of trouble and he is the single reason we operate so effectively week in and week out. Words cannot do justice to convey the respect and deep admiration I have for Steve and I know that he will succeed wherever he goes.

I’m a lucky guy. The gents of Newell Superdome, Oja, Ricky and Josh are as good as they come and I have a beautiful, bright, and supportive girlfriend, Holly. What more could a guy want? I’m a Colgate student because I took a chance and hoped for the best. It goes to show what can happen if you put it all on the line. Did the risk pay off? You better believe it.