Welcome back, all. It’s the start of my final semester at Colgate and the thought of life after Colgate makes me want to simultaneously gag and begin Jersey Shore-style fist-pumping. I have a feeling this semester will involve a lot of reflecting on my time at Colgate, and why not start now?
I was at an event last semester and struck up a conversation with a guy at said event. I asked his year and laughed when he responded, “freshman.” The fact he was a first-year wasn’t what made the conversation funny, but rather that he was a first-year and I was a senior. There’s nothing wrong with a first year and senior interacting, but it’s important to note the contrast in our life stages.
Over the semester I became acutely aware of this difference. When I was a first-year, the lives of upperclass people seemed distant. I did not think much about them, and I did not build relationships with many of them. I was in my own world, exploring this whole college thing. Now as a senior, I do not have many relationships with underclass students outside of my team and SGA, but I am much more aware of their lives.
One such area in which there seems to be a stark difference is in the world of sex and romance. As a first-year and sophomore, dating relationships do arise, but the hook-up scene is, or at least feels, the most prevalent. Going to the Jug multiple times a week seems rational, fun and the best way to intimately connect with another (or many others). However, the tables seem to turn as one continues in their time at Colgate. Now most of my friends are either in steady relationships or a consistent hook-up. We still go to the Jug from time to time, but the experience is quite different. We go to dance, never stay for long and are so much more aware of all the underclass folks aggressively engaged in tongue battles on the dance floor. We certainly never go to the Jug to look for a hook-up.
It’s interesting how certain aspects of Colgate life can either promote or discourage bonding and relationship-building (romantic and otherwise) amongst the class years. Greek life, athletics (club, IM or Varsity) and certain clubs, bring people together from different parts of campus over a common interest or activity. However, these same extracurriculars cut people off from other groups of people. Other things, such as residence halls, many courses and even the Jug, limit our ability to connect across class years. I’m sure some believe this is a good or natural thing. As I said, upperclass and underclass students are in very different places in their lives and development. But I think we lose out when we fail to engage with those who are younger or older than us. Each person brings a different perspective based on their experiences or lack thereof. For example, older students can bring wisdom and support to younger students while younger students can help prevent older students from becoming jaded by reminding us of the possibilities that exist at Colgate.
Relationships and social bonds are key to our college experience and our happiness. I hope to make some more underclass friends this semester whom I’ll want to visit at Colgate after graduation. To others, think about ways you can connect with those around you, whether it be through Commons dinners, driving people you don’t know to the airport or home for Spring Break or donating your old going-out clothes to first-years. We’ll have to tackle the larger issues later.
Contact Kira Palmer at [email protected]