An Open Letter to First-Years: Staying True to the Stats

Haley Friefeld, Maroon-News Staff

It was just yesterday that we were the superiors of school. We were the dominators, the omnipotent leaders and the intimidating beings who seized control of the halls. Now, here we are, all the way back where we started: the bottom.

The unnerving sentiment of the beginning of high school seems all too familiar. We don’t know our classes, we don’t know the people, we don’t know the professors and we don’t know the traditions. There are upperclassmen who overshadow us with their preexisting experiences and routines, making our confusion even more evident as we walk around campus. In essence, we don’t know where we are, what we are doing, who we should be and what we should do.

Such unsettling feelings tend to not last too long at Colgate. They inevitably dissipate when you finally realize that you are a part of the Colgate community: a family of students who all bring unique characteristics to campus. Unfortunately, though, some students seem to get too comfort- able, translating a sense of belonging into poor decision-making.

Let’s cut to the chase. One of the appeals that so often draws prospective students in is the classic reputation of “work hard, play hard.” While seemingly a harmonious blend of academic dedication and social involvement, it seems that some students may be losing their sense of priority, and for many of us, forgetting all that we did to get here in the first place. This includes, but is not limited to, studying for the ACT and SAT, passionately writing supplemental essays, maintaining or raising our GPAs and ensuring that we were involved in a variety of diverse extracurricular activities. These endeavors are not gone. Even though we already have found ourselves to be active students at Colgate, we nevertheless still have all the components and qualifications that it took for us to get here in the first place.

Students at Colgate are immensely driven to succeed, but this goal-oriented mentality might be slowly losing to the notion that going out six nights a week will be productive to our success. Consequently, we are perhaps losing sight of what we are here to do. There is much truth to the idea that in order to succeed academically, we must not limit ourselves to immersion in academics. In fact, it is the time designated for our own self-care and contentment that I believe leads us to thrive in our academic work. However, forcing ourselves to go out on a night when we have a test the next morning presents itself to be an unfortunate decision that conforms to peer pressure.

So, as I ponder the events of the last two months here at Colgate, I realize that I am thoroughly impressed by the intellect, creativity, commitment and multifaceted abilities that my first-year peers have. With this, I too am impressed with the inclusivity and free-spirited nature that my peers present in non-academic settings. However, I hope to have these reputations stay this way. In fact, I believe as students arriving during the Bicentennial year, it is somewhat our duty to uphold the values that we know Colgate prides itself in. So, Class of 2022, if the higher authoritative members and admissions statistics say we can succeed, then I know we can do that and so much more.

Contact Haley Friefeld at [email protected].