Getting What You Need from Colgate


The Maroon-News Staff thanks the seniors for their time and dedication over the past four years and wishes them well in life after Colgate.

Emily Brand, Copy Editor

There are two typical responses you will get from seniors in their final semester of college. The first is that they aren’t ready to go and will miss Colgate more than anything. The second is that they can’t wait to walk across that graduation stage and leave the past four years in the dust. Both feelings are valid, but they also seem sad in a way. While it seems appropriate that after four years you would want to leave a village where the population is slightly larger than Colgate’s student body, I refuse to accept that any given senior won’t look back in the rearview mirror as they drive away from campus one last time after graduation. 

As an eldest child with two parents who aren’t exactly “rah-rah” about the schools they went to, I had little to no understanding about what college really entailed until my junior year of high school. At that point, the only thing that seemed to matter was finding a school that matched up with my SAT scores and GPA. Yes, college tours and finding the “right fit” mattered, but truthfully I had no clue how to interpret campus tours. I kept asking questions like “do you have club sports?” and “where is the health center?” since my 17-year-old self was convinced I would continue on with my jock lifestyle and I needed to make sure I would be taken care of when I got sick, which is almost every other week. I played club soccer for one year before quitting and have been misdiagnosed or told to “sleep it off” by the health center about a dozen times. 

Needless to say, I didn’t know how to judge a school until I made my choice. I don’t think I chose wrong, but I also don’t think I knew how to navigate this campus until I found myself in the last semester of my academic career. I spent the first two years desperately trying to fit in and did whatever it took to be socially accepted on campus. I spent the first semester of my junior year counting down the days until I went abroad and the second semester falling in love with a country and a continent where I would always be an outsider. I learned to disregard academic and social expectations and just live in the moment. I spent 70 percent of my days alone and loved every second of it.

When I came back to Colgate for my senior year I was determined to focus on myself. It was my last year of college and a panic started to creep in that I hadn’t done everything that you are “supposed” to do in college. Had I taken the right classes, gone to the right parties, joined the right clubs, networked with the right people, had the right internships? I felt the pressure and suddenly the stakes of the real world seemed too high. I desperately wanted to move on and test myself outside of Colgate, but wasn’t sure if I had done what was necessary to do that. I’m talking about these fears in the past tense because as I write this I no longer feel that way. Maybe I did last year, last semester, or even last week. But now, as I reflect on the last four years during my final week of classes, I know that I’ve gotten what I need out of Colgate. I’m ready to walk across that stage and leave Colgate in the dust because I’ve learned enough about myself to move forward and experience life outside of this bubble. 

Contact Emily Brand at [email protected].