Minus The City: Grateful

Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be. As a kid, Thanksgiving meant making crafts of turkeys with finger paint, writing a list of what you were thankful for in crayon and learning about the pilgrims and their first feast with the Native Americans. I remember acting out the Mayflower’s voyage in the second grade, dressing up and eating crackers and beef jerky because that’s what my teacher told my class people ate on boats in the 17th century. When you’re a kid, November is about school giving you a romanticized version of history and making it homework to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Whether you’re thankful for family or for chocolate chip cookies, it’s an ode to your priorities at that moment in time. 

Now that we’re older, we know that the first Thanksgiving was really a precursor to genocide and the awareness of the holiday itself is purely because we have a break named “Thanksgiving Recess.” No one asks what we’re thankful for, and we often don’t think about it. Everyone is excited to go home and catch up on sleep and eat good food, but there’s no pause for reflection. That’s the thing about Colgate, though: “pause” is not in our vocabulary. 

I recently found myself in deep discussion with a friend, in which we marveled at the lack of emotional intelligence at Colgate. We’re an immature, unaware group of people and we move through life on a destructive rampage. Albeit, most of us have plenty of direction and focus to not cause too much damage, but still. We move too fast to comprehend the consequences of our actions. It’s a survival tactic; work hard, play hard and distract yourself from painful realizations. 

It’s why the “exclusive hookup” is so prevalent here. People want the regularity and comfort without the emotional vulnerability that fully-fledged relationships require. I don’t think anyone is truly afraid of sharing their baggage with another human. I really believe it has to do with a fear of turning their gaze inward and, for once, trying to understand what they see. There’s a possibility they won’t like it, that it’ll make them sad. Dealing with your demons takes time, and extra time is something no one has in Hamilton, New York. What am I thankful for? I’m thankful for “Minus the City,” because every other week I get to sit down and reflect on life and love at Colgate. The time it takes me to write this column is when I hit pause, and recognize how the bizarre cultural bubble here affects me. It’s a meditative period in which I wrestle with my own emotional immaturity and the hard truths I normally run from. It’s like an hour long Eat, Pray, Love session in Case-Geyer Library, but with less Italian food. 

“Minus” is a column intended to discuss the hookup culture at Colgate, which is no walk in the park. Our sexual habits aren’t really healthy for anyone, and TINAPAS summed it up perfectly with the line, “This isn’t how we should treat each other.” Grappling with this subject with such regularity has gifted me with enough self-awareness to navigate the hookup scene with my health and happiness as a top priority. Instead of avoiding their emotional realities, if Colgate students reflected on their experiences in this little corner of the universe, they could better understand their priorities, their needs and what makes them happy. 

Anyway, I’m also thankful for events with free RIG, the old friends who put up with me and the new friends I’m just getting to know. What about you?

Contact Kate Hinsche at [email protected].