Coming into Colgate, I was as immature and naive as I was timid and awkward – that tends to come with the territory for a 130-pound 18-year-old. I knew that finding friends in an environment outside of my own would be a challenge, especially in a world as different as Colgate. My high school parking lot was lined with lifted trucks and souped-up clunkers, not luxury SUVs. Typical garb was a camo jacket and work boots, not Patagonias and Bean Boots. Coming from Northeastern Pennsylvania to Central New York was life-altering and an undeniable whirlwind as I tried to find my footing in a brand new world.
I, along with my fellow first-years, muddled through the painfully uncomfortable first-year orientation, chock-full of anxiety-inducing moments, all capped off by “fanfare” where we had our first experience with the amorphous grey blob that is the Colgate Raider mascot. Nevertheless, I persevered, signing up for club baseball, club table tennis and all other corners of Colgate obscurity. However, my table tennis career didn’t pan out as I wasn’t willing to take a chance and step out of the comfort zone that was my first-year dorm room. Finally, a hallmate coaxed me down the hill one afternoon at 4 p.m. to the field below the Office of Admission, where I came across the overwhelming scene of the Jabberwock Ultimate (frisbee) practice. During that practice, a team captain came up to me, introduced himself, and for the first time, despite my continued awkwardness, I felt a sense of belonging. I came back, day after day, week after week, eventually becoming a regular on the Jabberwock Ultimate team. I had found a group that certainly was different from what I was used to, but instead of pushing away from difference, the team embraced difference and gave me a home on campus.
The years went on, I joined a Greek organization, the friends I had made from
ultimate branched out and joined other groups on campus, and my friend group changed as I moved down the hill. Through that, however, from 4 to 6 p.m. everyday, we still practiced and played ultimate, albeit some days far better than others.
Now a senior, the friends I have made through ultimate stay with me to this day, regardless of how busy our outside lives are. Ultimate has been the highlight of my Colgate experience, and without it, and the people that I’ve met on the team, I can’t say for certain where I’d be. It was by mere chance that I walked down the hill to practice that day, provoked by a hallmate that I rarely even see anymore. Pure chance led me to the best experience of my life, and it’s a chance every Colgate student deserves to have. I went from a tremendously awkward first-year, terrified by the Colgate Raider, to a senior, although still terrified by the Colgate Raider, far more confident in doing so. The confidence and comfort that I have discovered is thanks to the culture of the ultimate team. The people who have been part of that culture the past four years have helped me mature and grow and enjoy Colgate more than my first-year self could ever imagine.
Contact Brian Rose