Senior Issue: Why I Wouldn’t Change Anything About My Colgate Experience


Over the last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my experience at Colgate and coming to terms with the fact that it will soon be over and all that will be left are memories. For the last four years, my life has revolved around Colgate and this small, unassuming town in Upstate New York. I’ve really defined my whole sense of self — who I am and what I do — by being at Colgate. Soon, my life will no longer revolve around Colgate and I’ll have to find something new for my life to be centered on. But leading up to that day less than two weeks from now when I officially become a Colgate alumni, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people whom I’ve met, the things that I’ve done, the places that I’ve been and the experiences that I’ve had as a Colgate student. What I’ve come to realize is how contingent my Colgate experience has been; if I had done just one thing differently, then where I am now as a soon-to-be alumni would be very different. 

There are things that I’ve done while at Colgate that have turned out to not be that important to me and I doubt I’ll think of them much when I remember my time here. One of those things was being a member of the Debate Society. Debate was very important to me as a first-year, but my interests changed and I stopped participating in it my sophomore year. This is nothing against the Debate Society, it’s a great organization, but it just ended up not being for me in the long run and it was far from the cornerstone of my college experience. If I had to do it all over again, however, I would still sign up for the club in a heartbeat because I ended up meeting my best friends through it. My current roommate and I met on the debate team our first year and if I had not joined I don’t know if we would have ever become friends. I probably wouldn’t be living in the house that I live in now and I wouldn’t have the friend group that I have. 

Interestingly enough, my roommate and several of my other friends whom I met through debate all ended up joining the same fraternity. Being in the same fraternity solidified our group, and I can’t imagine how differently that would’ve turned out had just one of us joined another fraternity instead. Like the Debate Society, my fraternity ended up being relatively unimportant to me in the long run. Most of my friends have disaffiliated, and while I’m still technically a member, I’ve had little involvement with it in the last year and a half. But given a second chance, I wouldn’t have joined any other organization. If I had ended up anywhere else, I wouldn’t have the friends whom I have and the type of person who I am now would probably be very different.

What I’m trying to get at is that there’s a lot of things that we do in college that aren’t that valuable to us in and of themselves, but they end up leading to something that is. That would be my advice to soon-to-be first-years: you don’t have to view everything that you do in college as an end in itself. So if there’s something that even mildly interests you, do it. It may not end up being for you and it may not be what defines your college experience, but it could lead to something that is or people who will end up becoming your best friends. This is a lesson that I will certainly apply for the rest of my life. I know that not every job that I have, person that I meet, or trip I take is going to be important in and of itself, but they could lead to things that are and that’s why they aren’t a waste of time. Not everything that I did while at Colgate was something that I really liked. It wasn’t all fun, but at the end of the day, I’m glad how my Colgate experience turned out and if I could do it again, I wouldn’t do anything differently.