The Thirteen Reasons Why I Chose Colgate

Alena Maiolo

As my first year at Colgate kicks off, I’ve decided to reflect on the reasons why I came here. Choosing where to spend some of the most formative years of your life is no simple task, and for all the anxiety that comes along with starting this new chapter of my life, the best remedy, in my experience, is to remember what drew me here. In no particular order, here are the top 13 reasons why I decided to attend Colgate University.

1. The Campus: Ranked one of the most beautiful college campuses in America, Colgate University has a sprawling campus, measuring over 500 acres. At first, I was intimidated by the steep hills and the plethora of green space, something with which I am not accustomed to in my suburb 213 miles south of here. My first day here on campus, however, ended with a view of the warm, golden sun setting over Lawrence Hall. In that moment, I felt at peace knowing that I would be able to learn and feel at home here. 

2. The Pictures: Not only does our campus appear beautiful in publications, it is a great location for an amateur photographer, like myself, to craft her skill. Our aesthetically pleasing campus functions as the model for my photos, and it seems as though there is a picturesque scene that must be captured everywhere I look.

3. The Traditions: I value tradition and learned that from my family. To us, traditions bring people together and unite a community, no matter how small. For example, on Christmas Eve, my Italian aunt cooks the classic Seven Fish Dinner, started by some of the first Italian Americans. This tradition is a bonding moment for my family that connects us to our Italian American heritage. My favorite Colgate tradition is the number 13. From the story of the college’s founding to the university’s address, the number 13 surrounds many aspects of Colgate life. I graduated from middle school in 2013 and feel an instant connection with this tradition, and no one can tell me it is just a coincidence that the bill at my favorite pizza place almost always comes to a total of $13.10.   

4. The History: I am fascinated with history of any kind, especially the legends and history of Colgate. When I first toured Colgate’s campus, I entered the Ho Science Center, weary from walking up one of Colgate’s many hills. As we walked farther into the building, the tour guide told our tour group the story of Colgate’s acquisition of a 75 million-year-old dinosaur egg. In addition, Colgate is approaching its bicentennial. I can’t wait to be a part of the celebration of 200 years of Colgate history. Colgate is a treasure trove of historic myths, mysteries,and truths, and learning all of them will be part of the fun of my four years here.   

5. The Small Town Vibe: I am from Eastchester, NY, a suburb about 30 minutes north of New York City. Although suburbs are thought to be small, quiet communities, my hometown is crowded with people, who are often in a rush. Hamilton’s quaintness and serenity appealed to me as a retreat  from the infamous “hustle and bustle” of New York City. After helping me move in, my family and I wandered our way through Hamilton’s small downtown. We were charmed by the brick architecture and the easy-going employees at the Colgate Bookstore. The lack of traffic and population density was a pleasant change from the shopping malls and busybodies of my suburban home.   

6. The Intellectual Exploration: Despite the requirements of the Core Curriculum, Colgate has given me academic freedom to explore different areas that I might never have studied. For example, this semester, I will be taking an astronomy class — a course I never thought I would take in college. I am looking forward to expanding my intellectual horizons and discovering new possibilities. 

7. The Professors: A Colgate alumnus, who teaches English at my high school, told me the story of his favorite professor here. This professor inspired him to become an English teacher and helped him find his calling. I hope to meet professors who will  move me in that way, shape the person I will become and guide me to the life I will lead beyond Colgate.   

8. The Unlimited Meal Plan: Compared to other colleges I applied to, the Colgate Unlimited Meal Plan reigns supreme: eat anything you want whenever you want. I have eaten a different flavor of ice cream each day this week, and I am excited to try the famous Ed Burgers and curly fries. The Freshman 15 will be real. 

9. The Clubs: Colgate University boasts over 200 clubs, which is a significant amount for a school with just under 3,000 students. Being a member of The Colgate Maroon-News this week exceeded my expectations. I met people with a similar passion for writing and made great friends. 

10. The Sports: In high school, I played sports mostly for fun, but the Division 1 athletic program here take sports to a whole new level. I look forward to attending football games and the highly anticipated Colgate versus Cornell hockey game. 

11. The Travel Opportunities: After returning home from a three-week trip to Italy, I knew that I wanted to study abroad in college. The differences between American and Italian history, people, language and culture have inspired me to learn more about other countries. Colgate offers a myriad of affordable travel opportunities. From Australia to Santa Fe, the world is a Raider’s oyster.  

12. The Alumni: At a dinner for the scholars program at my high school, a Colgate alumnae approached me. She talked to me for about 30 minutes, describing in detail the highlights of her Colgate experience. As the night came to a close, she handed me her business card and offered me the opportunity to intern with her next summer. The alumni connection at Colgate is strong, and I can’t wait to meet more Raiders.    

13. The People: I saved the best reason for last. As soon as I stepped foot on campus for the first time, I was nervous, as many high school seniors visiting a new place might be. The friendly tour guides and students I met on my visit quickly calmed my nerves. They answered my questions eloquently, elaborated — on how they structured their schedules and gladly explained the Core Curriculum to me until I understood it, which was at least four times. I genuinely connected with the people here and knew that I would be able to make friends.

Contact Alena Maiolo at [email protected]