Finding ‘Gate

Ben Antenore

I can still remember approaching my Link leader a few short weeks before October break, during my first year, and expressing to her just how much I was displeased with my experience at Colgate. I had texted her the previous night, likely while she was up to her neck in homework, and began explaining to her how Colgate wasn’t for me. “Let’s meet at the library café” was her response – she was probably perplexed as to why I was bugging her on a rainy Tuesday night in September, when campus was dead and the only thing on people’s minds was finishing their reading assignment. We met at the café early that next morning and, after enduring my diatribe, my Link leader replied simply that I wasn’t giving enough effort to Colgate, that I “was doing it wrong.” Since she couldn’t snap her fingers and magically solve my grievances with the school, our conversation ended fairly soon after that.

Fast forward almost exactly a year: a month into my sophomore year, I approached Dean Scott Brown during one of his “Office drop-in hours” to lament about my place at Colgate and, rant about how “poor” my Colgate experience had been up to that point. Things still didn’t seem to be clicking and I hadn’t done much to ameliorate the situation. Fraternity rush hadn’t worked out for me and I was certain now that I was really doomed to a miserable existence at Colgate. Dean Brown’s response was something remarkably similar to what my Link leader had said, that “I needed to ‘find my Colgate.’” Again, I was less than pleased with his response – why couldn’t Dean Brown snap his fingers and find me friends?

Although I fumed at Dean Brown’s cheesy response, some part of me took it to heart as I “rolled the dice” and joined The Maroon-News a little after our meeting. Several months later, I enrolled in the Washington D.C. Study Group led by the Political Science Department, again taking a risk to embark on a trip with people I didn’t know.

I can very happily say that both risks (if they can even be called that) worked out incredibly well. I’ve had an immensely rewarding time at The Maroon-News, covering things like the Sit-In in the Fall of 2014 and even getting to manage the news section after a year as a writer. I got to live out of a fantasy of having my own Spotlight team in a small Colgate sense – unfortunately, Mark Ruffalo or Rachel McAdams weren’t part of the team. D.C. similarly paid off, and it was an unforgettable experience. I made plenty of new friends and can say that our government is more similar to Veep than we’ve ever imagined.

My point is that I ventured only somewhat from my comfort zone and the results changed the way I thought about Colgate. I can honestly say that I’m graduating with fond memories of Colgate, and I will miss the friends and professors here. I think I’m finally “doing it right.”