It didn’t hit me while I was driving up to Colgate from Connecticut, the scenery becoming increasingly beautiful as I neared Hamilton. It didn’t hit me while I was lugging my things up the four flights of stairs to my room in East Hall, the sweat dripping into my eyes, making me painfully aware of the lack of air conditioning. It didn’t hit me while my parents were helping me organize desks, beds and dressers, struggling to fit three people’s worth of furniture into a room no bigger than mine at home. It didn’t even hit me when my parents drove away, leaving me behind on the asphalt outside my dorm, my mom’s hand hanging out the sunroof, waving at me. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my room, half-unpacked boxes laying haphazardly on the beds and the floor, that it finally hit me: this is my home now. I do not get to go back to Connecticut tomorrow and live the life of a high-schooler; I must stay here and do my best to embrace my new life as a first-year at Colgate.
My biggest fear coming to Colgate was that I wouldn’t fit in. I would be the girl who recluses in her room and only comes out for classes. It took all of a few nights for me to be proven wrong, and though the first night was tough – especially since I had no roommates as a result of arriving to campus early – you can trust me that things quickly began to improve. If you’re worried about meeting people, I highly recommend finding a club or activity that aligns with your interests. I pursued my interest in writing by joining The Maroon-News pre-orientation program. Since I still didn’t have roommates to keep me company on the second night, I slept in a different dorm with friends I met at pre-orientation. The fastest and most effective way to battle loneliness and kick-start your social life at Colgate is to get as involved as possible; there are a multitude of extracurricular activities listed on the Clubs and Organizations page of the school website.
There were two things that instantly set Colgate apart from the small town in which I’d spent my first 18 years of life: the daunting independence and the welcomed diversity. During high school, it always seemed that there was someone looking over my shoulder; every move I made was met with scrutiny, and that scrutiny often felt suffocating to me. During my first night in my dorm, however, no one came knocking on my door with an arsenal of questions, and I was able to come and go as I pleased. That being said, my Community Leader was only a walk away if I needed her. It was a refreshing change from high school, one I’m sure many of you will relish in as much as I do.
By my second night at Colgate, I had already met students from all reaches of the United States, from New York to Florida to California. I also got to meet a handful of international students, coming from countries such as China, Singapore and Macedonia. I soon discovered, using the ever-helpful Colgate Website, that Colgate has become home to students from 72 different countries, and I assume that over the next four years I will meet an incredible number of people who come from all over the world.
Though things may seem scary at first, hang in there. Try to put yourself out there, and remain confident! Most importantly, don’t forget that every first-year is most likely feeling the same anxieties as you (I know I was), and in time you will realize that you had absolutely nothing to worry about. Good luck, fellow first-years; I look forward to spending my years at Colgate with you.