I remember being really sad to graduate high school and apprehensive about leaving behind my family, friends and the comforts of my home. I’d never been to sleep-away camp (my mom said she’d miss me too much) and had never been away for more than a few nights. Coming to Colgate, especially that first week before classes, was a daunting experience. This time, I’m not sad to leave Colgate. I’m ready.
I’m graduating Colgate with no regrets about how I spent my past four years here. With every class I’ve taken, mistake I’ve made and relationship I’ve developed, I’ve learned so much about myself, what I value in life and what I hope to share with others. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously. Work hard, be a good friend and remember to laugh at yourself. Never again will you have the opportunity to embrace so much without serious consequence. Try everything! Even if you are unsure or apprehensive, this is the best time to face your fears, grow and perhaps triumph. Did I ever think I would run a half marathon while I studied abroad? Or join a sorority I had no intention of joining, and grow to love it? There was also that time I thought I’d try studying Economics during my first year… From taking Calculus III (without the prerequisite Calculus I) to leaping off a ledge outside Cutten onto black ice and dealing with the uncontrollable bleeding (apologies, again, to the 2014 residents of 47 Lebanon Street), I’ve made some questionable decisions. I haven’t made the same mistakes again, though!
During my study abroad semester in spring 2015, I took a wrong turn on our 12-mile hike of Mt. Helvellyn in the English Lake District. I ended up lost and alone for over an hour as I wandered about three miles out of my way without any means of communication. Our tour guide thought I died and our group missed our bus back. But the view was stunning! And when we broke our oath of secrecy and told Professor Brice months later, I think she thought it was a pretty funny lesson that we all benefitted from.
One of my best friends I’ve made in Hamilton during these past few years has been my “adopted grandparent,” Ruth Hartshorne, a Colgate legend. She is 102 and consistently inspires me to fill each day with meaning. And because of Ruth, never again will I misuse the terms “alumni” and “alumnus.”
I remember when I first began looking at colleges, my parents reminded me that it’s important to choose a school not just for four years, but for life. So I’m not really leaving Colgate. I’m definitely going to miss the Village of Hamilton, Eatery salads, Trudy Fitness Center and my friends at Career Services, but I know I’ll always have a home here and that the Colgate connection is truly life-long. Colgate has so well prepared me for this new chapter as an alumna and I’m thankful for my time here. I’m off to new, unchartered territory of navigating the world as a recent grad who is still trying to figure out life… and that’s not daunting, but exciting. I’m ready and can’t wait for what’s to come.