Abby Hamilton: Reflecting On A Sweet Four Years


In her four years at Colgate University, senior Abby Hamilton, a double concentrator in history and classics, has found her place both within and outside of the University’s 553 acres. 

On campus, Hamilton is involved in three of Colgate’s distinguished dance groups: Colgate Ballet Company, the Colgate Dance Initiative and Shock, which she leads.

“[Shock] is Colgate’s non-audition dance group, so it’s all about [the idea that] anybody can dance. I always say if you can count to eight, you can dance,” Hamilton said. “It’s probably one of the things I’m saddest about saying goodbye to at Colgate, because [dance] has been such a lovely community. All the dance groups are student-run, so everyone cares; everyone is passionate!”

Off-campus, Hamilton works part-time at the notorious Flour and Salt bakery, waking up at the challenging time of 4:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays to stock the glass display cases with freshly baked pastries.

Some of Hamilton’s first and most cherished memories are in the kitchen with her parents and grandmother, who taught her from an early age how to love and appreciate food.

“I’ve grown up on a steady diet of Food Network,” Hamilton said. “I think there are two kinds of people: people who eat to live and people who live to eat.”

Naturally, Hamilton was glad to find a taste of home in Madison County.

“It’s always something I’ve loved; I’ve been eating [at Flour and Salt] for four years,” Hamilton said, who became an employee in August of 2022. “When I toured here on accepted students’ day, I thought, ‘that stands out.’”

Creating baked goods from scratch provides Hamilton with an innate satisfaction, which she finds unique to her experience with food.

“I’ve always loved — more than anything — baking something, and then knowing that someone’s eating it and enjoying it. It doesn’t feel like work; I wouldn’t wake up at 4:30 in the morning for anything else,” Hamilton said.

Flour and Salt, with its mismatched wooden furniture and bright windows, has become a sort of haven for Colgate students of all ages.

“It’s a wonderful place to work; it’s actually the nicest and most organized kitchen I’ve ever worked in,” Hamilton said. 

For Hamilton, like many other college seniors, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in what had been a “typical” start to her college life. But even in the midst of this, Hamilton was able to find the bright side. 

“I decided during my sophomore year that I wanted to [bake]; I wanted that to be my life. COVID-19 emphasized: do your joy, and for me, that’s pastry, not academia,” reflected Hamilton.

This doesn’t diminish the importance of an institution like Colgate, though. Instead, Hamilton asserts that the Colgate experience was integral to her realizing and achieving her dreams.

“I definitely wouldn’t have hit that path if I hadn’t done the college thing,” she said. 

But Hamilton isn’t leaving Colgate’s quaint college town just yet. She plans on staying for at least another year, and just signed a lease for a place in town.

“That’s going to be some ‘trial adulthood,'” mused Hamilton. “I’m excited to live on my own, and not with roommates or housemates or apartment-mates. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn, and continuing to grow.” 

As she nears this “trial adulthood,” Hamilton reflected on the people who most enabled and encouraged her growth.

“Friends [are] at the top for sure, my therapist — there’s no stigma about therapy, do it, it’s free for you to use, and it can really help you if you’re not feeling one hundred percent. The counseling center really helped; shout out to Kelsey [Mooney], she is fantastic! My boss at Flour and Salt, the owner, Britty [Buonocore], she’s been a huge positive impact for me this year,” Hamilton explained affectionately.

Looking back on her four years at Colgate, Hamilton has no shortage of wisdom to impart upon younger students. 

“I grinded — ground? — really hard my sophomore year and junior fall; I took five classes for three semesters […] so I could go abroad,” Hamilton said. “Go abroad if you can, it will be so amazing, it will be transformative.”

Despite the obvious difficulties of taking five classes per semester, Hamilton believes that this kind of concentrated work ethic can be highly rewarding come senior year. 

Hamilton advised, “Shoot for only three classes senior spring so you can cruise and adjust.”

But above all, Hamilton is adamant about the importance of seizing each day and taking advantage of the many opportunities Colgate has to offer. 

“Really try and take advantage of as much as you can. If there’s something you’re interested in or you’re passionate about, find the club, start the club, lead the club. You gotta give yourself grace and find spaces for the passion,” Hamilton said. 

As her senior year comes to a close, Hamilton is able to look back on four years well-spent; although she was not immune from the many trials and tribulations of college life, Hamilton is certain that, in the end, the grind was worth the payoff, and the rewards are well worth the wait.