Pierce Haley: On Performing and Finding Yourself

“It’s hard to be yourself, but the only way that you are going to find your people, and find the things that you love on campus that are going to be impactful is in being yourself, getting out of your comfort zone and not taking B.S. from other people,” senior Pierce Haley shared.

Haley’s word of advice for incoming Colgate University students came to him naturally in an interview with The Colgate Maroon-News, but he acknowledges that the path to really realizing these facts can be tough. 

“I think it’s a hard thing because Colgate can be a pretty suffocating place at times,” Haley said. “There are a lot of pressures to fit into a certain mold, and you really don’t have to. But it’s hard especially when you’re a first-year and there’s so much around you telling you to fit in. It honestly took me a really long time to find people that I enjoyed hanging out with, spending time with […] who appreciated being with me just as much as I appreciated being with them […] I think I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone and allow myself to unequivocally be myself while I was here to really find my place.” 

Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Haley is a political science concentrator and Spanish minor at Colgate. He’s also the Leader of the Colgate 13 a cappella group, a former member of Link Staff, a past participant in intramural sports, a former member of College Democrats and has worked as a lifeguard. Above all else, Haley loves performing whenever possible.

“Singing with people is a great way to get to know people and bond with them, so I’ve really enjoyed that. Performing on campus also is really awesome,” Haley said. “It just allows me to do something I love and get myself out of my comfort zone a little bit. I think when there’s musical events — open mics, band performances, what have you — it’s the best version of Colgate. I love seeing the explosion of bands on campus this past semester.”

Besides various other opportunities to perform, Haley’s main gig is being a part of the Colgate 13. He loves that it brings together people from all areas of campus and allows them all to travel and perform together; it’s been an integral part of his Colgate journey. 

“I came into Colgate definitely knowing I wanted to sing — my mom went here and she sang a capella when she was here — and it was the thing I immediately knew I wanted to get involved in. I was trying to get into contact with the leader of the group at the time, ask when auditions would be, all that stuff. Everything else was kind of something I found on my own, but singing a cappella was always on my radar,” Haley explained.

As for the future for Haley, he’s really excited about going back to his summer camp this summer for his 11th year where there will be minimal stress and people he loves. After that, he’s off to teach English in Madrid. Haley reflected that going abroad in Madrid massively impacted his Colgate experience and obviously inspired this choice. 

“I needed to get off campus for a little while and enjoy the outside world. It was so incredible and I will go to the grave saying that everyone has to go abroad during their Colgate experience. It’s such a life-changing experience and not really something you’ll be able to do at another time in your life with such a low level of stress,” Haley said. “I started learning Spanish in 6th grade but never really took it seriously before I came to Colgate. But the Spanish department here is so great. I’ve done creative writing workshops in the department and I’m involved in the Spanish Honors Society, and going abroad was really when I honed in on really trying to get it down. I’m not fluent, there’s still some stuff I’m working on, but I’m very comfortable with the language now.”

Take a lesson from Haley and go try something new. You’ll never know what means the most to you until you try it.