Last weekend, I experienced the interesting transition of going in and out of the Colgate bubble. Leaving for a weekend, I expected to miss out on some things, but getting out for three days made me realize how insular we really are here.
Don’t get me wrong, I love going to school in a small town. I love seeing people I know everywhere I go and I love that our town has just a few streets. But at times I definitely get restless and feel the need to get out. When I planned this trip, I thought of it as a great break from the repetition that often plagues my weeks. And it most definitely was. It was amazing to see different friends, see a different city and see a different scene than the one we have here in Hamilton. Coming back, I felt refreshed as if the weekend had actually been a break.
During tour guide training, one of the selling points they brought up was that Colgate students are here and invested in campus events every weekend. We go to a school where people want to be here–yes, we may go to school in the middle of nowhere, but we do not want to leave. I completely buy into this for the most part. I would hate going somewhere where friends are constantly going home on the weekends. However, I do think it is important to get off campus occasionally.
Colgate offers ample opportunities to do this. Through various clubs or classes, it is so easy to get a trip completely paid for by Colgate. However, as I realized, it is not easy to just pick up and leave. No matter when you go, you will be missing things. This is one of the best parts about our school–there is always something going on. However, if you wait for the perfect opportunity to leave, it will never come. So yes, you may miss things, but you may find something more valuable.
These chances to get off campus can expose you to new things and allow you to get to know new people. For example, last year, I traveled with the Maroon-News to Austin, Texas for a weekend to go to a journalism conference. Not only did I learn a ton of things that I never could have in Hamilton, but traveling and exploring a city with people who I previously did not know well was an incredible experience. Similarly, a class trip to New York City helped me form bonds with people who later became my closest friends.
Yet, coming back is a little weird. For me, I felt a step behind for a while, and it took some time to get back in sync with my friends. But this made me realize how valuable getting away can be. I sometimes feel as if it’s more or less the same routine every weekend, and I share so many experiences with those closest to me. With all the advantages going to school in a small town offers, it also makes it so easy to find your comfort zone and stay there. However, these experiences have shown me how important it is to break out and just do your own thing sometimes. Sure, I missed out on some things on campus. But every crazy, out-there or unusual experience makes you grow as a person, and this is so much more important than any campus event.