Colgate has treated me well. Even though I will admit that perhaps I am somewhat blinded by the tint of nostalgia, all I can remember from my first year is a jumble of wonderful new experiences with new friends in an exciting new home. I was so excited to return to school the following summer that I felt like Harry Potter waiting to go back to Hogwarts.
At its best, Colgate can be a collegiate paradise. Classes are challenging but rewarding, opening your mind to previously unheard of ideas and changing how you view the world. More often than not, professors are friendly mentors who take a genuine interest in both your academic and personal development.
Although Colgate can be attacked for its perceived lack of diversity or hegemonic whiteness, for a guy who went to high school in suburban Denver, the school is a portal to multicultural and international perspectives to which I had never been exposed.
Participating in Brothers and Interfaith life made sure of this. Speaking of these groups, it’s extremely important to mention to role of communities during my time here. I believe that it was the communities that I joined that really made me feel as though I had a place at this school.
Those two groups, combined with The Maroon-News and the rowing team, gave me strong feelings of belonging that I do not know if I will ever feel again. There’s something about living, studying, training and partying with the same people that bonds one so tightly to one’s peers. This is especially true in a small, isolated place like Colgate where people are pretty much forced to be with each other for a semester at a time.
Last but not least, the setting of Central New York is inseparable from the essence of Colgate. Before coming here, I had spent only a very limited amount of time on the East Coast. I had never lived here long enough to get an idea of its differences from the West. It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain. Everything is so much older and has so much history. Especially in CNY, families and communities have lived in locations for generations, giving each town and region their own unique character. This area of the country is so often forgotten by the rest of the country because of its decline in population and economic relevance. Because of this, it feels like I’m privy to some secret that few others understand. The mountains of the Adirondacks, the rolling hills of fiery leaves in autumn and the old wooden mansions of Utica … these things create such a distinctive sense of place and unmistakable atmosphere which guarantee that I will never forget how it feels to live in CNY.
No one would ever say that Colgate is perfect, and just as it can be one of the most wonderful places, it can also be the most trying. But when I look back at my four years at this place, only wonderful things spring to my mind. Bad stuff happens, but that’s just because nowhere is perfect. What’s important is that Colgate has taught me more about love, loss, hardship and success than I ever could have anticipated that it would, and for that I will forever be grateful.