In preparation for writing this column, I opened my iCal to determine if there were any recent events I felt compelled to review or upcoming commitments that deserved comment. I was greeted by a cluster of green, blue, purple and red boxes, all of which designated those time slots as booked. Each of those colored rectangles represented an activity that required my attendance. Very few slots remained white. Confronted with this onslaught of commitments, I initially felt a surge of panic. How could I be so busy? When would I find the time to do my actual homework? See my friends? Maybe even sleep?
This struggle is not particular to me, but instead is a universal trial that all Colgate students consistently experience. As a tour guide, prospective students and their overly anxious parents often ask me, “How would you describe Colgate students in one word?” After considering the generic responses (motivated, academic, friendly, social), I decided on the truth. Without hesitation, I tell tours that Colgate students are “busy.” While this statement may carry a negative connotation, I do not see it that way. Instead, that word conveys to me that Colgate students possess all the attributes I mentioned earlier. Because we are motivated, academic, friendly and social, we rarely have any free time. We fill our days with film screenings, club meetings, brown bags, athletic practices, coffee catch-up dates, jobs and gym workouts. And let’s not forget those hours we spend in classes.
Of course, given the hectic nature of our days, the logical thing to do would be to catch as much sleep as possible. But Colgate students apply the same go-getter attitude to going out as we do to our daytime activities, completing our “work hard-play hard” mentality. And although tearing up the dance floor with best friends maybe isn’t as intellectually enriching as voluntarily attending a lecture about the ethical issues inherent in filming a documentary about Brazilian religious clans, it is equally as important and fulfilling. We’re so riled up from our busy days, we need an outlet to blow off some steam. I am proud to tell that to parents and prospective students because it illustrates our commitment to this school.
We all make choices as independent college students, and Colgate students choose to make the most of our time here because we recognize the incredible opportunities this institution offers and that the duration in which we can take advantage of them is limited. Not leaving any hour to waste, Colgate students soak up the unique knowledge professors and guest speakers offer, develop our leadership skills as officers in the multiple clubs and teams we’re involved in and rally to have fun with our friends at night (both on weekdays and weekends). If this packed schedule means that I’ll have to spend more money on coffee in the library cafe, well I’d consider it worth every penny.
So next time I open my iCal while yawning and experience a mild panic attack when frantically searching for any inch of white space, I will instead be proud of my commitments, knowing that I chose the right way to spend my four years here.