The Moments in Between

Sara Steinfeld

Since this semester began, I’ve been thinking about what I would say in this reflection. I’ve started drafts and deleted them, written down topic ideas in the Notes on my phone, and I thought myself to be relatively well prepared to bang out an 800-word summary that would eloquently describe my time here at Colgate. So, naturally, when it came time to actually sit down and write, I had no idea what to say.

I quickly realized that no matter how well I organized my thoughts beforehand, there was no way that I could even begin to talk about the impact that Colgate has had on me. So, in a desperate last-minute attempt to throw together a coherent piece, I started thinking back to my first year here, walking into my Curtis double and realizing that I would have to share this barely-bigger-than-the-school-issued-closet sized room with another person (who, in case you were wondering, turned out to be the most incredible first-year roommate I could have ever possibly asked for, so shout out to you, Ellie), sitting down on the admittedly nasty mattress and thinking, “This is it. This is my life for the next four years. So, where do I start?”

With that in mind, I did what any impressionable first-year in my situation probably did: I took a good hard look at that cheesy “101 Things To Do Before You Graduate” poster that they gave us in those scratchy yellow canvas bags during orientation. (Do they still give those out? Can we get a fact-checker up in here?) Needless to say, in the years since I first looked at that poster, it must have decided to take a permanent field trip and spread its inspirational words to other curious

students (read: I lost it and anyone who knows me obviously wouldn’t be surprised to hear me say that), but there are still a few things I remember from that list. There was “have a first kiss with someone on Willow Path” (nope, didn’t do that, but I did fall asleep on it once, if that counts); there was “shake it on stage or in your seat at Dancefest” (I did BOTH of those things, thank you very much); and there was “attend Holi, Indian festival of colors” (they forgot to mention “get colored powder stuck in your teeth, ears and hair for the next two weeks,” but I’ll forgive them for that oversight).

These suggestions were all nice and Colgate-y, and I definitely remember hanging the poster on the inside of my closet door and checking off each achievement as I conquered it, but, in retrospect, I didn’t really need to do that. Sure, doing as many classic Colgate things as possible in our allotted time here is important. While I would never knock the unique character of this school and the activities that it provides for its students, there are so many things that I got out of my time here that, while Colgate didn’t provide them exclusively, I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else.

I sat at Frank brunch on Saturday and dinner on Sunday for hours on end with the same group of people at what we deemed “our table” every week freshman year without fail. I procrastinated writing my research papers so hard that I frequently napped on the yellow chairs on the second floor of Case before I realized that that floor was really meant for seniors writing their theses. I joined a sorority against my initial judgment and met the best group of girls in the world (not to mention, of course, the greatest family in existence, though I could be biased).

I became a part of the student newspaper, and on my first day got a lecture on how the Commentary section worked from a boy in pants tighter than mine. I could tell instantly that no matter how much working on this paper might drive me insane sometimes, there was no better group of people to share my insanity with. I made friends on the first day of Orientation that are still with me today, and I could never imagine my Colgate experience without them. We came up with nicknames, lost our dignity, shame and sometimes teeth, bruised ourselves repeatedly and inexplicably, rolled around on the floor, shared our lives with each other and made Colgate our own, and I would never ask for anything less than our shenanigans these past four years.

So, what are we supposed to do before we graduate? Study? Go to school-sponsored events? Sure, go ahead, do those things. But when you do, stop and think about every moment in between, because those are the ones that you’ll really carry with you for the rest of your lives.

Contact Sara Steinfeld at [email protected]