Vice Presidential Reflection: In the Middle of Somewhere

During first-year orientation, I never would have imagined that I would be writing this today. Yet, here I am. Anyone could have written this commentary piece for the last edition of this year’s Maroon-News.  I just happened to be the one who ran for Vice President of the Class of 2014, so that’s why I was asked to comment on the “State of the ‘Gate.” But anyone else could have run, and anyone else could have very well been elected over me, and almost any of the other 700+ people in the senior class could have been asked to write this. I have come to believe that nothing is ever actually a “waste of time” and hence my decision to write the following.

I love Colgate, even on days when it doesn’t fully love me back. Even when it is cold as hell frozen over, there are still so many things that can make me realize how truly lucky I am to be here. Whether it’s talking to Patty in the library caf?e on a weekday morning or catching a snowflake on my tongue in the midst of one of the many blizzards we’ve somehow survived or looking up at a starry night on a walk back from downtown, there is still so much beauty here! That being said, it doesn’t mean I have absolutely loved every moment of my time here. Just like when you love a person, you come to recognize certain faults and shortcomings, and oftentimes, there can be a very thin line between love and hate. So even though many of us love Colgate, there’s still a good amount about it that should rightly be hated. Why is it considered okay here to disrespect people (often the opposite gender), or to make fun of someone on Yik Yak or to ignore the copious amounts of privilege that exist all around us? These are just a few of the things I hate about Colgate, but instead of pretending that the problem doesn’t exist, we can do small acts each day to combat the things that we hate. How, you might ask? Let’s combat hate with love. Let’s not only give the “Colgate hello” to people but actually be respectful of everyone here – not just the students and professors, but EVERYONE. Including, but not limited to, everyone who works at Frank, the Coop, Slices, everyone who takes care of all parts of campus such as the dorms, the academic buildings and the libraries (and special shout-out to the kind souls who are on-call 24 hours during Finals Week for us students to camp out in Club Case).

And not only can we try to bring back the “Colgate hello,” but we can go further and start a tradition of more overall Colgate kindness. Yay for DoRAK, but who says kindness has to be random? Kindness should be conscious and deliberate. Everyday at Shongum Elementary School in New Jersey, all of the students would say the “Shongum Pledge” which ended with “follow the golden rule during my days at Shongum School and through my life ahead.” I’m not sure what everyone else learned back when they were in elementary school, but it should be human nature to treat others how you would like to be treated! I don’t agree with the people who say that our four years at Colgate aren’t real life, because they were and are real. This is real life, so we should act like it because every action has an equal and opposite reaction (thank you, Sir Isaac Newton). Unless I’ve been dreaming this whole time, someone please pinch me and at least wake me up before it’s all over! Of course, I feel a lot of emotions when I think about graduating and realizing that the future is so uncertain and open-ended, but I’ve realized something comforting about this place: Colgate isn’t merely four years of my life, but it will now and forever be a part of all of our lives.

And the funny thing is, we could have been anywhere else these past few years. We could have been at a state school, we could have been traveling the world, we could have been working at our local movie theater popping popcorn. Or we could have been home, which can be “many places all at once” (from Wald, a Wondertale, which restored my faith in the liberal arts). These past few years I have made a home at Colgate, and I can’t confidently imagine that all of our peers who have spent their first few years post-high school would be willing to say that they found a new home for themselves. So with that, thank you Colgate and to everyone who makes up the greater Colgate community, for I think I can speak on behalf of many of us when I say that we will always be forever grateful to consider this little patch of Central New York in the middle of somewhere a home.

Contact Lindsey Skerker at [email protected].