To begin with a clich?e: I have learned a lot of things during my time at Colgate. I have learned how to read Chaucer, and I have learned how to make art; I have learned how to rescue a car from a snowbank, and I have learned that making a toga is far more difficult than one would think. Most importantly, though, I have learned the value of time.
As a die-hard New Yorker, I had an unusually difficult transition to Colgate; although Hamilton is likely foreign to anyone who didn’t grow up in cow country, it is especially so to someone used to tolerable weather, reliable public transportation and 24-hour sushi joints. I felt trapped, and my social life suffered equally; I simply couldn’t understand the people who partied every night, people who were seemingly happy to be here. For two long years, I just wasn’t feeling the love that Colgate is so known for. It is only in retrospect that I know why.
By not taking advantage of what Colgate has to offer, I turned it into a personal wasteland. Thinking it had little to offer, I was counting the days until graduation – that is, until my junior year. It was not until my junior year that I finally began to understand what Colgate was all about. I began to take advantage of all the social and intellectual opportunities here, and I went from biding my time until graduation to wishing my time here would never end.
Though I’d like to think I managed to cram four years of college into my final two, I can only wonder, with wistfulness, what I would not have missed out on if I had made the most of my time from the moment of my arrival on campus. Like all bittersweet experiences, though, I can at least say that I learned from this one; I learned to never delay living because of adverse situations or unhappiness, a lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. As I begin graduate school in the fall, I will keep in mind my wasted first days at Colgate and make sure not to repeat my mistakes. Though a difficult lesson to learn, it was a valuable one; I only regret that I had to learn it here, at a place with so much to offer and where I must spend so little time.
First-years, I offer the same tired advice as other seniors, but I urge you to heed it well: don’t delay. Join clubs, play sports, work your very hardest both inside the classroom and out. Savor your social life. Don’t think your time at Colgate won’t come to an end; though the four years ahead of you now feel like forever, they will be over all too soon.
Contact Alanna Weissman at [email protected]