As My College Days Draw to a Close…

Selina Koller

There are three very important things inhibiting my fluid and competent writing of this editor’s column right now: 1) I am three episodes short of finishing all of “Breaking Bad,” 2) I’ve just opened a new bottle of wine. 3) I don’t care if anyone even reads this.

I’m serving as Executive Editor of this newspaper, but I have no misconceptions about the interests of the Colgate student body. On the contrary, I have spent the last four years realizing how disinterested the majority of students are about things that do not include schoolwork and certain choice activities. I grew up in a town where drinking and other illicit activities were the norm because there was nothing better to do, so I should have quickly seen what I was getting myself into at Colgate.

But the truth is, I really didn’t care about these preoccupations for the majority of my time here. I enjoyed the social scene as an underclassman, but I think I was also too aloof to realize I could be enjoying myself more and taking advantage of everything this campus has to offer. But I’m now nearing the end of my senior spring and wish I had done more while here, instead of just resigning myself to my monotonous routine.

I was never, and am not now, in a position to make any judgments about anyone, nor am I particularly qualified to give any advice. However, I’ve spent enough time here to realize the potential that Colgate has to be an infinitely more dynamic and engaging environment.

Students should be able to have it all. We’re all here because we have proven ourselves qualified to handle Colgate’s rigorous academics and well-rounded enough to contribute outside of the classroom.

We should be able to easily juggle schoolwork, extracurriculars, a social scene and whatever other activities or commitments we may have. Colgate is known for requiring a lot of work, but I shouldn’t want to avoid the library at all costs because it’s too much of a hotbed of stress and anxiety. Obviously students here want to do well academically, but the environment shouldn’t be such that it seems academic success will only come once a certain penance is paid in the form of hours at a cubicle.

I think this perpetuates a feeling that academics are the first and foremost priority. I, for one, had the illusion that I was at college for the academics and ultimately to get a job, and everything else was secondary. I wish I had given more priority to things I could do just because I felt like doing them, like attending a comedy show at Donovan’s, going to Syracuse for a random dinner or even sitting down to read the Maroon-Newsevery week, without first giving thought to whether my workload could allow it.

I’m not trying to recommend people stop doing their work or anything – we are certainly investing enough time and money that we should be getting a first-rate education, and I do think Colgate does and will continue to provide that. But I don’t think Colgate students should need to sacrifice, and often miss out on, so much for a good grade and ample r?esum?e.

For me personally, by the time I was a junior and senior, I was so burnt out that I’ve only just now realized how much I missed out on. I had focused so completely on doing everything right – doing well and being engaged in my classes, getting involved with enough extra-curriculars to boost my r?esum?e, going out often enough to enjoy the social scene and cultivating the type of strong, lifelong friendships my parents have from their college years.

But now I’m a senior and I realize there’s so much I haven’t done. I’ve never been to an a cappella concert and I only went to Dancefest once. I never used the obscure bowling alley in the gym. I never went to watch a game at the bar at Rusch’s, even though I always wanted to. I also realize now that there are dozens of seniors with whom I have never interacted or, to be honest, even laid eyes on.

Moreover, I wish I actually cared whether or not people read this newspaper or even find it marginally interesting. I’ve certainly spent enough time writing for and editing it that I really should care, especially since I genuinely enjoyed it all. It seems I’ve been driven to a point where anything that won’t bring me something tangible in the future – whether it may be a job, friends on whom I can rely or a plethora of other things – fell through the cracks of my attention.

I wish I didn’t have these regrets, but I hope that maybe you’ll consider doing things just because you want to, or because it seems interesting or whatever other reason you may have for doing it. Four years isn’t as long as it seems, and, despite the fact that we’re in Hamilton, N.Y., there really is so much to do and see here that doesn’t involve a textbook or the bottom of a liquor bottle. We really are so lucky to be here, and I hope you all don’t wait until senior spring to realize that.

Contact Selina Koller at [email protected]