Emily Park '98
It's up to students of all races and all backgrounds to move into other peoples' territory and to find out what they are about. That's the key to finding diversity. It's about crossing over lines. If you're going to stay behind your own lines, colleges can try as they might but the diversity is lost.
One of the things that happens inevitably is that you sit in the lounge and talk about the world. People are not talking about what happened in today's class, but you've got the knowledge from class and when you talk to your friends it's coming through. You are forming opinions, learning how to argue, backing up your points. It's using what you learned in class to become an adult.
Colgate has surpassed what I expected academically. It was a big transition and I didn't expect to be as challenged in what I was asked to think about. I felt like I was growing less smart by the day. The amount of time you're putting in, you feel it should be taking you somewhere. My father told me it was doing exactly what it was supposed to do.
The whole academic experience in college breaks down your comfort zone. What it's doing for me is stripping off all my illusions about the subjects I am learning, about the world that I live in. It's taking down the walls. If a school can give you a realistic picture of where you are living and how you get along there and what you can do with yourself in the world you live in, I think that's beneficial.
Colgate people get this loyalty. You start thinking about the pleasure that you've had here and the people you've known, and even visual memories. The image becomes idyllic as you age. Colgate people have a sense of tradition and of the people who paved the way for them. It's a continually rewritten book. You just add your page to it.
Hui Cheng '99
English is my second language technically, but I think of it as my first. I've forgotten a lot of Chinese, so I'm taking it now. In 1997 I'm going to Nanjing, China on a study group with Yufan Hao.
After a week or so in Chinese class we started talking to each other and found that we all had the same time free, so we started eating lunch together. We've become really good friends. Sometimes Professor Hao joins us. Over lunch we find ourselves arguing over the meaning of the Bible, or Socrates. General education does that to you. We all have different teachers and we all developed personal views about the deeper meaning of things.
If you go talk to professors they know you by name. Every professor I've had has called on me in class. At bigger schools that's not going to happen. During orientation Professor Nevison took us through Hamilton to look at old houses, and then to his house for lemonade.
General education is a great experience. We read the Odyssey, The Apology, the Five Dialogues by Plato, and Professor Kraynak pointed out the deepest stuff, things that I would never have seen if I'd read it by myself.
I play volleyball and I'm in the Korean Student Association and the Asian Awareness Coalition. My classmates and I started the Chinese Interest Association. We plan to do a lot next year with movies and speakers. I'll be living in Asia Interest House next fall. In my dorm there is a girl from Hong Kong, a girl from Saudi Arabia, a guy from Hawaii; we're from all over the world. I've made a lot of friends.
The academics have been challenging but it's good to be challenged; you won't learn anything if you breeze through. High school is a different kind of thought process. High school teachers prepare you for a higher level of learning; here the faculty are giving you information you can use for the rest of your life.
Daria Hirsch '97
Fall semester I was on a study group in Venice. In August we had a crash course in Italian. After a couple of weeks I could carry on a conversation.
We lived in an apartment about 100 feet from San Marco Square. The whole city is your classroom. The academic focus was a classics program with Professor Ferlito. Our archaeology professor was from Rome. He led us on his personal tour of Rome and took us to his excavation site at the Forum. I had never taken an art history course before, never taken an archaeology class. It gives you a different perspective.
Study groups were part of what attracted me to Colgate. I love Europe and found the idea of going abroad and living there so appealing. Colgate has a study group for just about anything you would want to do, for any major.
I never realized until I went to Venice how much work it was to set up a whole program in a foreign country for 15 students. It's an incredible amount of work for the faculty member.
I've always liked to write. I wrote for my high school paper but I wanted to do it on a more serious level. The first week I was here they had a meeting for anybody who wanted to work on the newspaper. I wrote a practice article and two or three other articles and they liked my writing. I went to the office and the editor gave me an article to edit. He said it was a test! I wrote the article and got a position the next year.
I love being at the paper -- I love the atmosphere. It has definitely been the most important thing I've done at Colgate. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I came here and now I know journalism is what I want to do with my life.
I like the people aspect of the newspaper best. Some of the best people I know at Colgate are people I met at the newspaper.
Mike Lanford '97
Out of high school I thought as an undergraduate I'd get a well-rounded education and a firm grounding in the humanities and really understand what is going on in music and the arts. I didn't want to go into a conservatory right away.
So I went to a college where I thought I would get this dual academic-type situation and it turned out to be more of a conservatory. I had to petition the music department to take a class in Shakespeare. I only got to take one academic class, so I started looking for more of a liberal arts college.
Naturally it's difficult to transfer. Coming in at midyear was a little odd at first, just because everybody is already going about their own business. It's a natural thing, not troublesome. I was so busy myself, anyway. It's a good growing experience because you learn to feel comfortable with people.
People ask me: "Why didn't you go to Juilliard or Oberlin or New England?" I tell them whatever you do in music you have to teach. Even if you are a great performer you end up teaching, so you need a good education. I am less interested in playing with a symphony orchestra and more interested in teaching music, exploring music, writing about music, writing music itself. I wanted to understand what was going on in music, not just play the notes, so to speak.
Here I've found what I had hoped to find. As a pianist I have a great teacher in Vivien Harvey Slater. I have plenty of opportunities to perform all the time with chamber music and the orchestra. I get to study composition one-on-one with Dexter Morrill, so there is actually more of a chance for me to work in all the areas of music I am interested in, plus get the literature classes and other classes in science and math that interest me.
Kari Nielsen '99
I'm involved in club sports and I had a huge course load last semester. Still I felt like something was missing and I decided to take basic acting this semester. I thought I might as well do what I really love, and that is theater and art. I was a science kid in high school, but I was always really involved in theater. Next year I'm taking introduction to drama as well as advanced acting/basic directing.
Everybody told me how easy the core was. It's not easy with Professor Maurer. She is one of the best teachers I've ever had. At first I hated the course because it required me to think so intensely about the reading we were doing. Now I can't read anything without going into its deeper meanings.
Professor Maurer demands a lot, which is good unless you totally don't want to work and then it will make your life pretty much hellish. The best thing is to just dive into the material and concentrate and think. The payoff is that you will never read anything and take it for granted again. You will always question what you read and you will realize that it is not always necessary to come to a definite conclusion.
My freshman seminar was a killer: ecology and the quality of the environment with Professor Novak. We were in the library a lot doing research. He made it so we had to be familiar with the library by the time we were done.
Outside of class I spend anywhere from three hours to sometimes 12 or 15 hours a day on my work. I may be trying to balance heavy reading, learning lines and learning Russian. On a big project, especially where art is concerned, I may underestimate the time it is going to take me to finish. But when I do finish I feel a great sense of accomplishment.
My favorite teacher in high school graduated from Colgate and he suggested I look at the college.
Noah Wintroub '98
You don't have to be at a big school. You can be a lot of everything here. I felt that Colgate would be what I made of it and I decided to make it in the student government and the social services.
I'm on the campus committee on planning and physical resources. If there is something that you want to bring up and change, that's the place to do it. I'm also head of the student affairs board in the student senate. Academic affairs board is my most challenging committee -- there are faculty, administrators and five students. If students want to get things done they can.
I took five courses this semester. It's a lot of work. I had 15 papers, but I've done really well in all of them. I've pulled a lot of all-nighters. There is a great balance between working and socializing. If you do one thing you can't do as much of the other. I just don't watch TV. I go do my work instead. Don't get the picture that all I do is study, but studying obviously comes first.
A student body of 2700 is a perfect size. You don't see the same people every day but you get to know a lot of people and develop really strong relationships.
Everybody here has a serious agenda academically. They want to do well but they also want to have a good time, make the best friends of their lives and come out being a well-rounded person. I feel that with my Colgate education I will be able to do whatever I want.
I live with four other guys, one a farmer from Upstate New York, one from Arizona, one from California, and one from New Jersey. We have a lot of geographic diversity and my friends all have very different interests.