The Colgate Scene
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|by John D. Hubbard|
"You have this four years to rise and fall, to find new ways of expression, to
find new people shaping you and you shaping them," said Boryana Vladimirova
Zamanova on a perfect morning just before graduating first in her class.
It is a rank she had maintained since her first year when she arrived at Colgate, and in America, from Stara Zagora, Bulgaria -- an industrial town known as the city of poets and straight streets.
As valedictorian, Boryana graduated with a four-year grade point average of 4.07 with high honors in German and honors in economics.
"I'm very proud I got high honors in German -- I put a lot of myself into it. I can't believe I was able to write 35 pages in German straight from my head, thinking in German."
Boryana's thesis was on puppets and puppeteers as a "metaphor for the way man is in an age defined by technology." Her economics thesis dealt with the privatization of social security systems, particularly in the United Kingdom, Australia and Chile, in "an attempt to make some kind of forecast of what should be done in this country."
Zamanova graduated from a first-rate high school where the teachers had "a passion for English" and "everything was thought of at a high level." She knew of Colgate through Jana Dimitrova '98.
"In general, I needed an adventure. I needed to pack my bags and go. And this adventure has changed me. I've become older, way more independent and able to judge independently. I'm a much stronger person than I was."
That independent strength was evident when Boryana spoke out this spring, first in a presidential meeting with Alumni Scholars and then in a letter to the Maroon-News, in which she decried the lack of intellectual challenge at Colgate.
"College is predominately about developing your mind," said Boryana the day before commencement weekend exercises began. Despite a desire to have learned more, she recognized the vital role of life outside the classroom.
Boryana has been involved with the international students group, where she found, "a great sense of community among a small group with the same experiences of transition."
An early interest in international relations prompted Boryana to attend several model United Nations conferences.
"I learned how to be confident in public. They say Colgate people manage to convince the public they know what they are talking about even when they aren't really sure."
In addition to involvement with student government and writing poetry for Portfolio (inspired by the straight streets of home?), Boryana worked 20 hours a week in the computer center as a lab administrator, "thinking how to improve student computing and make others' lives easier."
Boryana has taken a job with Deloitte and Touche in New York over offers for investment banking and sales and trading.
"I thought management consulting was most flexible and welcoming for someone who isn't sure how narrow she can go in these first two years.
"My dream job would be editor of The New Yorker. Writing fulfills me most."
Boryana's parents -- her father teaches robotics and her mother is an economist with the heart of a theater critic -- made their first trip to Colgate and this country for graduation.
"America has made me way more optimistic," said Boryana. "Here you feel your future is in your control. The American dream of freedom is alive."
Like so many classmates, Boryana was ready to leave Colgate but grateful she came. "I met so many amazing people. I am leaving with 10 friends who will stay with me and I value my relationships with my professors. Every year at Colgate added a color to my palette. I feel ready to invent challenges for myself and able to face anything."
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