The Colgate Scene
May 2006

A transformation

[Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Todd Mulligan '06 is a lot more confident today than he was four years ago. Although his sophomore year was a pivotal time, his personal growth wasn't the direct result of the sophomore-year experience program. Or was it?

"I wasn't really prepared for Colgate," said Mulligan, a sociology major who played football for four years. "Colgate was a mountain compared to high school. Fall semester my grades were terrible, and in the spring, without the structure of practices and games, I did even worse. I was very independent. I didn't know how to ask for help."

Lucky for Mulligan, he learned. Raj Bellani, dean of the sophomore-year experience, was his adviser, and the two began meeting at least twice a week.

"Raj worked with me on time management and communication skills. He guided me to talk to my professors more. In high school, you have teachers, but it's not an adult relationship. Here -- and in the world -- learning is more interaction-based. The biggest change was learning to ask what was expected of me."

Mulligan's grades improved and he became more engaged on campus. "I wasn't interested in `democracy' per se, but I came to appreciate Colgate, and the academics, and the alumni." He attended career-related events and networked on campus. Each small success led to another.

"Instead of expecting bad grades, by the second semester of my sophomore year, I went into assignments assuming I'd get a B+ or an A. Just thinking that way can change the outcome. Last semester, I had my hardest class ever. I visited Professor Regenspan every other week."

Mulligan's communication skills paid off at his job interviews. After graduation, he'll join Axa Advisors in Albany, thanks in part to Mark Hulbert '86, who opened the door for him there. He expects that his football days are over, but he's taking that in stride.

"There's a huge difference between a freshman and a junior," Mulligan reflected. "Sophomore year is when you get older."

Now that sounds like a page from the sophomore-year experience playbook.

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