BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Private boarding school in Connecticut with a graduating class of about 100 students. I’m from outside of Boston. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minors: Spanish and International Relations double minor
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on the club equestrian team and I’m in a sorority.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Both of them have been pretty significant. Equestrian was good because I’ve been doing it forever and when I came in it was a good way to meet people and continue doing what I love. Then joining a sorority was great. You rush sophomore fall here so it was nice to already have a base and then meet so many more people. My pledge class is about 60 girls so it was a whole new group to meet. We also met a lot of people outside of my sorority but affiliated with Greek life as well.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I’m in my senior spring so it’s a little bit less work this semester. I have one weekly seminar that meets for about two hours. Before this semester, it was pretty much a midterm and a final exam for every class and about five or six problem sets throughout the semester.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
In Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, they have a tutor for each of the classes you can meet with. There is a mandatory meeting time where you go and they help you with your problem sets. It’s really, really helpful because the tutors know what’s happening in the class because a lot of the times we’re confused. As you get higher up, there are not specific tutors for those classes but there’s always free tutoring.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s as competitive as you make it. We’re a lot more supportive of each other and are taking different classes, like none of my friends have the same majors and minors as my so it’s hard to compete with them. I’m sure other people feel differently, but for me, my friends and I are always in the library together and have found a really good balance of being in the library and doing social things.
How accessible are your professors?
It depends. Most of them are very accessible. Professors have to have office hours that you can walk into but some of them are really busy during those times while others you can just walk into and nobody else is there. Also, if you can’t make their office hours, you can just email them and they’ll pretty much always set up a time to meet with you.
Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I definitely do. I’m taking a Peace and Conflict Studies class right now, which is not my minor, and it’s a lot more people-oriented whereas my International Relations classes are more based on the professor. People are open to whatever I’m saying and usually the classes are very participation-based – usually about 20% of your grade – so you have to talk in class and you’re getting everyone’s perspective. The professors are also usually really open to what everyone’s saying.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for Economics?
Growth and Distribution because it took a lot of different ways of measuring growth in different countries that I’d never even thought of. One of them was to look at the country from a satellite in space to see how many lights are on in the country. In Africa, this is really helpful because you could see how in some countries there were a lot more lights on than others but it was less helpful in the United States because most places have electricity.
How is managing both equestrian and your coursework?
It isn’t bad. We practice twice a week and compete about eight times a year, so it’s not like I was on the D1 schedule which is good because I didn’t want that. I never had to cancel riding to do schoolwork. Maybe I had to stay in the library an extra hour late, but I’ve never pulled an all-nighter doing homework, which most of my friends think is crazy. I value my sleep and think it just comes down to time management.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m really happy with my choice. I didn’t know what I wanted to do coming into Colgate. I thought I wanted to do international business and continue with Spanish from high school, so I thought I would do Spanish and Economics because we don’t have a business major since we’re a liberal arts school. I think it’s given me a really good base. I’m going into consulting and it was really helpful for looking at case studies and things like that. It’s been more applicable than I thought it would be. Employers also understand that liberal arts does not mean business and some of them actually value it more.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Stillman Hall with one roommate.
Sophomore: In the townhouses. Most townhouses have 16 people but ours was smaller so there was only eight of us. It was really nice to just have eight of us because it was less hectic. My year was different because there were renovations so about half of the sophomores lived in the townhouses. It was really nice to have everyone there before people went abroad for junior year.
Junior: I was abroad in the fall and then lived in my sorority house. I had one roommate but there are 40 of us in the house.
Senior: Off-campus in a house downtown and there are eight of us. I have my own room.
What was your favorite living situation?
That’s really hard because they were also different and nice. This year it’s really nice to have my own room and it’s nice to be off campus and not have to deal with the restrictions of being on campus. Living in the sorority house was really nice after coming back from being abroad because it was fun to be with everybody. Freshman year was probably my least favorite but it was still great. I haven’t had a bad living situation, and I don’t’ know if that’s unique, but it’s been really, really good.
How was transitioning from living outside of Boston to Hamilton, NY?
It wasn’t bad. I wanted to be in a suburban area. I’m from the suburbs as well as a boarding school that was really structured so we couldn’t leave. I think I had an easier transition than most coming from boarding school. I knew that I wanted to go to school in the middle of nowhere because I like that everybody here is affiliated with Colgate. Here, everyone’s excited when they hear you go to Colgate and want to know what year you are.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve never had any sort of problem. I walk around alone at night. It’s very safe. The school is hyperaware of anybody who doesn’t seem like they should be in Hamilton and we’ll get notifications about it. We have the blue light system but I’ve never heard of anybody using it. When I lived in the townhouses, which is in the opposite direction of where everyone goes out, the Campus Police and Hamilton Police would sometimes give us rides back. That’s where I’ve had the most interaction with police, just them offering to give you a ride or being nice rather them needing to do anything.
Pros and cons of being located in Hamilton, NY?
Pros: (1) When it’s spring we’re all outside and in such good moods.
(2) Everybody here is affiliated with Colgate so you don’t have to worry about pretty much anything because everyone knows where you’re going and what you’re doing.
(3) Because it’s so small, you see your professors everywhere, which can be weird. I’ll see them at restaurants, which is kind of weird but can also be nice because you form a different type of relationship with them.
(4) Because there’s not much to do in the town, it keeps everybody on campus.
Cons: (1) The variety of restaurants is very slim.
(2) Getting here is tough. My drive is four and a half hours and is boring. It was really pretty the first two years but now it’s just boring.
(3) The winter is not fun but we make the best of it. Right now, it’s like 45 degrees and I’m sitting outside in a t-shirt, it’s just what you get used to.
(4) There’s not a lot to do in the immediate town. If you want to go bowling, it’s like a 30-minute drive.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Colgate?
Most of it consists of drinking, that is the majority. Sometimes the school puts on events that are kind of fun, like one time we went roller skating in the hockey rink. I don’t do that many concrete things, it’s just a lot of hanging out with friends, drinking, and socializing.
What nights of the week do you like to go out?
There are a lot of nights that we go out. The biggest nights are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but we’ll usually not go out one of those nights. Tuesdays and Sundays are the nights off which is a nice break. It’s a lot, but there are always people that aren’t going out unless it’s a Friday or Saturday.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s big. I see this with some of my friends who are freshmen, but if you’re not in Greek life it’s definitely harder to go out. There are open parties that are hosted by Greek life organizations that open up around midnight. In my sorority, we usually have two or three options to go to, like we’ll have a mixer and then want to go somewhere else. It’s definitely limited if you’re not in Greek life and I don’t know that much about what people who aren’t in Greek life do because most of my friends are in Greek life. [About one third of all students are involved in Greek life, but students cannot rush until sophomore year.]
How happy are you with the nightlife options at Colgate? Is there anything you would change if you could?
In general, I’m very happy. Saturday mornings we all wake up excited because every Saturday we have a big day party. There are some weeks where I don’t want to go to our mixer, but, honestly, we have really good options. On Fridays and Saturdays, we usually have two or three parties and there are usually really good options. Compared to other schools of similar sizes, people think it is really crazy how many places we can go in one night.
How did you meet your closest friends?
One of them was on the equestrian team with me. The rest of them lived in Stillman and our guy friends from Stillman are now all in one frat together. We’re still really, really close. We’re the closest freshman friend group that I know of. Some of the freshman dorms are closer than others so it really depends on the dorm.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s definitely a work hard play hard environment. Everybody that you see out you’re going to see in the library too. There are a lot of athletes that are also Economics majors so I see a lot of them in my classes. The going out scene is fairly exclusive in that people in Greek life and athletes can go places, and certain organizations can go some places while others can’t. With that being said, there is more going on that I just don’t know about.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
It’s definitely predominantly White and heterosexual, but I definitely know a lot of exceptions to that as well. I wouldn’t’ say that it’s frowned upon to be not White or not heterosexual, it’s just that the majority of the school defines that way. [About 22% of students are domestic students of color.]
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
In a way, you need to make an effort to make that happen. We just had an equestrian team formal and my date is in Greek life and he said he didn’t know anybody there. It depends on what other organizations you’re involved in. If you want to just hang out with Greek life people, you can definitely do that. But, if you want to mix and see other sides of campus, you can do that too but you have to try a bit harder.
How do you like the size of Colgate in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that impacted your experience? [Colgate has about 3,000 undergraduate students.]
I think it’s perfect because I always think that I know everyone and then I have a new class with all seniors and I don’t recognize have of the people in it. It’s a nice balance because I feel like I know a lot of people everywhere I go and see familiar faces, but there are also always new people to meet.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Colgate by the time they graduate? Do you think people leave loving Colgate?
Yes, the majority of people I know at this point are fighting tears every day thinking about graduating.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes, definitely. I’m working at [a large company] and they hired a lot of Colgate people from my class and the juniors for internships. I’ve talked to a bunch of people at [that large company] who went to Colgate. I also networked so much with Colgate alumni at other companies and they’re always willing to talk to you and they’re so friendly. I probably talked to 40 alumni between searching for an internship last year and getting a job this year.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They’ve been very helpful. I used them a few times for case studies for consulting, I did mock interviews, and you can do interviews there when companies come to campus. They’re really there for whatever you need them for. When it gets to crunch time when there are different deadlines they’re really busy but they’ll make time for you if you really need them. It’s as helpful as you want them to be, I know some people who go every week and some who never use it.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful professionally?
We used Excel a little bit and we did SAS and Stata in Econometrics. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro at any of them but it’s nice to get the basics down.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Colgate before entering as a freshman?
The least happy I’ve been at Colgate was my first semester and that’s mostly because I hadn’t found my people yet. You feel like freshman fall that it is the rest of your life and how it will be, but every year my social circle has changed and increased significantly. I wish I knew that the first month of freshman year isn’t all of college and that every year it would change and get better.
What’s something a prospective student interested in consulting may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
It’s really important to start early. They should go to the career center early on and start networking early because consulting is not a big thing coming from Colgate. The alumni that are in consulting are willing to talk to you because they’re not bombarded by people who want to go into consulting. It’s important to start early because you’re not getting the hard skills you need from class so start practicing the case interviews and start talking to people because that’s the only reason we’re not a core school for any of the consulting firms. You have to network and really try hard.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
When they walk you through the library on a tour they just walk you through the main information desk, but they should really walk you through the back part of the library. There is a part where you can see up all three stories that’s really cool. I spend so much time in the library so it was important to me that it was a nice building, and I think it is.
Reasons to attend Colgate:
1) The community is a reason to come.
2) The work hard play hard environment.
3) The campus is beautiful.
4) I feel like everyone here is kind of like me, which for some people is good and for others is bad. It’s really nice to be able to find so many similarities and mutual connections with people here.
Reasons to not attend Colgate:
1) It’s in the middle of nowhere.
2) It’s small. [Colgate has about 3,000 undergraduate students.]
3) The social scene is exclusive. There are mixers between Greek life organizations that other people aren’t allowed to go to. Also, they are cracking down on freshmen being able to go to Greek parties. Greek life is worried about risk and managing that risk, so they make it harder to get in so they know who’s there.