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From Brand New to Fully Connected – The First-Year Experience

By Julia Klein '19 on January 1, 2016

When I was looking at colleges a year ago or so, small liberal arts schools always talked about the feeling of community. This was something that I sought after in my college experience, and thankfully at Colgate, the community cliché is not just a line.

The transition to college can be daunting. If you haven’t gone through it yet, you’ll know what I’m talking about soon. My two biggest apprehensions going into this year were making true friends, the right people to surround myself with, and getting involved on campus. To my surprise, those were the two easiest parts of my transition at Colgate.


From the first day I stepped on campus, my Link, an older peer leader, and my First-Year Seminar (FSEM) group, 17 other students in one of my first semester classes, became family. Together, we were integrated into the campus community through creative activities and eye-opening discussions that linked and encouraged us to be open to diversity and honest about our opinions.

Even apart from FSEM bonding, orientation provides the first-year students with so much time to get to know one another. The ice cream socials, with endless amounts of Colgate-favorite Raider Passion ice cream from nearby Gilligan’s, and competitive dorm events give the students something further to bond on right from the get-go. By the time that it’s all over, you are likely to have found a few good friends.


From the start of school, attending sporting events, cheering on the Raiders with friends and getting decked out in maroon and white, has been a great way to spend my Saturdays. Who would’ve thought that bonding with other students through sports would be something that I, the least interested sports fan ever, would come to love? It’s a testament to how being part of a tight-knit community drives the students closer to each other.

And the activities fair, which extends onto the entire academic quad, is where I was able to learn about Colgate’s extensive programs and clubs. That tends to happen when you put your name on 30 or so lists like I did. Colgate has given me the opportunity to pursue interests I didn’t even know I had – who knew that I’d soon DJ a radio show or become a board member of the Challah for Hunger club? For that, I have the eager upperclassmen to thank. I remember hearing on my visit how excited they get for the new class to arrive, but the activities fair is a clear sign of the thrill.

My first semester at Colgate was amazing, and I couldn’t have asked for a better community to share it with – one I know I’ll get even closer with as the years go on.

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