- Class: Senior
- Major: Philosophy
- Gender: F
- High School: Kent Denver School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about Colgate is that it fosters the ability to excel in academic and extracurricular events. Never would I have thought I would do honors in Philosophy, do independent research in geography or become an EMT to volunteer for the local ambulance corps. But that's the thing about Colgate- it's such a supportive environment with so many opportunities in class and out of class. I love the professors, and they really love teaching undergraduate students. We're always encouraged to go to office hours and talk with our professors about course material or broader topics. Many of my professors have invited me over for dinner-whether it be an invitation for the entire class, or an advisor extending a home-cooked meal to a student, professor-student interaction is a normal thing on campus. Students feel like professors really care about them, their level of achievement in the classroom, and their future. I think Colgate is a great size. I wanted the liberal arts college feel, and I definitely get that from my small classes, and close interactions with professors. But I didn't want to live in a bubble, and Colgate always has a lot happening: lectures, events, music concerts, theater performances, religious events, social causes, student club events, athletic events at all levels, a thriving community, etc. I feel like I am getting the best education possible while still enjoying myself outside of the classroom. We also just built a new science center that is beautiful and has state of the art facilities, and we also have newly renovated library. These centers on campus make me feel like I am at a larger university because I have the resources to do research and work with professors in all departments. The core liberal arts curriculum (4 courses) exposes students to several disciplines, and the classes are taught by professors in all fields which is a great system. So if you love history, you can take your Scientific Core Perspective class with a history professor. I took my core Culture class on The Iroquois Nation with a Religion and Native American Studies professor, and it was so interesting. The background field of the professor will give you a different perspective on the material than the same class with a different professor. And everyone says you fill the distribution requirements without trying, and they are not lying. Colgate students want to try a psych class or take a geology class and before you know it, you've fulfilled the 6 requirements (2 natural sciences, 2 humanities, 2 social sciences). Hamilton is a small town but has a lot happening. There are a bunch of places to eat, a couple delis, pizza places, coffee shops, italian restaurant, sushi, chinese food, and a couple nicer places. There is a movie theater, two grocery stores, and a small organic food store too. Farmers' Market takes place on the village green on Saturdays for the spring, summer, and fall. There are bars in town frequented by upperclassmen. The Colgate Bookstore is also located downtown. Students and the town have a good relationship, and there is a lot of interaction. Students support the local businesses, and students interact with town members through various community organization, service groups, and even service-learning in Utica and Syracuse. Since downtown Hamilton is walking distance from Colgate, and there is a shuttle bus that goes all over campus and downtown, Colgate and Hamilton blend together. Seniors have the option to live of campus, and so that adds to the interaction as well. Hamilton is a small town, but it is a fun town. If you feel the need to get out--which you will at some point, you can go to New Hartford which is about a half hour away or Syracuse with is about 45 minutes away for malls, more people, more familiar places to eat, better grocery stores, Target, etc. I like Colgate's administration and am friendly with many of the deans through various activities including the ambulance corps which has two deans as members. Several students feel that the administration is frustrating, but I don't feel this way. Maybe this is because I am not on student government and have not had to work with administrators on difficult of controversial issues. The dean of first year students is incredible, and Colgate's first-year orientation program is outstanding thanks to her. Upperclassmen "links" serve as liaisons between freshmen and Colgate and help first years get plugged into campus life and academic life. I generally feel like the administration is trying to work with students and meet students needs. It's hard to see major change because students are only here for four years and the administration sometimes forgets that taking three years to implement a new initiative is almost as long as a class cycle through Colgate. Students sometimes grumble about their difficulties with the administration. There is school pride, especially for Hockey games, but I wish there were more. I visited a friend at a large, football-oriented university, and it was a really different feel. Some students do not attend football games or any sporting events. Since we are small, we don't get huge crowds. But, with hockey, Colgate students go all out. We line up hours in advance for our free tickets, everyone goes to the games or watches them on TV. Cornell is our biggest rival, they throw Toothpaste at us and we throw Big Red back and it's a blast. I think one thing that is unusual about Colgate is its extended study program. Extended studies are three week trips connected to one or two classes. After the semester, everyone in the class goes to the area of study. My best out-of-class experience was definitely my extended study to IRELAND that I took in the spring of my junior year. Sponsored by the English department, the extended study was connected to two classes: Ancient Irish Literature and Contemporary Irish Poetry. After the spring semester, about 20 of us went to Ireland. We started out in Dublin and then made our way to Sligo, Galway, and Killarney. We spent most of our days going to ancient sites, and we walked around tombs that pre-dated the pyramids. It was really great to have read literature about the places we saw because it gave them greater significance to us, and the two professors were fun to travel and study with.
Professors definitely know your name. Even in my biggest class of 60 students for into to Physics, my professor still new the names of students. I have had lots of favorite classes. In the spring of my junior year, I took a research seminar in Philosophy with 5 other students. The class met 1-2 times a week. Every other week, we read a philosopherÕs paper pertaining to Friedrich Nietzsche and some other area of philosophy, then the philosopher would come to campus the following week and present their paper to the department. After the lecture, the six of us were able to discuss research, ask questions, and even argue with the philosopher. The course quickly became one of my favorites because it was such a small class so we were all able to interact with each other, the professor, and the guest-philosopher. Reading so many papers really helped me get a sense of how to organize an academic paper which has helped me as I write my honors thesis in Philosophy. Our professor even provided sushi for every meeting we had with the guest-philosopher. We all have intellectual conversations outside of class because we like learning, but we are not dorks. We don't sit around and talk about what we are learning all day, but it's common for friends to talk about what they are learning in class or get into heated political conversations over dinner. I think the type of student who is drawn to Colgate is the type that likes to be engaged and is interested in learning, and so having intellectual conversations just kind of happens on its own from time to time. Students study quite a bit. There are definitely students who do not study as much but they will suffer for it. Most students do work every day, and the libraries are pretty full when midterms come along. Since students are typically in class 3 hours a day (not including labs which might meet once a week for 3-4 hours), students have the rest of the day to study and can take breaks and relax and study again after dinner. Science majors have lab which can add a lot to the work load depending on the class. Thankfully, students are not cut-throat competitive. The best illustration of this is that when I took Organic Chemistry, we would order pizza and do reaction diagrams with other friends in the class. Most students want to do well for themselves and they do not feel like another student's success affects their success. This is also true in lab-- lab partners will help other lab groups that are stuck on something they don't understand. My philosophy classes have all involved individual learning and so there has not been much group interaction or competition. I will say that if someone finds a helpful book that clarifies an issue discussed in class or could be useful for a paper, it's common to get an email from a student saying, "Hey class, I found this book and thought it would be helpful..." The philosophy department is close-knit and fun. It's common to see great student-student and student-professor interactions in all departments, and this is especially visible in the smaller departments like Philosophy. I know just about all the professors--even ones I have never had in class--from attending sponsored lectures and Philosophy barbecues. I have spent time with professors out of class by participating in extracurricular activities with them, baby-sitting their children, and by working on independent projects. Some family friends have thought my being a philosophy major is not conducive to getting a job, but I definitely think they are wrong. Colgate's education is not geared toward getting you a specific job (that's what our career services can do for you), it's about getting a learning critical reasoning and writing skills, and getting a liberal arts education that you can apply to any career path. Of course there are students who get to Colgate and study a specific field because they know that they want to go to get an advanced degree in that field. But most students are somewhat undecided, and it's common to see people from all different majors going into different career paths. Career services has an amazing network of alumni and employers and can help you get jobs, summer internships, and interviews. They can also set you up to shadow an alumnus in any given field, and it's quite common for internships to come out of those interactions. Colgate is all about the alumni network.
The Best Things
Great education, amazing professors, a lot going on, and always a blast.
The Worst Things
It's cold, bring a coat and you'll survive!