I lived only five hours away, but it quite honestly felt like a million. Police sirens, roaring crowds, speeding traffic, bright lights, big city; that is what I had grown to love. When I thought about Colgate, I thought of small-town living: big farms, bigger tractors, middle-of-nowhere. Different would not even begin to describe it.

Growing up in Toronto, Canada, a city of 2.93 million, taught me that I would never see the same person twice. Imagine my reaction when I discovered that both Colgate and Hamilton each housed around 4,000 people. I would have to get used to seeing the same people pretty quickly.

Hamilton’s size left me just as uneasy. In a city of 243.3 square miles, I always had entertainment at my fingertips. When reading about the two and a half square miles listed on Wikipedia, only one thought emerged in my head: “Won’t I be bored?”

The College Confidential and Unigo rabbit holes I delved into only furthered my doubts. Anonymous submissions like “...there are a number of students that appear as though they’ve walked out of a JCrew catalogue...horribly preppy...fraternities rule the social scene…” did not help.

Only when I first arrived on campus did these preconceptions start to melt away. Though the smell wafting from the farms felt jarring, the greenery and feeling of peace seemed just as overwhelming. I noticed myself soon agreeing with my mother, who had exclaimed,“It’s so beautiful here!”

I found myself equally as unprepared for the cheery colors of downtown Hamilton. Small, yes, but it possessed a charm even I could not ignore.

My visit to the university truly threw me for a loop. I obediently followed my tour guide around until she abruptly stopped and dabbed at a friend that stood below the hill. I died a little on the inside, but it had been the first time I considered the fact that actually knowing and recognizing the people around may be something that I would like to get used to.

Even now, walking down the halls of Jane Pinchin, I have to consciously remind myself to smile and say hello. But the clear sense of community that runs through Colgate’s veins has rid me of my misconceptions and convinced me that I made the right choice.

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