Senior Reflections By Michael LeClair
Coming into Colgate, I was absolutely terrified. This was a whole new experience; gone were all of the friends that I had made over the prior 18 years, my high school friend group scattered at colleges across New York. Eventually, however, I settled in and found my niche at Colgate. And then I decided to take myself out of my comfort zone again so I shipped off to London. Alumni always talk about the importance of going abroad - those who do it say it changed their lives, and those who don't always seem to regret it. For me, spending a semester in London was the most transformational experience of my life. Obviously, being in a new country forces you to engage in a very different culture - that's a given. But more importantly, being so far removed from home takes the independence that I gained upon going to college and multiplied it by about 1,000.
The experiences that I had while in London and on my trips through Europe are incomparable to anything else in my life. The thrill of celebrating with the Arsenal supporters after Aaron Ramsey scored the game-winning goal against Manchester United, embracing people who I had never met and with whom I was united merely by a love of the same football club, venturing to Malta on a whim to spend a weekend under the Mediterranean sun, drinking with an Indian-Irish couple in their 60s in Athens- these are things that I will never be able to properly experience again. By taking in these experiences either by myself or with friends, I had to break through any fear of the unknown that I may have had. When you're in Hamilton for four years, you begin to forget the unknown. You generally know most of the people in your class, you know the businesses in town and you get comfortable in your life here. Those moments of sheer terror that you had in your first few months become nothing more than a distant memory of a younger you who didn't understand what fun they had ahead of them, and you feel like your time here will never come to an end.
But, sadly, you can't stay at Colgate forever, and everyday that we get closer to graduation makes that reality more, well, real. The past few months have been filled with the stress of serious final papers and a job search that is far from fruitful. As far as my life is concerned, not only is the future unknown, but something as simple as where I'll be living four weeks from now is a massive question mark. But you know what? That's alright. Because of my time spent abroad and the friends that I have made while at Colgate, the uncertain future ahead of me is far less terrifying than it otherwise would be. I know how to navigate the unknown, and I have learned how to thrive in the strangest of environments. But, most importantly, the friends that I have made over the past four years, friends that I will have for life, will forever keep me connected to the familiarity of Colgate. When you have a place that becomes as much like home as Colgate, no matter how scared you were when you got here, you know that the world outside of our little bubble is yours to conquer.
Contact Michael LeClair at email@example.com.
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