Student Spotlight: Rachel @ Colgate University

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Meet Rachel, a junior Educational Studies major at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. She previously attended Columbia High School in West Columbia, Texas.

What factors were most important when you decided to go to your school?

I wanted to attend a small liberal arts school. Academics were very important to me, but I didn't know what I wanted to major in, so I didn't want a school that was specialized for a certain area or field. Colgate appealed to me because it fulfilled these categories but also has D1 athletics and a lively social scene. It wasn't too far from home, but wasn't too close either. I also wanted to go to a school with a campus, not one where students were spread out all across a city.

In high school, I wish I could have...

Tried to gain a better grasp of global issues.

How would you characterize your school?

Mainstream, Greek, and Apolitical.

How would you characterize your group of friends?

Racially diverse.

What types of clubs, activities, sports, jobs, etc are you involved with on campus?

Colgate Jewish Union. The Network: aims to raise awareness about issues of sexual and domestic violence on campus and across the globe. Lounge: a monthly event that offers an alternative to the usual Greek-dominated party scene where students perform songs, poetry, spoken word, and other talents, and display their art. Sisters of the Round Table: a feminist club that aims to foster a space for conversations about gender, race, and specifically women of color). Anti-Racism Coalition.

Three things you won't read in your school's brochure
  1. Your professors are incredibly valuable. As much as you might want to brush it off when they encourage you to attend office hours, don't. Some of the most valuable relationships I've formed at college are with my professors. Plus, at a small school, you can get really close with them, and they will eventually invite you and your friends or classmates over for home-cooked meals and write you recommendations!

  2. If you've done your research, you might realize that Colgate has been in the news often due to a variety of social movements on campus throughout the past year. Many students and faculty members are working to make it a more inclusive institution, but at the moment, it is a very homogeneous community. It is a very difficult adjustment for almost any student to make who didn't grow up in a town where everyone wore Vineyard Vines and boat shoes.

  3. Go to brown bags! The women's studies center, the Alana cultural center, and other places on campus have weekly lectures. Not only can you grab a free lunch if you don't have a meal plan, but you're always guaranteed to learn something new, and maybe even make a new friend. Especially for people who might not learn about something like women's studies in the classes you take because of your major, they're a great opportunity to think about different important topics and global issues.

Best on-campus event

My favorite event this year was Africana Women's Week, hosted by Sisters of the Round Table. It happens every spring, and there are always incredible speakers that come to campus. This year, Janet Mock, the famous author of Redefining Realness, spoke, as well as Favianna Rodriguez, an incredible social justice artist, and Aja Monet, an exceptionally talented poet and activist. It was inspiring and fun.

Favorite class

I've had so many that I love… but probably Challenges of Modernity.

Favorite dining hall meal

The Frank omelet station, especially when the salad bar has avocados and I can make avocado toast to go with my eggs.

Favorite place to eat out around campus

La Iguana.

How did you spend your last summer?

I did an internship with a teacher from my high school, where I worked with him on research about the impact of family involvement on student performance in an academic program called Bridge to Success. It was unpaid, so I also did a lot of babysitting.

On weekends, students...

Kick it on campus.

It’s 3am on a Saturday. What are you doing?

There's a good chance I'm in my bed… but otherwise, probably at Bunche House. It's the social justice interest house that a lot of my friends lived in this year, and I'm living in next semester. They had a lot of really fun inclusive parties. I'm not really into frat parties, so it was a much better option in my opinion.

It’s finals week and the libraries are packed. Where do you go to study?

This year I started going to the Cooley Science Library, even though I haven't taken a single science class. A few of my friends worked there, so there was always someone to chat with if I was taking a break for my work and needed a distraction.

Before I graduate, I want to…

Learn more about myself, and continue to fight to make Colgate a more inclusive campus for all students.

Colgate University

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