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New Summer Series: 2021 Grad Updates

Now featuring freshman year impressions: get a sense of what student life is like at various colleges.

First up: Hamilton College, in Clinton NY:

Nikki Greenberg

First Year Experience at Hamilton

The first week at Hamilton felt remarkably close to summer camp. A class-wide game of tag kicked off orientation, and then we were split into orientation groups of ten students and two upperclassman leaders. We played bonding games and activities in the Glen (a trail in the woods) for the days leading up to our orientation trip. Eventually, I was on a bus with eleven strangers heading into the Adirondacks to canoe for three days. By the end of the trip, I learned more about these people than I imagined was possible, and I found some of my closest friends at Hamilton. The camp-like feeling at Hamilton does not disappear after orientation. Walks through the Glen, social events outdoors, spikeball, snowball fights, and somehow seeing everyone you know everywhere at all times were all characteristic of the school throughout even the coldest weeks in upstate New York.

My courses at Hamilton were challenging but more engaging than any classes I had taken before. Coursework at Hamilton is writing intensive regardless of your discipline; as I wrote a paper for my literature class, my roommate wrote a paper for chemistry. But small classes meant that all of my work received meaningful feedback, and I could see myself improve over just one year. Within the first two weeks of the semester, I ran into my professors on campus and they all knew my name without even trying. Professors truly get to know their students and their interests. For instance, when Taylor Swift dropped a new music video, my linguistics professor changed his lecture to teach the week’s topic using that video because he heard my friends and I discussing it.

The tight-knit community and quality of education at Hamilton became clear within weeks, and the combination made my first year truly exceptional.


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