“Hey, don’t I follow you on Instagram?” In 2014, on a crisp fall day, I stopped a girl in my ART 105 section outside of the library. For a few months now—since finding each other on the early admitted students Facebook page—we had been sending likes each other’s way, despite never having exchanged a word.
She enthusiastically responded: “Yes! Your name is Hannah, right?”
I followed up in a similar manner, reluctant to display my cyber-stalking tendencies. “Yeah, you’re Kelly, no?” From there, we exchanged numbers and made plans to study the ART 105 monuments list. What started as meeting up to decipher a Van Dyck from a Raphael advanced to sitting in the Retreat and splitting a peanut-butter-chip Nilda cookie together. Quickly, I realized that the people I had met—and was going to meet—at Vassar were special.
And that’s what has made my time here so remarkable: the relationships I’ve formed with professors, friends, coaches, and additional mentors on this campus. The Vassar community has both nurtured and pushed me to do better—to be a better friend, an increasingly engaged student, and a stronger athlete on and off the court. While those who know me would say
that I am an incredibly hard worker, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today—four years after matriculating—if it weren’t for the amazing support systems I’ve found at the College.
From the moment I stepped foot on this campus, I felt the warmth of this community. As a prospective student, my host placed a blanket on me after watching me shiver in my sleep, the night that I stayed on a yoga mat in her closet-sized double in Jewett. But, at the same time, my experience here has not been all bright. Vassar is hard, no matter where you’re from. Classes can be tough and everyone here is incredibly talented—which fosters a richer, yet simultaneously a more challenging-to-navigate environment.
Sometimes I wonder how my experience here would have been shaped differently, if I had carried the courage I held my freshman fall into my later years. What if I had approached more people in the Deece, after class, or in Main and asked them if they wanted to meet up?
Though, at the same time, I am incredibly proud to be walking out of Vassar with the friends and mentors I know. And while I may be leaving Vassar now, I’m without a doubt carrying many of the meaningful parts of my college experience onwards.