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April 8, 2011   This past week, I saw a lot of alumni!

Last weekend, I went to a comedy show where all of the comedians graduated from Hamilton!  I thought it was pretty cool that you could graduate from Hamilton and end up making people laugh for a living.  The comedians remarked on everything from strange people on the subway (which most Hamilton students don't know too much about), to streaking  the quad (which a lot of Hamilton students know a lot about).   Little did I know, these folks were just the beginning of a week full of awesome Hamilton grads.

A couple days after the comedy show I went to the Chinese Department Senior Panel, which is where recent graduates give advice to graduating Chinese majors, and graduating Chinese majors give advice to us younger Chinese students.  One graduate was getting her master's from Johns Hopkins while also doing journalism in China.  Another had already started his own business... and he only graduated last year!  And yet another was teaching English in rural China somewhere (which is something I might want to do, you guys!).

Then the professors went up to give advice.  I only understood some of what they said, but I heard a few key bits of wisdom: One professor said, "Listen more, speak more, and practice more!"  My favorite was, "Love Chinese!"  The seniors also had some nice things to say.  I think my friend Will gave the best advice: "When you're in China, talk to cab drivers.  You won't be able to understand what they're saying, so just say, 'ah.'"  Speaking of cool alums, Will is going to work for the Associated Colleges in China program after he graduates, which is the super intense study abroad program that most all Hamilton Chinese concentrators attend.  Hooray Will!

Then yesterday, I went to a talk given by alumnus Juan Valdez.  He talked about the linguistic self-image of Dominicans, which I didn't know too much about, but it was still a very interesting talk.  It was also really cool that, even though he graduated almost twenty years ago, some of his favorite professors came to the discussion.  His linguistics professor Bonnie Urciuoli was extraordinarily proud to introduce her old student, and at the end of his talk, Dr. Valdez thanked her and a couple other professors for how much they helped him during his time here.

And that kind of relationship, to me, is just as cool as owning a business in China or working as a professional funny person.  Because Hamilton isn't just a place where you get your degree, get a job, and get out.  It's a place where a professor and student will still remember each other after nearly two decades, and where recent graduates will come back just to give advice to current students.  In short, Hamilton is home.  Even after you graduate.

This entry's Shout Out goes to Ashley Place, for working so hard on the Housing Lotteries.  Go Ashley!