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Nicolas Keller Sarmiento Photograph

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Lessons learned outside the classrom

February 4, 2011   

Here at Hamilton College, life has a very hasty pace. You can see it out the window: students briskly hustling through the snow going from class to class. We’ve only been here for a few weeks, and schedules are already packed.

As I look out to the dozens of busy students, I realize that I’m normally one of them. Just like many other students here, I have a very serious condition: I can never say ‘no’.

Every time I read emails about groups coming to campus or special lectures, I try my very best to attend. Besides being an RA and a Spanish TA, I am also a head usher at Wellin performances, an editor for a column in “The Spectator” (our weekly newspaper), a Hamiltone, the president of my class, and I play IM soccer and volleyball. I juggle all that along with four classes and my new interdisciplinary major. Yes, it’s a lot, but I manage.

Last semester I was voted Student Assembly Vice President by the student body. I was thrilled. This was a unique opportunity to have an incredibly prominent role on campus. I spent a lot of the summer looking forward to my new position alongside current Student Assembly President, Knute Gailor ’13.

When I got to Hamilton and the weeks started, I realized that it was much more than I had thought it would be. Let's just say that in my mind it required less time than it actually did. I technically could have managed my schedule to fit Student Assembly Vice President, but with it would have come stress, little sleep and no free time. Those three are normally a recipe for disaster, and a disaster is something I couldn’t afford this semester. With much pity and regret I had to respectfully step down from my position. Whatever I do, I like giving it 100%; and if I had kept my spot as Vice President I wouldn’t have given it my all.

Like this one, there were many activities and duties that I have had to unfortunately decline. It’s unfortunate that the days only have 24 hours when there’s so much that could be done. Alas, time is the one thing no one can change. Not even Chuck Norris. What we students must do is manage our time as best we can.

So, the lesson I recently learned is that I must take care of myself. There’s no one here to say “Nico, hold on, you should probably take it easier.” College is a place where we learn. We learn many things inside the classroom, but many others outside of it.

Under Hamilton’s snowy sky, students still hustle about going from place to place. All of them learning how to keep their busy schedules manageable.