200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back from the world, a senior reconnects

By Leigh Ercole ’11

When Alexandria Nicholson-Dotson ’11 reflects on her recent study-abroad experience in Madrid, two words come to mind: “Quiero volver.”

“I want to go back.”

But while she says her “heart aches” for Spain, she is excited to be back at Hamilton for her senior year and happy to be reconnecting with her friends and professors. She also enjoys meeting first-year students, whom she considers a “breath of fresh air” on campus.

Yet much has changed on the Hill while Nicholson-Dotson has been abroad. New buildings such as the Sadove Student Center have popped up. The Residential Life Office has moved from Milbank Residence Hall to Elihu Root House. She sometimes feels like a newcomer herself, confusing the names of buildings and ending up lost.

Nicholson-Dotson has also had to transition back to using English as her primary language — no small feat after spending a year speaking only Spanish. “I never expected to feel so out of the loop, yet so connected with Hamilton at the same time,” she says. “While I do feel overwhelmed at times about the newness of this campus, I like it. It feels like my second home.”

Now that she’s back on the Hill, Nicholson-Dotson is thinking about her senior theses. She’ll draw on her experiences abroad. In Madrid, she interned for an organization linked to International Planned Parenthood. She plans to write her Hispanic studies thesis on sex tourism between Cuba and Los Angeles, and her women’s studies thesis on the hyper-­sexualization of the black female body.

“Going abroad has opened my mind to the possibilities of the world,” she says. “I see things in a much more global way.”