200 Days in the Life of the College

Thursday, May 5

Following a dream to ‘do something different’

By Dana J. Quigley ’11

The first in her family to attend college, Shamicka Jenkins Smith ’14 aimed high: to get into her “dream school.” She and her closest friends defied the general guidance to attend state schools, encouraging each other instead to strive for four-year private institutions.

Smith first heard about Hamilton from her involvement in Let’s Get Ready, a program that prepares high school students for the college application process. “Eager to go to college” ever since her first year at Mount Vernon High School outside New York City, Smith continued to learn more about Hamilton. She was drawn to the school’s open curriculum, small class sizes, vast extracurricular possibilities and general atmosphere. It became her top choice.

Accepted as a Higher Education Opportunity Program scholar, Smith was required to complete a five-week summer program at Hamilton to receive her scholarship. She has remained close with some of her fellow scholars, having found solidarity in their time together.

Smith is wrapping up a very busy first year. In her “spare” time, she has participated in Womyn’s Center, the Asian Cultural Society, Alternative Spring Break, Project SHINE and the Rainbow Alliance. She is planning to major in psychology and double minor in anthropology and religious studies. With such a strong background in helping and understanding others — including the role she has played as the oldest of seven siblings — it is no wonder that Smith hopes to one day join the Peace Corps.

“Hard work allows you to do something different,” Smith says. And something extraordinary.