200 Days in the Life of the College

Thursday, December 23

Break? What break? There’s a life to be lived

By John Wulf ’12

The first semester ended last week, but Galia Slayen ’13 has not stopped working. In fact, she has not even left campus. As most Hamilton students fled home for the holidays, Slayen stayed back to work on some projects. But don’t feel bad for her — she’s used to being different.

Born in Portland, Ore., to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother, Slayen grew up speaking English and Hebrew. Her brother is a professional dancer. That’s only the beginning.

She has taught English in Ghana, lived with a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, finished second in a State Constitution Championship (a subject still too painful for her to talk about), and raised more than $20,000 for a “Music to the Schools” program for Portland public schools. On top of all of that, she was emancipated when she was 15 years old. “I guess you could say I haven’t had the typical American life experience,” she says.

Atypical as her journey has been, though, Slayen does not see Hamilton as a place to rest. After taking the last of her two Chinese exams as first semester ended, Slayen really got to work. Now all but alone on a ghost of a campus, she is working on the organization of Hamilton’s first-ever week devoted to eating-disorder awareness, which will take place in February. Without skipping a beat, she is also preparing for a humanitarian trip to Ecuador this spring. Asked if that is enough, she replies, “I’ve got so much more to do!”

Far be it from anyone to try stopping her.