Life at Hamilton Begins With a Dangling Participle

Gordon Bogardus '16 demonstrates a dangling participle during Adirondack Adventure.
Gordon Bogardus '16 demonstrates a dangling participle during Adirondack Adventure.

Members of the class of ’16 are settling in to life on the Hill, classes have begun and the new semester is off and running. One of the members of Hamilton’s newest group of students, Cassidy Dennison ’16, took time to reflect on the value of pre-orientation program Adirondack Adventure in helping students make the adjustment to college life.


We started off college with a dangling participle. This may seem regressive to our high school and college education, but it actually furthered our knowledge of ourselves and our group. As you can guess, our dangling participle was not a grammatical error; it consisted of a rope, two harnesses, two people and total trust.


Though slightly intimidating, rock climbing at Chapel Pond in the Keene Valley was one of the best ways to begin college. Adirondack Adventure helps people make friends, try new things and break free of the initial fears associated with college.

For our three-hour ride from Hamilton to Keene Valley, our leader Steph, a WHCL DJ, provided non-stop entertainment with her musical selections. Our musical palette varied from Beyonce to Fleet Foxes to Lana Del Rey. Much conversation ensued throughout each song and it broke the ice as we learned a little more about everyone on our trip. We arrived at our first climb around noon, hiked to the climbing site and ate lunch at the top, accompanied by a beautiful view.

Having only mastered the climbing wall in the fitness center we anxiously awaited our turns to climb the real rock face. For some this first climb was easy, done almost without thinking. Others found it was more frustrating, with people finding themselves sliding across the rock face as their rope caught them when they fell. No two people approached the climbs in the same manner. Some thought out their every move, while others moved swiftly up the face pausing only when they became stuck. Yet, whenever someone became stuck there were always three or more people standing at the bottom of the rock face ready to help. Knowing there was someone there to help you was reassuring and brought our group closer together.

I plan on revisiting that dangling participle before the beginning of each of my years at Hamilton, maybe not as a participant, but as a leader.


Adirondack Adventure brought me closer to the people in my group and helped me form a family on campus. My group members are now some of my closest friends, and I could not imagine an easier transition to life on the Hill.


Cassidy Dennison '16 is a graduate of Clinton Central High School

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