When Tennessee Watson '03 arrived at Colby two years ago from a suburb of Rochester, N.Y., she confidently threw herself into tough academic courses and settled on a double major in Latin American studies and government. In her first semester she played soccer on weekends with international students and made up for relative inexperience on the field with tenacity. In the winter she won competitions at Sugarloaf in the boardercross- a sort of snowboard-race-meets-roller-derby event. Almost instantly, Colby was her oyster. "I saw it as a pretty homogenous environment and realized it was comfortable for me," she recalled this spring.
Allyson Hill '03 of Minot, Maine, arrived at the same time and spent much of her first two years wondering why she didn't feel she fit in. To fill her work-study requirement she took jobs in Dana washing dishes and cooking omelets and struggled to balance her work schedule and a biology and art double major. She often wondered, "Why can't I be as positive as these other Colby kids?" Coming from a solid working-class family from a small town outside of Lewiston-Auburn, she found a code and sensibility on campus that she now characterizes as "suburban" and that she simply didn't get. "Everyone dresses a lot alike even though a lot of kids can't really afford to do that," she said.
The two women have been roommates since midway through their first year. They're both bright, articulate, engaging, curious, white, progressive. And each now characterizes herself as having been "clueless."
"The D Word: A Reexamination of Diversity at Colby Opens the Door to New Possibilities,"
Colby Magazine: Vol. 90
, Article 9.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/colbymagazine/vol90/iss3/9