First in Family

Allen Harrison

Lauren Gerhart '11

New Hartford, N.Y.

Lauren Gerhart '11
Lauren Gerhart '11

My experience at Hamilton means the entire world to me. I was brought up by a single mother who lovingly gave up the opportunity to go back to school for a degree in order to raise me. Growing up, I had always strongly considered community college; however, my mom encouraged me to live up to my potential and taught me not to limit my options. With the added support of my wonderful step-father, I made the decision to apply to four-year schools.

To be honest, my first semester at Hamilton was rough. Although I was at the top of my graduating high school class, I was now thrown into an environment where everyone else was just as smart, if not smarter. It was very intimidating and I lost confidence in myself. I worried that my lack of perfect grades would disappoint my parents. They were so proud of me being the first to pursue a four-year degree and I feared I would let them down. My expectations were unrealistic and it took some time to realize that I could not stress myself out over situations that could not be controlled. There will always be people who are smarter than I am, and all I can do is try my hardest to reach my own personal potential.

Hamilton offers such a warm and loving community that is conducive to success. With the help of the Writing Center and some fantastic professors — Shoshana Keller, Susan Mason, and Delia Aguilar, just to name a few — I was able to grasp onto the wonderful academic opportunities here at Hamilton. I have been on the Dean's List for the past year and plan on (hopefully!) staying there. Hamilton is truly an environment where you can create your own college experience and have it mold to you. With the advantages of our open curriculum and the opportunities to be heard, like President Stewart's open hours, it is easy to make a difference in your own collegiate path here. I have met so many different types of students at Hamilton, and regardless of our backgrounds and whether our parents went to college or not we all love this place just as much. I think that truly attests to the type of environment offered here at Hamilton College.

— August 2009