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Skidmore College

My Life at Skidmore: Brian Allan

October 31, 2016
by Brian Allan

My friend from home says “Ack!” every time she feels uncomfortable. It’s a reference to the “Cathy” comic strip, in which a middle-aged woman deals with various “women's issues” in a blatantly gender-normative fashion.

Though it has clear roots, my friend’s use of “ack” has proven to be a really relevant and useful tool for dealing with discomfort in the day-to-day. It’s the perfect way to communicate feelings of awkwardness and uncertainty for a variety of situations: You didn’t call your mom on Mother’s Day? Ack. You skipped class to watch Amy Schumer’s HBO special (a must-watch), but forgot that you had a quiz? Ack. You have no idea how to introduce yourself as a blog writer? Ack!

Regardless of how many times you scream “ack” into the night, we must forge on, so here goes:

I’m Brian, a senior here at Skidmore, with majors in English and Spanish as well as a minor in media and film studies. I’m going to be writing some stuff for Life at Skidmore, which is pretty dang exciting. To give you a little bit of perspective about who I am as a writer and a student, I’m going to run down a brief list of the things I really like about Skidmore:

The people.

Falling in love with Skidmore means falling in love with the amazingly bizarre people that go here, and there are a lot of them. This campus provides a great way to find a niche (my housemates are all fellow English majors, for example), but it’s also a really amazing way to branch out—some of my best friends here are interested in neuroscience, theater, psychology, and anthropology, just to name a few. I’ve also found the people here to be some of the most inclusive folks around; Skidmore is one of the few places where I feel that it’s true that what makes you weird makes you interesting.

The dining hall.

This one might seem cliché, but it’s true. If you’re a student here, you know that our dining hall is pretty amazing. I’m a senior, and the awe that I felt when I first walked into the dining hall as a freshman is still alive and well. A lot of that has to do with my inability/unwillingness to cook for myself beyond the basic grilled cheese or bowl of cereal, but the claim still stands: our dining hall is crazy good. I’ve had dreams about it.

The classes.

It’s a strange feeling to really want to go to class: on the one hand, it proves that you’re an academically-minded and sophisticated adult who’s ready to learn; on the other hand, it makes you feel like a massive turbo-nerd. Luckily, there are a lot of other turbo-nerds who feel similarly ambivalent about their affinity for their class schedule, so we’re not alone. Skidmore is a great place to be passionate about your studies, because, in my experience, most everyone here is.

The professors.

This is obviously deeply related to the college’s academics, but it’s still worth mentioning. There have been moments when a particular professor is lecturing or leading discussion when I stop and think that they must be some sort of higher power, something more than human, and I feel like a repulsive slug-thing in their presence. Still, they inspire me to one day no longer be a repulsive slug-thing, and that’s what really matters. Seriously, there are some professors whom I would briefly consider taking a bullet for, which says a lot. 

The town.

Saratoga is an insane place to get to live for four years: there’s the food, and the nightlife, and the food, and miles of beautiful nature, and the food. Seriously, the food is unbeatable. I mean, Druthers? That place is magical. They serve a massive portion of mac n’ cheese, which as Americans is our right, nay, our responsibility, to consume. There’s also some really nice shops, ranging from small businesses like Northshire Bookstore to what seems to me to be the nicest Price Chopper ever built, out on Route 50. I’ve never felt so impassioned about a grocery store.

Overall, there’s a ton of things about Skidmore that I love, which is why I’m so excited about getting to write about the school and the awesome stuff that goes on here. From this point on, there’ll only be “acks” of excitement. 


Brian Allan '17 is the 2016–2017 student blogger in the office of Communications and Marketing. A double major in English and Spanish with a minor in meida and film studies, he has provided a unique student insight to life at Skidmore.