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Skidmore College

Dear students, “just be you”

September 4, 2018
by Peter MacDonald

You are a member of Skidmore’s incoming first-year class. Your college career is happening now — in real time. And there is so much to take in.

Maybe you’re feeling the need for a little grounding. If so, there’s no better source than grads who have been in your shoes, completed the four-year journey and gained valuable perspective on their Skidmore experiences.

Here’s what 10 alumni have to tell you:

Josh Boyce 81Josh Boyce ’81, Biology

"Shoot for the moon! If you love what you do and work hard, the rest will follow. Be adventuresome. Take some classes that perhaps you would not have thought about taking in the first place. Take a philosophy class. Learn how to write."

Josh is a director of the Vinik Center for Allergic Disease Research, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Molly Rose GreenbergMolly Rose Greenberg ’06, American Studies and Gender Studies

"Take advantage of every opportunity, event, club, issue that piques your interest. Even when life seems stressful and overwhelming, remember that the experiences that you have at Skidmore will undoubtedly shape you and lead to the next step."

Molly is a nurse care manager at Institutes for Behavior Resources/REACH 

Andrew LindnerAndrew Lindner ’03, Sociology

"Don't spend too much time worrying about your career. Instead, focus on gaining skills that help you as a person, as a citizen, and in a range of different occupations. Learn to write and speak effectively. Read deeply and learn how to judge what information is trustworthy and important. Learn to code, analyze data, and speak a world language. These things will help you wherever you end up."

Andrew is a sociology professor at Skidmore College

Megan Breuer 98Megan Breuer ’98, Classics

"Be a nerd. Be a dork. Be a jock who loves neurology. Just be you and don't let anyone or anything get you down or get in your way." 

Megan is a scientist at Danume Research in the Netherlands


Jon Brestoff-Parker 08Jon Brestoff-Parker ’08, Chemistry and Human Physiological Sciences 

"Let the unknown be your friend. The only things that I can guarantee about your time at Skidmore are that you will achieve success in areas that you have not yet anticipated and that you will face adversity when you least expect it." 

Jon is a pathology resident at Washington University Medical School, St. Louis


Sarah Benson 14Sarah Benson ‘14, English and French

"This may sound trite, but take absolute advantage of your network. Upon first attending Skidmore, I didn’t like to use the word ‘networking’; it suggested to me an almost cheap method of obtaining contacts. Once I abandoned this narrow view, however, and embraced networking more holistically, my experience at Skidmore improved tenfold. I cultivated invaluable relationships with professors that roused me academically and nourished me socially". 

Sarah is an events and rentals coordinator at the Brooklyn Museum 

Joseph KaifalaJoseph Kaifala ’08, French and International Affairs 

"College is not an asylum, so remember to interact with those around you and have fun. Your social growth is also why you get to live with each other for four years. One of the best things I obtained at Skidmore is what we have dubbed "Skidmore family (SkidFam)" a group of my Skidmore friends who gather officially once a year for a weekend of fun. You too can graduate with a family of friends."

 Joseph is the founder of the Jeneba Project

Altagracia MontillaAltagracia Montilla ’12, Psychology

"Be reflective. So many amazing things will happen in the four years you spend at Skidmore, most of it unexpectedly. These experiences will fly right by you unless you make sure to take the time to reflect on them all."

Altagracia is a director of educational and social programming at Beyond Sports

Zach GageZach Gage ’07, Studio Art

"You'll always be the best at what you love, and the biggest challenge in life (at least in your 20s) is figuring out what you love and how to do it. Use your education as an excuse to have the time to try all the things you love, and get help making your creative dreams as good in real life as they are in your head."

Zach is an independent game designer

Christina FaganChristina Fagan ’12, Art History

"Take advantage of being in college to take risks and figure out what makes you happy. Take the pressure off of figuring out what your life's purpose is and just start trying new things that might make you happy. That might mean something that doesn't quite fit in the norm, for instance, knitting on a Friday night rather than going out, but it might end up being your purpose."

Christina is the founder and CEO of Sh*t That I Knit

To hear more advice — and read the profiles — of the alumni above and many others, visit Creative Thought Works.

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