Q&A with Pre-College Grad Mary Brimmer ’19
Mary Brimmer ’19 looks back to previous summers and finds that she’s no longer the shy girl pictured on her Pre-College photo ID. Nearing the end of her third year at Skidmore, she hopes to become a photojournalist to share her story and those of others. Mary is a sociology major, along with a media and film studies and sociology minor. She’s also a member of Photo Club, Gardening Club and Outing Club.
I studied in the Pre-College Program two years in a row. The first year I took “Printmaking/Bookmaking” with Terry Conrad and “Beginning Photography” with Kyle Ford. Last summer I took “Poetry” with Daniel Kraines.
Favorite part of Pre-College?
Getting to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new. I was quite young (going into 10th grade) and shy my first summer, and the experience helped me work on my shyness by challenging me to use critiques to my advantage and to engage with my new peers. I learned to participate more in class discussions and saw learning from a different perspective. In small groups, I was able to both connect with the course material and with fellow students. I was also able to work one-on-one with my professors and receive advice and words of encouragement, words that are still with me. I discovered that, on a college campus, learning is something you want to do versus something you feel you have to do.
Did Pre-College help you academically?
Pre-College inspired me academically. Once I knew what type of environment there was waiting for me outside of high school, it became my motivation and my focus. I wanted all my high school courses to feel like college courses. I wanted to participate, to engage and to learn. Every experience became a learning opportunity, a chance to connect and excel.
Pre-College motivated me to chase my dreams. I helped start an independent study program at my high school so I could study photography and other students could study their areas of interest. A second independent study allowed me to start an online literary arts magazine for the school
Did Pre-College influence your college search?
In my college search process, I found myself looking for the essence of my hometown, Saratoga Springs, in every place I visited. I also searched for the kind of connection I felt with Skidmore and insisted that I wanted to move away from home. Regardless, I still applied to Skidmore because of how great my Pre-College experience was. I wanted to live and learn somewhere where I knew I could prosper in all areas, and Skidmore simply fit that desire. The college gives students the opportunity to explore many areas of study before and while they decide where their passions lie.
Did Pre-College help your transition to college?
Everything I had ever done was a build-up to going to college. When I received my Skidmore acceptance letter, I did nothing but cry tears of joy for the opportunities to come. After being handed my high school diploma on graduation day, I thrust my fist in the air, empowered by my growth and ready for the next chapter of my life. In high school, I felt limited by requirements and a lack of opportunities. Now, the opportunities and possibilities feel endless.
Would you recommend the Pre-College Program to others?
I recommend Pre-College to high school students because it allows them to see what lies ahead. Of course, it can be scary to go live somewhere new and try new things. However, the initial fears only make the experience more worthwhile. After making new friends, learning in a whole new light, and seeing what the road ahead offers, you'll find yourself wishing the weeks didn't fly by so fast.
Pre-College benefits you in so many ways. You can receive college credit, make memories and gain knowledge that will stick with you for life, learn about yourself, explore a new place and even discover what you'd like to do for a living. After this learning adventure, you are left with fond memories and a resume that will set you apart from others. With an open mind and a willing heart, being a member of Pre-College is nothing but wonderful and worthwhile.