What college is really like for 14 Skidmore students

By
Photography Alex Hodor-Lee

Published May 11, 2018

JON AND KALEIGH. ON KALEIGH: BOTTOMS: HELLO BEAUTIFUL. ALL STYLING: KUSCHAN JAFARIAN. PHOTO ASSISTANT: BELLA TOBIASON. PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS: IAN HENDERSON-CHARNOW AND HANNAH PARSONS. SPECIAL THANKS: OLIVIA JADE HORNER CASTING.

College is a time of transition. Young, fresh-faced, and finally out from under their parents’s thumb, university students sit in a well-worn liminal space—no longer children but not quite adult adults. They flock to campuses in search of answers, looking between the pages of textbooks, in the arms of friends and lovers, and in the intoxicating rush of psychedelics and fratboy keggers. If they’re lucky, they graduate with the kernels of wisdom gleaned from these experiences, as ready as they’ll ever be to take on the world.

Students at Skidmore, a small, liberal-arts college tucked away in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, are no different. They might skinny-dip a bit more frequently than your average twenty-something, but the confusion, the excitement, the joys and the fears are all the same. We met with 14 “Thoroughbreds,” ranging from freshmen just getting acquainted with the campus and its characters to seniors donning their cap and gown, and asked them how they felt about this incendiary time in their lives.

Kaleigh Balken (above)

What’s one moment from your time here that you’ll 100% tell your future kids (or friends) about?

BALKEN: When I met Nicole Eisenman at a lecture a few weeks ago. Her talk was the most inspiring and interesting artist talk I have ever been to. She is so smart and talented.

Remember high school? How do you think you’ll remember college?

BALKEN: I remember high school pretty well and fondly. I think I will think fondly of Skidmore, too, but also I’m so ready and happy to be graduating. I just wanna go back to NYC, where I grew up.

ABDOULIE FAAL. SCARF: PYER MOSS.

Abdoulie Faal

Describe last weekend in three words.

FAAL: Never catch me. 😉

Pick a place on campus and tell us a memory you associate with it.

FAAL: “The 512 Lodge,” aka Issa’s room. A memory I can associate with it is hanging with Brandon, Noah, Kwan, Issa, and Marley while playing the Switch and just doing dumb stuff together. It’s those little moments that I think I truly value the most.

FROM LEFT: JAY, ABDOU, ISSA, AND MARLEY. ON JAY: ALL: MATTHEW ADAMS DOLAN. ON ABDOU: TOP: LACOSTE. PANTS: PRADA. ON ISSA: TOP AND PANTS: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN. SHIRT: FENDI. ON MARLEY: TOP: PRADA. PANTS: LACOSTE.

Brandon “Jay” Palacios

What’s one moment from your time here that you’ll 100 percent tell your future kids (or friends) about?

PALACIOS: When I encountered police brutality. I want to give them a feel for my experience and how I’ve overcome obstacles to become the man I am today.

Are you happy here?

PALACIOS: Honestly, I want to say I am happy here, but I wish I was happier.

Issa Traore

How do you think you’ll remember college?

TRAORE: Long nights and early mornings.

Describe last weekend in three words.

TRAORE: Five. One. Two.

Marley Perez

Tell us about some of the friends you’ve made here at Skidmore.

PEREZ: One of my closest friends here is definitely my roommate. The crazy thing is we met each other at an arts camp years ago, haven’t talked since and then found out that not only were we going to the same uni, but we also got randomly paired together as roommates. Feels like a type of divine intervention almost.

Are you happy here?

PEREZ: Yeah, but being from the city it gets pretty quiet. Also, way too many pagans.

NOA MESHORER. TOP: MARYAM NASSIR ZADEH. SHORTS: CHERRY VINTAGE.

Noa Meshorer

Pick a place on campus and tell us a memory you associate with it.

MESHORER: Every time I walk by the infamous Haupt Pond, which is located in the middle of our campus, I remember that I ran into it naked with my best friend/roommate Elise. It was a dare on the very last night of our freshmen year with a couple of our friends. Came out of there pretty muddy and slimy. It was not cute.

NOA AND ELISE. ON NOA: SHIRT: PRADA. JACKET: PORTS 1961. ON ELISE: SHIRT: PORTS 1961. VEST: MIU MIU.

Elise Duffy

Remember high school? How do you think you’ll remember college?

DUFFY: College is so different from high school. Being with and around friends all the time is one of the greatest pleasures I know I’ll miss.

How has Skidmore and the people you’ve met here changed the way you see yourself? The world?

DUFFY: Skidmore has taught me about the importance of being in a community, and what a really good one looks like.

FROM LEFT: PAT, DAKPE, AND CHASE. ON PAT: JACKET: AMI. SHORTS: KENZO. SHIRT: HIS OWN. ON DAKPE: SHIRT: STELLA MCCARTNEY. JACKET: HERMES. SHORTS: MARTINE ROSE. ON CHASE: TRACKSUIT: VALENTINO.

Chase Ta

What’s one moment from your time here that you’ll 100 percent tell your future kids (or friends) about?

TA: The moment I realized I was doing the wrong major and all my college regrets raised to the surface. It was not a dramatic moment but this past week I was sitting in my international business class, listening to my professor talk. He was going on and on, one of his irrelevant tangents about how he grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. Suddenly, the sensation of anger took over me and I was ready to stand up and tell him he was wasting all of our time and has been all semester. This man comes in almost every morning and recites Yates for 20 minutes at 8:40 AM—great wake up call. I realized I could not listen to him anymore, because I literally have not learned a single thing and truly feel like I have wasted my parent’s tuition money and my own time. This realization led me to reflect on what other classes I have taken, and I realized I have had this image built in my mind of what business is (creative problem solving for real-world problems) but I haven’t learned shit about it. I failed to take advantage of the liberal arts education. I will tell my future kids about this because people always say, “Find what you love, it was often too late for me.” I am happy I realized this early, but I would tell my kids to embrace this mindset from the start and don’t waste time on things you don’t love.

ARIANNE LAPIDUS. BOTTOMS: MIU MIU. SHIRT AND BRA: HER OWN.

Arianne Lapidus

Pick a place on campus and tell us a memory you associate with it.

LAPIDUS: North Woods. Whenever I need a break from my friends, my obligations, or myself, I take long walks or runs in the beautiful acres of woods that surround our campus. It’s easy to lose track of whatever worries you when listening to Chopin’s Études, surrounded by trees and streams that were there long before you and will be long after you’re gone.

SONIA JEAMBON. COAT: ELLERY. SWEATER: JIL SANDER.

Sonia Jeambon

What’s one moment from your time here that you’ll 100 percent tell your future kids (or friends) about?

JEAMBON: During senior week, my friend and I were bored and didn’t know what to do. It was a rainy day in May and campus was dead, so we decided to go for a walk. We were walking across this small field behind the gym and took our shoes off because our feet were sinking in the mud. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but we decided to take all our clothes off because being naked makes things exciting. We stripped behind some trees and took turns sprinting in the open field. There’s a road that follows along the field which caused more screams and excitement. We were naked, running in the rain.

Tell us about some of the friends you’ve made here at Skidmore. What do they mean to you? Do you think those relationships will last?

JEAMBON: I met my best friend here. I spend every second with her, we don’t even leave each other to poop. I know I will keep her forever. I love you, Hannah!

MELISSA DUNNING. SHIRT: NIHL. SKIRT: DSQUARED. SWEATER AND SHOES: HER OWN.

Melissa Dunning

Describe last weekend in three words.

DUNNING: Chips. Tequila. Couch.

Pick a place on campus and tell us a memory you associate with it.

DUNNING: The gazebo is one of my favorite places on campus. I can’t say there is one specific memory attached to it, but I always seem to find myself there.

LUKAS RUEDA. WRESTLING SUIT: CHERRY VINTAGE.

Lukas Rueda

Tell us about some of the friends you’ve made here at Skidmore. What do they mean to you?

RUEDA: I can only name a handful of people who I know I will stay in contact with. Life goes on. This place will not dictate the trajectory of my life. This place was a mere stepping stone for my personal growth. I will remember and care for those still on my team, and have already forgotten those who are not. Dwelling in the past prevents progress and promotes complacency.

Are you happy here?

RUEDA: Nah.

CASSIE TAYLOR. DRESS: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD.

Cassie Taylor

What’s one moment from your time here that you’ll 100 percent tell your future kids (or friends) about?

TAYLOR: Looking back on college, I’ll always remember the campus coming to life on the first warm, sunny day of spring. The winters are so long and cold here. As soon as the weather gets nice, having fun and enjoying the weather becomes the priority for everyone and the campus looks like a music festival.

Pick a place on campus and tell us a memory you associate with it.

TAYLOR: I associate the green by the pond with memories of Earth Day and Fun Day festivals and overall just hanging out in the sun.

KALI VILLAROSA. DRESS: CELINE. SHOES AND BACKPACK: HER OWN.

Kali Villarosa

What’s one moment from your time here that you’ll 100 percent tell your future kids (or friends) about?

VILLAROSA: My junior year my housemates and some friends decided we wanted to make a Friendsgiving. I took on the role of making the turkey, one of the biggest turkeys I had ever seen, and I had never made a turkey, let alone a Thanksgiving turkey in my entire life. The moments that really stand out from that night are (1) my four housemates and I trying to figure out how to defrost a giant frozen bird at 7 AM the day of Friendsgiving and finally settling on putting it in a brine in our trashcan, and (2) the five of us sitting on the floor at 4 AM after a night of going out, just devouring the remainder of the turkey. So college.

How has Skidmore and the people you’ve met here changed the way you see yourself?

VILLAROSA: I have learned how to navigate and recognize both my target and agent identities. Coming to Skidmore I was able to embrace my queer identity, to really understand what it means to be a Black-Latinx womyn in the United States, both the oppression, but also a newfound pride. From professors to students, I have been called out and challenged, but I have learned an incredible amount. I have been forced to recognize things about myself that I had avoided for years, but I have also met the most supportive, caring and intelligent community of individuals. Skidmore and the people here have taught me to see the immense inequality of the world, the things I myself perpetuate but also my role in and desire to deconstruct so many of these systems.