April 24, 2014
Every April, accepted students, with parents and siblings in tow, descend on the Hill. These students, some heart-set on Hamilton and others unable to make up their minds, tour the campus, indulge in Bon Appétit’s fanciest fare, hear words of encouragement from Joan Hinde Stewart and raid the bookstore for discount souvenirs. While the so-called “prospies” certainly judge most things they come across—from the quality of the facilities to the way students treat them in passing—their overriding attitude tends to be one of excitement. After all, they are preparing to set off on four years of college, arguably the most fun years of a young person’s life.
This Monday’s Open House for Accepted Students was no exception. With the sun shining bright over Martin’s Way, high school seniors and their families attended lectures from Hamilton’s best selection of professors and took selfies of themselves with Alexander Hamilton’s statue, posting their love of Hamilton on Twitter and Instagram. Their spirits high, current Hamilton students greeted the prospies with enthusiasm; the streaking team even gave their annual “hello” to the visitors. For many students, the sight of such young faces struck a note of nostalgia. Grizzled seniors and proud freshmen alike remarked on how they felt when first visiting Hamilton and how much they have matured since those halcyon days.
Why, you may ask, is The Spectator waxing poetic about Accepted Students Day? On one level, after two weeks of editorials addressing political strife and racial tensions on campus, there is something comforting in returning to the mindset of those who only know Hamilton as a platonic ideal. When one sees Hamilton through a warm, sunny day of planned events, it is easy to forget that four years on the Hill is not a bed of roses every day: friendships turn sour, classes are not as good as advertised, snow falls in April and job offers fall through. Seeing eager students who have yet to begin their college journey takes all of us back to our own college selection processes, when we flipped through brochures and envisioned a perfect four years.
On a more profound level, though, Accepted Students Day makes us appreciative of how lucky we are to attend Hamilton. The majority of students who apply to Hamilton do not get in and, when we see the joy on the faces of students who so recently received their coveted acceptance letters, we are reminded that it is a privilege to walk these grounds. And we are also reminded that we chose to matriculate at Hamilton because something about the school resonated with us.
Although everyone has bad days at Hamilton, and many find the spectacle of the Accepted Students Day a little ridiculous, we smile at the prospies and happily answer any questions they may have because, at some level, we want them to come here. And we want them to come here because we are proud of the community we have built here.