First Medium Post

  1. I am a New Yorker, born and raised. Each person has her own quintessential New York. Each New Yorker also has her own preferences and allegiances. Every day I would pass new and familiar landmarks that make up the character of my New York. Living near both, the Natural History Museum and The Met were effectively the museums of my childhood: I learned to walk under the giant whale and took my first art class at The Met after school. Without exception, each morning, I would get coffee from Jay’s cart in the Bronx near my school. I will argue vigorously that Williamsburg thrift stores have better vintage finds than East Village ones. When I would take the D train home and get off at 59th St, although it would take a bit longer, I liked to walk through Lincoln Center and look at the Chagall paintings. Some consider NYC too vast and populated to be a community, but to me, community is not defined by size but by connection and soul. I have carved out a place for myself in an environment that can seem overwhelming with its splendor and choice.

Although it is such a diverse place, it’s easy to live in a bubble in New York City: only interacting with those who live near you, act like you, look like you, think like you, and exist as you do. I went to elementary and middle schools with majority white populations that were zoned for Upper West Side residents. Many of my friends came from similar racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds as me. Entering a high school with a minority white student body and students hailing from all five boroughs, I started to interact with more people that were considered different from me. Although a cliché, it reaffirmed the fact that people from all backgrounds are ultimately more alike than we are different. If I had stayed in my bubble, I would never have met many of my closest friends. Through my friends’ varying experiences, I was able to look at the world through a new and more informed lens. I hope to have a similar experience at Colgate. I can’t thrive in a homogenous environment. I want to learn from people from other parts of the country and the world with different perspectives and opinions which I can consider and use to shape my beliefs. In this vane, at Colgate, I’d like to be involved in organizations that will introduce me to new people and perspectives.

3. I was initially drawn to this course from its name “Religion and Contemporary World”. I have always known that I would want to take some sort of religious studies course in college, but the idea of learning about religion and how it relates to the world today sounded right up my alley. I was raised Jewish, but not particularly religiously. I was also exposed to a lot of different religious and spiritual practices in my family and also just from going to public school in New York City. I would identify myself as Jewish, but probably more “spiritual” than religious. What really interests me about religion in our modern world is this generation’s shift towards “spirituality”. Further, to what extent are a lot of these spiritual practices appropriated from indigenous or other cultures? In terms of religion and Black Lives Matter, I would say I am interested in the detachment from the Black Church and also how activism can be defined as a religious undertaking depending on who you ask.

4. Though a simple answer, I think the secret to making this environment work for everyone is engagement. I firmly believe that you give what you get in any academic situation, but this is even more true over Zoom. If I am tuned into class, with my camera on, having done the assignments, and ready to participate, my peers are more likely to match my energy and vise versa. On the other side, if you, as our professor, seem to be disinterested in the course, there is absolutely no way that students would feel interested or even motivated to share in class. By showing your genuine interest in the subject matter, which I believe you have done so far, you are really encouraging everyone else to do their best work.

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