MARISA CAPONI- As I have been attempting to become a local of Madrid, a city that any Skid kid would likely say is the polar opposite of Saratoga Springs, I often enter into phases of Skidmore FOMO [fear of missing out]. I’m not just talking about missing my friends, my lacrosse team, or even chicken finger Friday – but about what’s going on on campus. These thoughts are typically accompanied by a feeling of wonder as to how I will feel when it’s time to return to America, and a question of whether there will be another opportunity to live or even work in Madrid.
These thoughts wavered in my mind toward the beginning of the semester but faded out after receiving some answers at the Skidmore gathering held in the program center a few weeks ago. With only 11 of us this semester, we are quite outnumbered in the Tufts-Skidmore Spain program, however making connections with Skid alumni at the meet-up allowed us to feel heard and represented through sharing common experiences and expressing our pride as Thoroughbreds.
Over some refreshments (wine, water, and my personal fav fanta limón of course) and a lovely selection of tapas, we chatted with John Chaplin from the Skidmore Office of Advancement, and caught up with some alumni before diving into a quick Q&A session. We discussed the progress of the science building and how the school is dealing with over accepting freshmen in spite of a lack of sufficient housing (as a former RA and res-life enthusiast this is by far my favorite topic). After the tough year the freshman class endured in 2014-2015 with the loss of some classmates, I was relieved to find out this semester was off to a relatively clean start.
I recognized Lainie, Alia, and James and chatted with each of them as well as some others about what they were doing back in Madrid, how they had find housing, and how long they plan to stay. I learned that most of the alumni had studied a bit of Spanish and Education before returning to Madrid to work at UCETAM – a program that will allow them to teach English here for two years with many benefits included. As someone who wants to teach and is already dying to return to Spain after college and further enhance my language skills/ establish and revisit the connections I’ve made, you can imagine how psyched I was to learn of this program’s existence!
I especially enjoyed hearing Lainie talk about the relationship she has maintained with her host family and how excited she was about her new flat-mate. I also got Alia’s number and we planned to go out with her sometime soon. It’s crazy how last year at this time she was the teacher’s assistant in my Dance Experience class, and now we are both immersed in an entirely different culture on the other side of the world. Anticipating entering the “real world” naturally yields a ton of anxiety for college students approaching graduation; and so I am grateful that talking to proud Skidmore alumni who have been awarded some much-deserved opportunities has shed some positive light on that bittersweet reality.