Category Archives: Extracurricular/Athletics

The Final Phi Beta Kappa Speech

As promised, here it is: the finalized, optimized Phi Beta Kappa speech (originally posted in early May, but if you’d like to just read one post of mine, I think this is it.)

“Colleges…can only highly serve us when they aim not to drill, but to create and set the hearts of their youth on flame.” That might just sound like another quote to begin a speech – but it bears repeating. “Colleges…can only highly serve us when they aim not to drill, but to create and set the hearts of their youth on flame.” At least that is what Ralph Waldo Emerson stated in a speech to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1837. The speech was aptly titled The American Scholar and would soon become the society’s literary magazine title as well. But we are here to discuss the outcomes to which a liberal arts college should aspire, not to have a history lesson. Or is that not the case?

I think we can all agree with Emerson’s statement that a college should seek to give its students both the ability and the inspiration to create. And yet at the same time, the very question we are here to discuss is asking about outcomes – whether jobs, graduate admissions, or fellowships. On one hand, we now have Emerson’s seemingly immeasurable ideals, and on the other hand, we have, and Colby is not alone in this, an innate desire to objectively measure how we are doing. So while it’s great to hear from intellectual A to Fareed Zakaria that the students are learning to think critically, the students also need jobs. While the outcome appears to either focus on teaching critical thinking skills or instead to focus on ranking pre and post collegiate success and statistics, perhaps this is not the case.

Unfortunately, for the sake of the media, the college’s rankings and the parents of the kids applying to Colby, it is difficult, too idealistic and improbable to assume we can cast off all numbers and pretend we’re a Montesorri school. The outcome that we keep hoping liberal arts colleges will aspire to is one that cannot be measured in the near term. There is no statistic to tell you which accepted students will create a groundbreaking technology. But the statistic telling us how many students are admitted per year and how many get jobs at bulge bracket banks does exist.

Fortunately, the solution is not necessarily black and white. By developing an environment that allows students to have their hearts set on flame and then get a job afterwards, a liberal arts college does not have to focus on an either/or distinction in the outcome it aspires towards. This, of course, begs the question: what kind of environment can erase that binary opposition?

First, I do not mean to dissuade a school like Colby from continuing to accept 2400 SAT students that will major in biochem and I certainly do not mean to dissuade accepting students that will major in Econ and get jobs at bulge bracket banks. I do mean a college should be seeking out the kids that may not be going straight into finance or med school and find the kids that are different, and have varying interests, and then by throwing all these different kids into the right environment here at Colby, in their four years here they can create and build a body of knowledge and skills that will prepare them to live a successful and inventive life.

Then, once the students are in this environment, offer them an extraordinary breadth of options such as Jan Plan, study abroad and educational opportunities outside the standard classroom experience. This means that it should come to no surprise that a Physics major is an athlete, or that a Chem major is in improve, or that a Philosophy major is taking Corporate Finance (even if he seems to get a C on every exam). Such an environment will produce a cross-pollination of ideas, skills and most importantly a diverse and healthy community.

Students will still have the necessary skills to get jobs and because they have also developed skills that cannot be measured: creativity, knowledge of failure, teamwork, they will do more than get a job. They will flourish. It’s just that instead of focusing on the outcome being to just get jobs or even worse, to not understand the world outside of a classroom  – the means instead begin to blend with the ends. The outcome still includes getting jobs, but the outcome begins in the admissions process, the outcome is the environment that produces students who will do more than get jobs. No! they will do more than just get jobs. They will get an entry on the notable alumni page on Wikepedia. Now that is an outcome we can all get down with.

Perhaps you are agreeing with me at this point, but still wondering how we can do either one or the other? Well, I would like to suggest again that the outcome is not an either or question, but a both and question. Both and? That sounds like Professor Bryant about to go on a tangent in English Theory, not a practical solution. But that’s exactly it.

In an essay on start up ideas, the venture capitalist and Y Combinator founder, Paul Graham quotes Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance saying, “You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.” He then follows up that quote by saying, “empirically, the way to have good start up ideas is to become the sort of person who has them.” Thus, the outcome a liberal arts college should aspire to for its students is to become the type of place that allows students to become the type of place that can be successful both measurably and immeasurably. The type of place that sets the hearts of our youth on flame, so we can go out into the world and paint a perfect painting.

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Make Some Noise

Loudness weekend this spring was a sight to behold. On the backside of the Alfond Apartment Complex there are four apartments with patios. We all (I live in one) agreed to have a massive gathering on Saturday at noon. Besides the annual affairs of the football team’s pig roast and Doghead, this was the biggest group of Colby students I’ve ever seen together in one place. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in a while.

Eventually this event bled into the spring concert. I didn’t really know any of the music by the artists performing, but I doubt any of them have ever heard of my music blog, so I guess that’s ok. There was burrito truck from Rolling Fatties up near Sugarloaf too! – the line was too long for me to get any burritos before they closed, but I guess that’s ok too.

Later in the evening, some of the artists came and performed behind our apartments. On one side the real artists performed. On the other side, our apartment’s speaker blared out old-school rap. I wandered between both and soaked it all in.

Once upon a time in my freshman and sophomore year, tons of juniors and seniors lived off campus and threw awesome parties. I had some of the most fun of my life thus far. And then I’d hit the books again. However, what with the 5-0 and all those events have died down and therefore, so has the mingling. Of course – parents – parties aren’t why we come to college, but the weekend comes every week, so you might as well have a good time.

A weekend like this was a splash from a cold IPA in the face compared to the stale Natural Light many weekends in the winter often are. It was a reminder that on the weekends we are all on average 20ish year olds just looking to enjoy some time together, meet new people and have a good time with our current friends.

Getting a chance to break out of your standard social group and explore is/was great. I can only say as I graduate college that I wish the weather was a little warmer, or that there were some places kids could gather like this all the time. Then maybe I’d have some more friends in the Geo department or on the ski team.

I always tell people the one thing at Colby that is truly different is that you can’t just have one identity. You need to mix and match and be able to talk with tons of different people. However, to do so is actually only forced upon you a few times – such as weekends like Spring Loudness – and it was awesome.

So to those coming next year: Find your scene, but don’t be afraid to break free of it every now and then. Get cliche every once in a while and make some paper mache. Spring loudness is a great way to do it in a big way every so often. Maybe we should all go to Burning Man next year. JK.

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CLAS and performances everyday…

Last week was extremely hectic and I was basically performing everyday.

Wednesday: Piano class performance

Thursday: MU182 Music Theory 2 composition

Friday: Rehearsal for Saturday and Sunday’s concert

Sat&Sun: Carmina Burana

I really enjoyed all the performances I had in Colby College. I guess I became a lot more active this semester, especially towards the end of the semester. Perhaps because I “fit into” Colby more nowadays. I found my passion and what I want to do. Though it sounds cliché, but Colby does provide a lot of resources and opportunities, it just depends on whether or not we grab it.

**I really appreciate the idea of CLAS. I went to the Economics department for the Honor thesis presentation! Haha, I wish I can be one of them in the future:) Here are some photos that I took recently.

Haha, this is Stan Renard, our conductor for the orchestra, he’s amazing!


And this is the presentation by Alex Ng’15.

I’m gonna have two performances today, good luck to me! There is also Megs A Cappella group performing tonight! It’s gonna be amazing~~~

Nice weather!

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Commenting on the Commentary

Update: I republished my final draft May 24 so as to not have it lost in the shuffle.

If you’ve been following insideColby lately with a strong eye for journalistic professionalism you may have noticed that I posted my Phi Beta Kappa speech for the annual speech contest last week. However, after making it to the final round – I changed things up a little bit. While I now know how it feels to be Martin Scorsese after being snubbed by the academy, I figured I would draft my final posting for the world to appreciate and wonder why I only received a $20 gift certificate to Pad Thai Too.

I’ll post the final version tomorrow, but first, a little recap of the speech. The Phi Beta Kappa speech contest was in its second (I think) installment this year during our annual CLAS day. For those out of the know, CLAS is the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium where students present all the research they’ve done. I did not have any research to present, but at 12 noon I reported to Page Commons for the speech contest.

As I left my dorm room, the anxiety was palpable. Of course, most things are palpable when they happen to you. My heart was pounding as it usually does but raised to the tenth power. This is the kind of feeling the greats talk about before a sports bout. That politicians and comics talk about before they go on stage. It’s exhilarating and uncomfortable and your brain is doing everything it can to tell you that this is certain death. Unfortunately, my speech is a metaphorical death. Not to say that it was bad by any means as I made it to the finals. I just didn’t quite win. I suppose that’s life. Not everyone can get a trophy. But not every Oscar nominee gets an Oscar – c’est la vie. You should still read the finalized speech when it goes up tomorrow – here – live – insideColby.


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Spring Break Travel Log pt. 1

When you’re in season, break isn’t exactly a break. But getting out of the classroom and off campus is definitely refreshing. I’m sure it depends on the sport, whether or not your team will head off campus. Even my first two years here, our lacrosse team stayed on campus.  I had the pleasure of sleeping in a friend’s dormroom freshman year and another’s house sophomore year. Now, instead of spending a week sleeping over in another teammate’s quarters because my dorm is closed we get to go on an adventure!

This year we headed down to Washington DC. We began our break with a win against Conn College, loaded the bus and headed down to just outside Hartford. The next day, we mosied on down to Newark Academy, where we played on the hometown turf of a few players on the team. We followed this up with some unbelievable sandwiches from the Millburn Deli – nothing like being in the tri-state again for some good eats. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to stop at Bagel Chateau to grab some bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, but I survived.

Our next stop would be in Virginia for some BBQ. But first we had to continue our Harry Potter series binging. There’s nothing like a little Chamber of Secrets to take your mind off the frenzy of being trapped on a coach bus for six hours after having already been on one for about four hours already. Next time, we’ll continue with the DC-Maine portion of the trip.

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Thursdays Are For B&J’s

Thursdays – Okay, so your friends are going to a double to hang out with, like, everyone or they’re going to bar night for a sick night out on the town. Never fear, you’re going to Irving. If you’re feeling daring, you’re going to Hannaford. Either way, you’re going for the pints…of Ben and his boy Jerry’s! We’re talking about Half Baked, Chunky Monkey, and Phish Phood. And unlike some other pints you could be having, these ones will last longer, only give you a sugar high and since you’re burning thousands of calories being in season – no regret or hangover.

Fridays – Maybe all your friends complain about how they never go to movies on Fridays anymore. Not in season. If you’re locked on a bus for seven and a half oh my god are we there yet hours, you better believe you’re going to the movies. This is better than a drive-in. Personalized screens, free food like powerbars and premade Dana sandwiches up front – this isn’t your average Bow Tie Cinemas.  Pro tool tip: go to Miller library and rent movies halfway between crowd-pleasers and something you really want to watch.

If you’re not on a mobile movie theater, hopefully someone’s, maybe your parents are coming up for the game. In that case, you can avoid eating WHOP, OHOP or Korner Store for the umpteenth time. Just last week I ate a steak at Joseph’s Steakhouse. I cannot tell you how long it’s been since I’d had a legitimate piece of red meat beforehand. By this time of year, being broke is just part of the game, so a chance to eat a meal out is an absolute game-changer.

So, the answer quite simply is, yes, being an in season athlete might have better perks than you’d ever considered.

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How to Survive

Perhaps you’re wondering whether or not to become a highly touted division three athlete. You’re wondering, is it worth it to sacrifice hours, days, and years not missing leg day? Is Dawn at Dawn really at dawn? What is work capacity – and why is it called work when we’re in college?

Perhaps your concerns are about being in season. How do your legs feel? Is it true that every player should always have aspirin on hand? Do the ice baths need to be 58 degrees or 54 degrees, and if so, how long do you stay in? Will coach like me? Will he put me in because I’m ready to play, today. Centerfield.

You may be wondering whether you’ll be able to survive not going out with your friends on the weekend. Luckily, I’m here Monday-Friday, soothing your fears and calming your qualms. With activities such as pub night, bar night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday football, Monday night football and I don’t have something for Tuesday – how can one survive being in season!? Well, actually it’s not that hard.

Here’s a little primer on how to mange your nagging FOMO that sits in your belly as a little ball of anxiety that wonders whether you might be missing literally the best apartment party ever. First off, you’re not – ever – don’t worry. Second, Thursdays are for B&J’s. Third, Fridays are for bus trips and Joseph’s steakhouse. Confused? Don’t be. Tomorrow, we’ll take an in depth look at your Thursday and Friday evenings in season.

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Spending my first Lunar New Year in Colby!



Rice Cake, Dumplings, Spring Rolls, Sweet Rice Balls…etc. These are all the foods that we will eat in Hong Kong to celebrate Chinese New Year. Kids will receive red pockets from parents and parents’ friends, and the money inside the red pockets varies from $3 to $100 usually. Haha, yea, so it was really fun and we got to visit friends’ homes too.

In Colby College where asians are a minority, there weren’t big events celebrating the Chinese New Year. I was glad that the Asian Students Association organized a Lunar New Year Celebration in the Pugh Center. Unexpectedly, there were a lot of participants, ranging from professors’ daughters and sons to Colby students who are interested in Asian cultures.


As you can see from the photos, we played Mahjong, a traditional game commonly played by 4 players. It requires a lot of thinking and skills. We will play Mahjong not only during Chinese New Year, but also during other festival celebration, such as Mid-Autumn festival.

Haha, we also wrote calligraphy. We used to learn it in elementary school, but it isn’t a
popular activity in Hong Kong. Not until I came to Colby did I realize how important it is to learn one’s culture. I wish I could play an Asian instrument and write calligraphy. Anyways, it’s March already, can’t imagine time passes quickly…

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The Quote Index

Since we’re on the self-improvement grind this week, I figure I can go into another way I’m trying to do some cool stuff. First, I must digress, so I can regress back into what I’ll be talking about. This summer, I started listening to Tim Ferriss podcasts. He is the author of the 4-Hour books you may have heard of before. After listening to these podcasts, I realized he’s a pretty smart and pretty well connected dude. Today, I’ll be focusing on one thing in specific I learned from him that I have started to try and implement.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I’m attempting to read 30-50 pages in a book per day. It can get pretty tough, so I find myself switching between 3 books. But how do I keep track of all the knowledge I’m learning if I’m switching between books day to day or hour to hour you might ask. Well, that’s where Tim Ferriss comes in. He is according to himself, an avid journal-er and note taker. While I’m not taking in-depth notes on everything I read about, I purchased a little journal at Wal-mart for $0.88 the other day and write in quotes or paraphrase quotes that I find interesting or extremely resonating. I have a little index in the back of the book so I can decipher where each quote has come from and what pages different books are quoted on. I have an acronym for each book that I list next to the quote throughout the journal and if I ever forget what book it’s from I can just go to the back. If I’m lucky, some of the knowledge will sink in. If I’m not, then I guess I have a resource I can go back and look at now. Thanks Tim!

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Twas the Night Before Season

Twas the night before the season and all through the house

the only sound to be heard was munching pasta with Rao’s.

the boys had been waiting for months growing their hair,

giving it the finest in shampoo and conditioning care.

They stayed awake for a bit before they went to their beds,

dismayed by their team now lacking, specifically in Jeds.

But now that the pasta had vanished from the platter,

and the strings on their sticks due to age beginning to tatter.

Waiting to shoot 111 lacrosse balls after practice with a flash,

unless they got caught up with t-will the goalie and had a clash.

Outside the ground had been plowed, but still was covered in snow,

so we sat watching Fool’s Gold and ran fingers through our flow.

And as we sat watching the plot line started to become clear,

nothing like enjoying a rom-com sitting next to your peer.

When the advertisements start, watch or why not click

and you can enjoy another show, any one of your pick.

Ok, that’s all I have in me right now. Lacrosse running testing is tomorrow morning and then the season begins on Sunday. Couldn’t be more excited. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”*** For the time being I will be re-entering the grind, which is a great thing, right? After a January of no schedule, it certainly is nice to be on a schedule again for. Anyway, Trinity February 28th. Preseason until then.

***for those who have missed the classic film, Animal House

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