Mingle with a Mule: first-year Hannah Johnson
With last week’s Student Government Association (SGA) elections, it seems only proper to familiarize ourselves with one of the many individuals slated to represent Colby’s student body next year. In order to accomplish this, the Echo sat down for a chat with Hannah Johnson ’21, a newly elected Class Senator. From her plans for SGA next year to her favorite classes, we got to know all about the future Senator and what she’s been up to.
The Lancaster, PA native is heavily involved on campus, taking part in Lives of Purpose, the Multi-Faith Council, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the worship band, the Outing Club and now, the SGA as Class Senator. She claims her election came as an unexpected–but very welcomed–surprise.
“I didn’t really expect it because I ran in the fall and didn’t get it, so I wasn’t really sure I should try again, but I did!” Johnson said in her interview with the Echo, “I think doing it again and actually getting a position shows that I have made some meaningful relationships here, which is important to me. It shows that yeah, maybe at college you might not make a bunch of friends at first or be super well known, but it’ll get better. And that’s more important to me than the position itself, knowing that I’ve gotten close with other people and they’ve gotten close with me. It’s pretty cool.”
Many of these friendships, Johnson claims, were a direct result of her participation in clubs. “Clubs are so important. My advice for anyone coming into college is just to do clubs, lots of them. Otherwise, you’ll just be isolated and spend all your time in your room. I love being on the Worship team, because you get on a deeper level with those people than with others because you talk about your faith and spirituality, all this very personal stuff,” Johnson said. “I also did a one-act play, which was lots of fun. I only had one line, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was so cool because I’d never really met the so-called ‘theater kids,’ and they’re a phenomenal group of people and just made the whole experience so great.”
However, Johnson admits that her experience with the Colby social scene wasn’t always smooth sailing. When she first got here, she had a difficult time getting to know people and establishing friendships. According to her, the dorm she lives in wasn’t as close as others, which exacerbated other on-campus social divisions–such as that between athletes and non-athletes. This issue in particular is one she hopes to address in her time as Senator.
“At a small school [like Colby] I never imagined it would be so athletically dominated, and I think that has created an aura of exclusivity,” Johnson said. “Of course all the athletes and teams are close, that makes sense, but it’s just so hard to break into those friendships. They dominate the social scene, too, with the parties and at the Apartments. One of the things as a class senator that I’d like to do is try and make things more inclusive. Obviously, I don’t want to break up the sports teams–they’re friends and that’s absolutely awesome, and so many of them are fantastic people–but I think there needs to be other outlets for non-athletes.”
Despite the rocky start, Johnson claims she now loves almost everything about Colby, particularly the cubbies in Olin and the peanut butter in Foss. On top of that, she adores her classes. Nowhere is this more present than in her “History of the Modern Middle East” course with Associate Professor John Turner.
“[Professor Turner] is so passionate and so brilliant. I feel smarter every time he talks,” Johnson said. She went on to describe her amazement in Turner’s ability to paint the Middle East in a different fashion than he had previously been accustomed to. It was refreshing, she claimed, to hear about the region outside of news sources, which shed a different light the topic.
Even in the face of her love for Colby, Hannah, like most students, still gets hit with the occasional bout of homesickness–but she wouldn’t quite call it that. Any negative feelings she has are far outweighed by her excitement over her next three years here. Rather, she feels it’s this mix of bitter-sweet emotions regarding her childhood home that make her cherish her time in Pennsylvania.
“I have a great network of people in Lancaster, so I definitely miss that a lot — but I know that now is my time to meet more people and grow that network of friendships. So I’m not really homesick, per say, but more nostalgic,” Johnson said. “I appreciate the past, but I also appreciate what’s yet to come, and all the people I have yet to meet.”