Colby College is known in the world of higher education for its rigorous academics, sports, and prestige. Students come from all around the world for a liberal arts experience complete with the tools and knowledge to lead them to a successful career and life. It is famous for its professors, philanthropy, and incredible community of caring and intellectual students. It is not known, however, for its location. Waterville, Maine may not be considered a prime location for a college student; however, there are several advantages to the small city.
Waterville is not typically the place college students picture in their minds when thinking of a college town. Despite its small population, it does not have the feeling of living in a cozy town. It is considered neither aesthetically appealing nor particularly exciting. When talking about the greater community of the Kennebec country, nothing is particularly close in distance. Everything is at least a 30-minute drive—even Chipotle and Panera are 30 minutes away. Brunswick is a solid 50 minutes away, and Portland typically necessitates a day trip. Portland’s distance is truly unfortunate given its incredible assets: restaurants, museums, workout classes, paint bars, and cafes, to name a few. Not far from downtown Portland is the airport, which is a hassle for those who have to fly every time they need to go home. Flying is one inconvenience, but having to drive an hour and a half and then fly is another burden in itself.
Sometimes, Colby students feel trapped in the “Colby bubble” because Waterville can be a very isolated city. In a large city setting, students can travel via bus, train, Uber, or other means of transportation to get from one place to another. The small location also creates a different atmosphere. At a city school, there is much more hustle and bustle. Waterville and Colby feel very quiet a lot of the time, which can get old. In a city, there are many places to eat, drink, study, and spend time. Some Colby students think that’s why the drinking percentages here are so high— cities provide more activities, work, and social scenes than Waterville, as well as outlets for those who may not want to just drink on a Saturday night.
Although Colby is in a very isolated setting, realizing the location it is in is very important when analyzing Colby’s value. Maine is one of the most dynamic states in America. Just last week there were mountains of snow and down jackets were still being worn. Now, there are kids walking through the Spa in flip flops and pastels. The weather can flip quickly, which is great since it allows students to do a range of different things. Some popular activities students take advantage of are hiking and skiing. Colby may be isolated, but there are several mountains that aren’t too far away. Colby is in the perfect location for access to Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and many other mountains to hike or ski. Colby provides students the ability to explore the beautiful state of Maine. The Colby Outing Club gives the student body the opportunity to hike, ski, camp, fish, and do pretty much anything that has to do with the outdoors. Maine is one of the most beautiful states, and it allows people to do a wide range of activities.
Colby’s somewhat problematic location can simply mean that Colby students like the school for what it is. They didn’t come to Colby because they wanted to be in a city, or because Waterville provides them with the opportunity to do so many different things. They came to Colby because of what the school itself has to offer, which is extremely valuable and speaks a lot for Colby’s values and worth. This relationship is also important because it gives Colby students a chance to give back to Waterville, rather than just seeing how they can benefit. Colby’s location definitely has its downsides, but its advantages of providing students with the opportunity to explore the beautiful state of Maine are something students will benefit from for the rest of their lives.