Storytime program highlights senior experiences

Almost every Sunday evening of the school year, the Storytime program gives seniors an opportunity to share stories about experiences that have been important to them to the rest of the Colby community.

“I really think Storytime brings a unique opportunity for seniors here to tell their own personal story about their journey both within Colby and outside of Colby; what made them who they are, what’s meaningful to them,” said Senior Class Vice President Thomas LaJoie `20 in an interview with the Echo.

LaJoie has been to every Storytime this year and has been attending them since his freshman year. He was the most recent Storytime speaker.

“There have been a number [of Storytimes] that have impacted me especially because since freshman year being able to hear about stories of other seniors, what they’ve personally gone through, what they value and why the value it has allowed me to explore myself and some of the things that I value,” LaJoie said. 

Freshman Class President Raizel McNally  has also attended Storytime this year, which she told the Echo left an impact on her.

“I didn’t know the person who was speaking at all so it was really interesting to get insight into her life and really personal things about her life and her Colby experience,” McNally said.

Shivani Trivedi `20 is the Student Government Association (SGA) Multicultural Affairs Chair. Trivedi puts out a nomination form through which anybody in the Colby community can nominate others to speak at Storytime. She takes into consideration who was nominated and why, but also aims at trying to bring in diversity, so the nomination form is not the only factor in her decision.

“In my role, I have learned that sometimes the people who get nominated for storytime are the people who are seen and visible and sometimes the leaders behind the scene are the seniors who might not get nominated all the time,” Shivani said. 

“At the end of the day I do look at nominations, but I also look at whether this is a voice at Colby that people need to hear or people should hear,” Shivani said. 

This diversity of experiences is important for creating an impact on the Storytime audience. 

“They have brought up family experiences, stuff that has happened in their life outside of Colby that impacted who they are today; sometimes it’s just zero connection to Colby. I feel like Colby is a bubble, sometimes you need to hear that there is a world outside,” Shivani recalled.

LaJoie chose to speak at Storytime because he decided it would be interesting to talk more about what is important to him.

“In particular, I talked about my family, where I grew up, and why music is important to me. Being able to do that and then tie it in with how I have been able to explore music here, further my relationships with the amazing people here, and been able to perform my music with my best friend in town and on campus – why that’s been important in shaping who I am,” LaJoie said. 

When asking seniors to speak, Shivani said that a challenge she has faced is that many seniors are uncomfortable sharing their stories, and are even afraid of their story being tokenized, especially if it’s a perspective that is not commonly heard at Colby.

“I would just ask that people who come to storytime come with an open mind and to not just consume a story and to use that space to empathize and understand that this is a perspective that I might not relate with but it’s valid,” Shivani said.

Shivani relayed that the audience mostly consists of juniors and seniors, but underclassmen can also be impacted by these stories. The SGA provides milk and cookies at every Storytime.

“I think it’s really cool for underclassmen to go because hearing what people have chosen to do with their four years here and how they’ve spent them is really inspiring, and I think gives good insight into how we as freshmen can spend our time. It’s also really important to hear about the challenges people have faced during their time at Colby and how they’ve overcome them,” McNally said.

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