I discovered Colby-Sawyer as a junior at a college fair in Baltimore, Md. I pocketed the information collected from the royal-blue booth and pulled it out months later, in the fall of senior year, when I began my priority application. On paper, Colby-Sawyer had everything I wanted – a New England location, a creative writing major and small classes. Then my acceptance letter arrived, along with my financial aid award. The college was more than affordable.

I scheduled a visit in March.

A few weeks before I made the nine-hour drive from Maryland to Colby-Sawyer, Associate Professor of Humanities Ewa Chrusciel, a poet and creative writing instructor, called me. Her attempt to gauge where I was in choosing a college turned into a conversation about Poetry Out Loud, our shared love for Elizabeth Bishop, and Bishop’s villanelle, “One Art.” Professor Chrusciel and I exchanged emails and planned to meet when I was on campus.

With every step taken on the tour, I fell more in love with Colby-Sawyer. I envisioned myself studying in a nook of the library and knew I could enjoy eating the dining hall’s food for the next four years. The small class sizes meant individualized attention, and the projects on the walls of the Ivey Science Center showed there is so much for me to learn. My tour guides proved I wouldn’t be just another somebody in the day-to-day, cutting themselves off mid-sentence to say hello to their passing peers.

Kelsi Maddock ’21 and family chat with President Susan D. Stuebner at the Accepted Student Open House on April 8.

As for Professor Chrusciel, she hugged me the moment I walked into her office; the pieces I’d emailed her were printed and on her desk. She told me about all the things she believed I could do as a Colby-Sawyer student and creative writing major: secure funding to attend the 2018 AWP Conference in Florida; intern with her publisher in California; work with a native Spanish speaker to translate poetry; create a chapbook and get it published. She even handed me a flyer for a poetry contest sponsored by the Lake Sunapee Region-based Center for the Arts and encouraged me to enter. I did, and I earned first place in my category.

Professor Chrusciel discussed all of these opportunities before I’d even told her I was committing. But how could I not choose Colby-Sawyer? I’ve wanted to be a writer for so long, and this is the college to prove it’s possible.

I submitted my deposit as soon as I got home, and I am proud to be a Class of 2021 Charger.

--Kelsi Maddock '21

Variables (after Dean Young’s “Sign Here”)

When they taught me how to write

my name, they didn't warn me of the power

in the curve of my "K". Kept its formula

a secret. Holds the place of a thousand.

The stand-alone first-letter. Often auditorily

confused for the "c". Complicated and tall--

I’m attempting an unnamed yoga pose, two

diagonals. A small slash through it, lightening,

connecting it to the "E". Smaller in size. More

common in frequency. Second letter, fifth

number. My enemy in pre-calculus.

Euler can keep his number out of my name.

The only vowel in my childhood nicknames and always first-found in hangman.

The not-quite-finished θ. The shriek

of terror or squeal of excitement (only

appropriate in most situations). Connecting

with the right letter, and lovely is the "L"

that follows. Never lost in cursive loops

as it’s the easiest to identify among the mix.

A plain and simple letter, really, nothing

but a 180 degree horizon turned 90 degrees

(left or right, it doesn't really matter).

The ink snakes into an “S”, what the number

“5” wishes it could be when it appears

on the digital clock. The name of a curve,

but not the one drawn in the “k”. Written

in place of the word “speed”, not meaning

the same as velocity. Slithering off coordinates

into the “I”. A selfish letter and invisible

number. Root of all my problems, yet

the only problem requiring my attention.

--Kelsi Maddock '21