Thursday, May 7, 2009

One More Year Left


Today at 3:30 PM, I relinquish my title as Foster Huntington, Junior at Colby College and assume a more daunting one, Foster Huntington, Senior at Colby College. I have never liked school. In elementary school, I struggled with dyslexia and showed little promise as a student, finally learning to read and write at my grade level in the fifth grade. In order to make it, I learned to focus on the subjects where I had the potential to do well and avoid the subjects, such as spelling (I am 20th percentile speller), where my dyslexia prohibited me from succeeding. Instead of writing out homework assignments by hand, I learned to type and use a computer to spell check my work in middle school. Why fight losing battles when I can fight other battles as a favorite? My sheer lack of proficiency at some tasks and ability at others gave me a lifelong sense of humility and confidence to realize that it's okay to be different.

For the longest time, I resented going to Colby. I don't identify with many of the students blindly pursuing careers as doctors, lawyers, or investment bankers. I was frustrated by getting C-'s in my math classes despite getting an 800 on my Math SAT. I missed the Northwest's progressive attitude and recognition of passions other than the Red Sox and Patriots. However, recent conversation with my roommate Nick (follow him on twitter!), made me realize that going to a highly competitive, homogeneous school like Colby has accentuated my unique traits and forced me to pursue interests specific to my skill set.

A very smart man and mentor to me once said, "College is effectively four years of excused unemployment, so take chances and try things while you have a safety net." Taking this concept to heart, I have led an atypical college experience, pursuing many interests outside of school with the hope of finding something that I enjoy and excel at. I have sold hundreds of shoes, run a laundry business into the ground, started a website that allows snowboarders, skateboarders and surfers to define lingo, and was a signature away from dropping out of college to start a tech company with a few friends. None of them were home runs and I doubt that in my one year left on Mayflower Hill I will find my calling, but I think I am finally pointed in the right direction.

Here are some more links,
75 in Maine and a Concert at Bowdoin (Picasa),
12 PM Walk Out (Picasa).

22 comments:

Memphis88 said...

I relinquished my Junior title at midnight last night ( my last final was a paper that was submitted online). If I could go back and do it again, I'd choose a more atypical route. My experience has been a whole lot of boring on campus leadership stuff for a scholarship. I'm told it will benefit me greatly after college, but I'm skeptical. Congratulations on your internship, by the way. I gotta admit I was pretty jealous when I read about it over on 13th and Wolf. I'd love to do something like that.

Foster Huntington said...

Memphis88,
Being a senior is scary, it hasnt sank in yet. Where do you go to school? A year ago i could never have predicted that i would intern for Ralph this summer, not in 1000 years. Its funny how going out in a limb and trying something can lead to unforeseen outcomes. I interned at Rogues Gallery because i liked their aesthetic last fall and it opened up a new world to me. I urge you to take some chances. Send emails, make calls. Brands are pumped to have excited young people involved.
Foster

Daniel said...

Being around people that force you to realize how much of an individual you are can be on of life's most valuable experiences. My dad is a naval officer so I never grew up knowing just one place but I always new that I had a larger world view than most people. I, too, started at a very homogeneous university (UGA), but I realized it wasn't for me. So i moved home to Japan. Now we live in Sicily and these are experiences that I could never have had if I chose to play it safe. I am not exactly sure what I want to do when I move back to the US next summer, but I am much more excited.

And I really enjoy reading your blog because although I don't meet many people who honestly live their lives, it's always enjoyable when I can follow people who are.

Daniel

tons of land said...

i hated school also. just wasn't cut out for studying. that shoe selling story is brilliant. well done.

Memphis88 said...

I'm at the University of Memphis. I will definitely start making calls and sending emails. It certainly can't hurt. Until this year the plan has been law school, but the closer I get the more I realize it's not what I want to do most. I'm concerned with how my major would work though. English is a great degree for law school, but Im not sure how fashion brands would look at it.

Daniel Opalacz said...

Fos,

well done. had a few chuckles along with you here.

componentsofenthusiasm said...

dude, in my opinion this is arguably your best post. great introspection, great understanding of where you've been and where you are now.

uva is also a pretty homogeneous institution, and i remember being annoyed at that when i first arrived. i almost transfered, but stuck it out, and i'm 100% happy with that decision. at homogeneous places like these you raise eyebrows if you do something that's different or like things that most people on campus don't like or simply just aren't familiar with. but in the end what i learned was to just deflect the criticism, do what makes you happy, and surround yourself with close friends who share these unique interests.

as far as senior year goes, i remember finishing my last final my 3rd year, walking out and feeling excited and scared. very bittersweet. 4th year itself? well, let's just say it was nothing short of phenomenal. i wish i could go back and do it just one more time haha. enjoy it man, and live it up!

-paul

Foster Huntington said...

Memphis88,
A lot of people in menswear have no back ground in design. Alex Carleton was a history major. The guy i am working for at RL was an investment banker when he got out of school.
Foster

Foster Huntington said...

Daniel,
Thanks for the kind words. I am flattered. I envy your worldly perspective. How do you like living in Sicily? I have been there once, lots of lemons. Any idea where you will move when you come back states side?
Foster

Foster Huntington said...

Brett,
I have always felt like a round peg in a square hole in the class room.
Foster

Foster Huntington said...

Paul,
I am looking forward to my senior year. It should be fun. This is by far my most personal post and its nice to get good feedback.
Foster

greenjeans said...

First off, congrats on finishing up the year! I hope to hear of you tearing up the streets in NYC this summer.

I really enjoyed this post as well. Being a tad older than you (I finished law school last year)it's always great to hear how other people are experiencing college. For me, I loved undergrad, but couldn't stand law school. It's nice to hear a similar experience of simply not fitting it, but then eventually relishing that fact.

ps. I think the best thing about fashion and the arts in general is that the more varied your background, the better you can be.

Shaun @ TWGA said...

Good luck with your last year. It will be the most fun but the most work. Enjoy college, cause it won't last forever. I learned that just a month ago when I came home from being at the University of Oregon. And I had the same mentality you did. So you're not alone, not at all. Yet now I am working Sales at a clothing line and will be making time to intern at Band of Outsiders. I'm going out on my own limbs here. So I agree completely. Good luck at RL, if your ever in LA shoot me an email.

Daniel said...

Foster
After I leave Sicily, I plan to live in Athens, Georgia (the closest thing to 'home') for about one year and then head to grad school in nyc or wherever i find myself when the time arrives.
Daniel

Foster Huntington said...

Shaun,
How did you like Eugene? Being from Portland, i have known tons of people who have gone there. Good luck with your job and interning at Band of Outsiders, that sounds awesome. I will shoot you an email when i make it to la.
Foster

Foster Huntington said...

Daniel,
What kind of grade school are you going to go to?
Foster

Shaun @ TWGA said...

I loved Eugene. At first it was a culture shock and seasonal depression hit me hard. But without Eugene I would not be where I am today. Taking myself out of my comfort zone expanded my boundaries and made me stronger.

Nevertheless, I wonder if we know any of the same people. I know a ton of people from Portland, mainly people in the Jewish community though I know a few outside as well.

And when do you start at RL in NY? I'm leaving for New York on Tuesday till Friday for work and if your are there we should grab coffee for an hour and talk. I think we would have a lot to talk about and a lot in common. Wait, that sounded creepy. Sorry, it's not necessary but if interested hit me up. I'll email you my number if you want so you can contact me. I don't wanna seem like a freak.

Foster Huntington said...

Shaun,
I start at RL on the 22nd i dont know if we will over lap. id love to meet up sometime, my email is foster.huntington@gmail.com I went to Catlin Gabel, a small private school in portland. about 1 out of 3 kids were Hebrews. i am sure we know some of the same people.
Foster

Shaun @ TWGA said...

No, this trip won't overlap. But there will be plenty more throughout the summer. So, I will keep in contact. And I will see if I know anyone who might know you.

Also, I noticed that you were entered into the SSLA/ATTG Pinewood Derby. Are you coming out or just sending a car and how is that going? I need to start. It's coming up quickly.

Daniel said...

Foster
Probably history or English. I will be in New York from May 18th to May 26, we should meet up.
Daniel

Foster Huntington said...

Daniel,
Sounds like a plan, email me at foster.huntington@gmail.com when you get to nyc.
Foster

Isaac Buie said...

I've really enjoyed reading this post and everyone's comments about it. Thank you foster for your integrity and grit. It's inspiring. You will be a great success.