Through the gap year program, Samuel Richards '16 spent the year after his high-school graduation in a flurry of activity—volunteering, completing internships and sharpening his French language skills while traveling the globe. He makes the most of his time on campus too, delving deep into new subjects and getting involved in a variety of intramural-sport, social, academic and service organizations. “Now that I’m a junior, I realize how quickly [time at college] goes by, and I appreciate it even more,” he says. “I have learned to enjoy it every day.”
Read Sam's thoughts about the power gratitude, self-acceptance and individuality, and find out which professor he describes as “a hurricane of positive energy.”
Clubs and organizations:
Phi Delta Theta (social chair), Interfraternity Council (Rush chair), the Crescendevils, Equestrian Club, LGBTQ Student Mentor program, French Club and Zumba instructor.
On choosing a major:
French was easy—I have been a Francophile since grammar school. [Regarding art & art history,] I am a very visual person; I have always been intrigued by line, color and representation. I also love a good mystery, so I am drawn to abstract artists like Willem de Kooning.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil [by John Berendt], because I love mystery, drama and fantasy.
On choosing Dickinson:
What really sealed the deal was my revisit. I strongly believe that instinct plays a strong role in picking the correct college, and when I came to Dickinson, it just felt right.
Favorite place on campus:
A high table in the Caf, because I love people-watching.
[Associate Professor of American Studies] Jerry Philogene. I initially signed up for her class, Caribbean Diasporic Identities, to fill a distribution requirement, but [the class] became much more to me than that. She has such a zeal and passion for teaching, even at 9 a.m. I never needed a Starbucks before her class, because she is a hurricane of positive energy. I love it.
On my internships:
I interned [in the archives at] the Willem de Kooning Foundation in the summer and early fall of 2011. It was an opportunity that graduate students often fight over, and it was truly an amazing experience. While I was there, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC was putting on their Willem de Kooning retrospective, the largest single exhibition that MoMA has ever presented. I also interned as an assistant to the chief curator at the Newark Museum, helping to prepare for an exhibition, City of Silver and Gold: From Tiffany to Cartier.
W.E., which tells the story of Wallis [Simpson] and [King] Edward [VII]. It is the flip side of the story in The King’s Speech.
On seeing the world:
Before I came to Dickinson, I took a gap year. I studied, interned, volunteered and traveled to France, England, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, South Korea, Cambodia, Singapore, Togo, Senegal and Morocco, immersing myself in many different cultures and improving my French. When you are abroad, you learn so much, and I loved experiencing something new and exciting every day.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
I’ve learned to enjoy every day and hold a positive attitude. Even when I am stressed, I try to remember how blessed I am to attend college—Dickinson, in particular. I won’t be able to stay here forever, unfortunately.
Who inspires me, and why:
Britney Spears, because she has been through hell and back. She faces scrutiny, ridicule and criticism, but she never loses [sight of] who she is or what she stands for. That’s why she is still selling out arenas. I always try to remember this quotation of hers: “Never doubt yourself. Never change who you are. Don't care what people think. Just go for it.”
Published August 13, 2014