New Place, New Pace

Carl Coffey photoIn high school, Carl Coffey was a sprinter. During four years of track, he never ran a race that lasted more than two minutes—usually less than 20 seconds. But when we caught up with him during his first week at Randolph, he was rushing off to cross-country practice.

Good-bye 20 seconds, hello 20 minutes.

“I definitely didn’t plan on doing cross-country,” says the first-year from Richmond, Virginia. When he was accepted to Randolph, Coffey started talking to the cross-country coach, who said the sport would be great conditioning for tennis, which Coffey plans to pursue in the spring.

Coffey decided he just couldn’t pass up such a cool opportunity. “It’s part of being some the first guys here,” he says. “There are a lot of things we can take advantage of, a lot of opportunities that have been opened up for us.”

“Plus my aunt is a cross-country coach at Smith College in Massachusetts,” Coffey adds. “I figure if she was really good at cross-country, maybe I have it in my genes.”

Coffey applied to a lot of colleges, including Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. But none of them had that “home-like” quality Coffey wanted from a small, liberal arts school. Then a high-school friend convinced him to visit Randolph.

“People really cared that I came to the school,” Coffey remembers. “I got a chance to talk to a lot of professors who really cared about my interests and what I wanted out of my college education.” Coffey credits his decision to attend Randolph to the warm welcome he received before he was even accepted.

Coffey’s excited about his first-semester classes, especially Introduction to Psychology and an English seminar called “Marriage and Family.”

Although he’s not rushing into declaring a major, Coffey’s leaning toward psychology, particularly child psychology. He thinks the seminar, which explores hot-button issues like gay marriage, civil unions, and dysfunctional families, could be a good primer for family counseling.

As a first-year, Coffey’s meeting new people every minute. And he continues to feel that same welcoming spirit he experienced during his first visit to campus, even from upperclasswomen who might not have agreed with the decision to go coed.

“It turns out we like the school for the same reasons they do,” says Coffey, citing the small classes, rigorous academics and close relationships with professors.

Coffey would love to talk more, but he’s going to be late for cross-country practice. Good thing he still knows how to sprint.