Colin Farrill ’07 is a guy who rarely says no. Whatever comes his way, there’s a 99% chance he’s going to embrace it.
Because for him, unfamiliar, unexpected, uncomfortable – these are all just synonyms for opportunity.
“When I’m faced with choices I know could significantly shift the course of my life, I call them ‘choose-your-own-adventure moments,’” said Farrill, who lives in Chicago and is a senior account director at the software company Salesforce. “These moments are few and far between, especially as you get older. But there is significant value in challenging yourself and saying ‘yes’ to something that sounds crazy or pulls you outside your comfort zone – even when you might want to say ‘no.’”
“Sometimes things can be daunting or risky, but the reward of the experience is living.”
Consider his recent run on season 19 of the reality show, “The Bachelorette.”
Caught off-guard when a friend wanted to connect him with a casting director for the show, Farrill at first wasn’t remotely interested.
“Being on reality TV wasn’t on my radar; I didn’t immediately see the value. Family, friends, health, career and adventure already fulfilled my life. I thought, ‘Who wants to be the old guy on a dating show?’” Farrill recalled. “However, I quickly realized this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity knocking on my door.”
“Before I knew it, they were telling me that I was what they were looking for. And then I was stepping out of the limo.”
(A limo is how contestants arrive on the opening episode.)
While Farrill, 36, was eliminated in the early weeks of the show, he would do it again in an instant.
“It drew on my sense of adventure. I love coming face-to-face with the unknown,” he said. “There is something thrilling about walking into an environment, not knowing what to expect, and having to rely on your knowledge and skill set to thrive.”
Farrill, whose hobbies include performing improv and sketch comedy, also made some new friends.
“Although there wasn’t the strongest connection between myself and the two bachelorettes, I did make so many strong connections with the rest of the bachelors,” he said. “Being the oldest member of the cast, I quickly realized my role in the house was that of a mentor to a large group of ambitious, young guys. It brought me back to my time in Sigma Chi at Union, where I built some of my strongest, lifelong friendships.”
Indeed, several Union experiences stand out to Farrill as he looks back on his time in Schenectady. His service as a student trustee, Sigma Chi and his term abroad in England.
On the College’s Board of Trustees, the likes of Mark Walsh ’76 (former board chair), Jason Oshins ’87 and Valerie Hoffman ’75 inspired him “to achieve greater and work harder in hopes that one day I could return as a board member and continue to give back to Union.”
In England, surrounded by new places, people and challenges, Farrill learned to embrace adventure and discovery, and make them enduring passions.
And in Sigma Chi, he joined a rank of “like minded brothers who strove to cultivate lifelong friendships, foster leadership and promote positive relationships.”
“This experience laid the foundation of many of the intangible skills I use every day in my career, on stage or even walking into the Bachelor Mansion filled with 31 strangers.”
Farrill majored in history and minored in psychology. If you’re ever in Chicago, he performs improv and sketch comedy regularly at The Second City. It inspires his creativity and pushes him out of his comfort zone, and that he said, means he’s always learning and always growing.