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Welcome to Colorado College!

Here's a message and some advice from the communications office summer interns, Arielle '12, Laurie '12 and Katie '12:

ArielleLaurieKatie

Firstly and most importantly: congratulations, and welcome! You’ve made the decision to attend Colorado College, and we couldn’t be more excited to have you with us!

While you’re busy celebrating your decision to come to CC, we’d like to make mention of a few crucial things that the brochure may have somewhat glossed over. While the packet does a great job at informing you of the basics, there are some things about life at CC you just cannot prepare for until you’ve experienced it. With that in mind, check out our answers to these questions, and get excited!

What surprised you about CC when you first arrived?

Arielle: The CC community is immediate and inescapable. There are so many people who, on your first day, are asking you about yourself and checking in with you and asking if you need help lofting your bed and about your favorite flavor of ice cream. The inquisitiveness and natural curiosity of CC students was immediately apparent, and you’re pulled in right away. It’s exhilarating and exciting.

Laurie: One of the things I was most surprised by upon my arrival at CC was the pace at which people function. It’s Block Plan pace - turnover is daily, sometimes hourly, and you have to be working quickly and to an extremely high standard. I love it, I thrive on it, but I wouldn’t say I was initially ready for it. It certainly smacked me in the face a bit, albeit, lovingly so!

Katie: I was shocked at how many people were willing to talk to me. Other freshmen, I mean, and upperclassmen and faculty and staff. I shook so many hands and learned so many names and made so many Facebook friends in those first 48 hours. To be part of a student body like this is exhilarating because everyone is intelligent and friendly and terrified, just like you. Everyone has so much energy. They’re so ready to do and to be. It was incredible. The first steps you take into this community are incredible.

What do you wish you had known?

Arielle: The Block Plan and NSO are very tightly scheduled, and the quick pace can tire you out. You jump right into in with your First Year Experience, and I remember looking at my syllabus on the first day and thinking, “Wait, I have how much reading to do tonight?! And a paper to write?” It’s a little intimidating at first, but eventually the rhythm becomes the most natural, comfortable thing in the world.

Laurie: I wish I’d been warned as to just how much the initial altitude adjustment tires you out. Now, I do have some respiratory issues, so it was  perhaps worse for me than others. However, that shouldn’t diminish the importance of altitude awareness. It will get to you, somehow, and wear you down during your FYE and NSO, never mind dancing up a storm at the video dance party. Deep breaths, that’s all I can say.

Katie: From the beginning, you’ll be told to “get out there” right away and make the most of your CC experience, if only to take advantage of the variety of people you meet while you’re here. During my first semester, I knew I should “get out there,” but I didn’t believe I could. I wish I had. When I finally auditioned and was cast for a play during seventh block of freshman year, it was like the last piece of the college puzzle clicked into place. This place is so alive. There’s so much to see and do - famous lecturers, extracurricular activities, clubs, parties, community service - and there isn’t enough time. Don’t waste a block. Someone will astound you every day. Let it happen.

What do you wish you had brought with you?

Arielle: Less stuff. Seriously. When you’re packing at home and wondering if you need something, chances are you don’t (with the exception of sweaters. Never can have too many.). I brought a shelf full of books, all of which stayed on the shelf for the entire year, and I learned the lightweight joys of ebooks eventually. I brought about a million scarves but no jacket. (Don’t do that. Bring a jacket.)

Laurie: A good pair of headphones can be a real lifesaver at CC. They’re particularly useful in the dorms and library, where focusing on homework becomes of the utmost importance.They might be a little expensive, but are a really worthwhile investment. Also, a good medium-weight jacket, ideally wind and waterproof . It will save you a huge amount of hassle in adding or removing layers of clothing as the Colorado weather dismantles your carefully assembled “look” for the day (hipsters, take note!).

Katie: My Harry Potter books. All seven. People say that it’s hard to find time to read for pleasure on the Block Plan, and they’re right. I don’t have a TV or a game console or in my room, but when I need to relax or take a break from homework, it’s easy to make time for Harry. I’m not ashamed to admit that the series basically became my security blanket freshman year. Also, prioritize your music collection. Certain tracks - you know what yours are - will save you, too.

How did you find adjusting to the Block Plan?

Arielle: It’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy. Everyone who chose it is crazy, too. Beware. It is a big adjustment—the biggest, to be sure. It’s totally different from anything (unless you’ve been on the Block Plan before, in which case, kudos), but the rhythm comes naturally once you’ve been at it for a block or two. I remember finishing the first block of my FYE (History of Performance) and feeling so accomplished, then sprawling out on the grass on the quad and just breathing.

Laurie: It’s useless me saying this now, with the benefit of hindsight, but try to remain calm. Is that utterly impossible? Yes, it is. It’s barking mad, but if you can adjust well during your FYE, that will put you in great stead for the rest of your CC career. Even if you struggle initially, as I did in my FYE (Tradition and Change in Literature), you’ll find you’re surrounded by others in the same boat. That support network generated through stress and struggle is unspeakably helpful. Just keep going. It gets better with time.

Katie: Before I got to CC, its reputation for tough academics terrified and intimidated me. I constantly worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that college coursework would be too hard, etc. I was so relieved when classes began and I realized how unfounded all of my fears had been. I guess I never felt like I had to “adjust” to the Block Plan. Don’t get me wrong - my FYE (Thinking Sociologically and Sociology of Family) was one of the most academically strenuous two months I’ve ever been through. But from the first day, I’ve felt like the Block Plan was made for me, or at least made for the way I learn. If I’d taken those classes in any other fashion, I know my own investment in the experience would have been totally limited. The way I see it, you either love the Block Plan or you don’t, and those who love it just thrive. Honestly, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. It’s cheesy. But I’ve never really looked back.

And finally, if the zombie apocalypse comes, what advice do you have for us?

Arielle: Run for Canada. I’m pretty sure no one actually lives there anyway, and zombies don’t like cold or wilderness where they actually have to hunt down their prey. Learn to hunt and eat next to nothing and live in a cave. Or find Will Smith and make a cure using his blood. Either works.

Laurie: Stockpile high protein and carbohydrate-rich foods in trees, devise a solar water still to maintain a steady supply, befriend the squirrels, and acquire a devastating and unlimited flame-thrower. Stay out of dark places, remain in sunlight at all times. Open ground gives you a massive advantage of distance and eliminates the element of surprise which the undead rely upon so heavily. The rest is down to luck and whether or not the zombies like the taste of Block Plan brains. We live in hope.

Katie: Get to the second story, fill the bathtub with water so you have substantial nourishment reserves, burn down the stairs to ward off the undead, and play the waiting game. It’s kind of like finals week at CC: pro-activity is key.