Last May, I finished my four-year haul of high school. In a few short months, I would kiss overbearing teachers, curfews, 37 minute lunches and asking permission to use the bathroom goodbye! I was so excited, I was nervous, I was anxious, I was terrified, I couldn’t wait… If you’re a senior in high school and a prospective Mines student, I’m sure you can relate. Four years of slaving over your GPA and perfecting those test scores start to grind on your soul. While you are more certain that you’re ready to move on from high school than anything in your life, while you just KNOW you’re ready for a new chapter, you question if you’re ready for college. Not just any college, Mines.
Or maybe I’m the only one who felt like that. But for all intents and purposes, I’ll pretend like you have.
I don’t know what other people have heard about Mines, but I heard it all. Students committing suicide after every test, the best and the brightest broken down to sniveling fractions of their former glory, teachers that blew fire when a question was answered incorrectly… Okay, I made that last one up. But you get the point. This school is impossible, no one survives, a Fire Swamp if you will (shout out to my Princess Bride lovers!).
Here’s the deal. Every fear, every premonition, every hesitancy, every doubt that you have about not just college but Colorado School of Mines, they’re all completely true. No I’m TOTALLY kidding. Scrap them all!! Just forget about it. Don’t let your teacher, your brother, your friend, your dog or yourself tell you that you can’t do it. You can! And believe it or not, this place doesn’t actually resemble purgatory.
I’ve been here for exactly one month. Let me tell you, this has been the most incredible month of my entire life.
You’re on your own, you get to make your own decisions, set your own rules, decide what you value and what you’re going to put effort into. In one month I have been challenged, transformed and matured like I have NEVER before experienced. I am so excited for everyone who gets to experience that. These times really are life changing, and I’ve only just begun.
At Mines, you are surrounded by people who are not only good at math and science, they are passionate about it. My first time hanging out with my now best friend Paige and my other buddy James, I mentioned how much I loved Calculus I. Bracing myself for the emotional abuse that was sure to be coming my way, I hesitantly glanced over to see James smiling like a fool. “I loved it too!” We then proceeded to geek about its awesomeness for several minutes. I’m among my people, and boy does it feel good.
My first month here has had an over-riding theme that is two-fold. The first part is how incredible it is to live among nerds. To every Pokémon fan, Star Wars die-hard, Lord of the Rings zealot, to every math-loving-science-caring-puzzle-solving “freak,” to the techies who can disassemble a computer with their hands tied, to the maniacs who sort the world into neat equations, numbers and statistics, there is a place where you can not only belong, but flourish. That place is called Mines.
The second part has to do with getting involved. In my first week, I connected with Paige like she was my sister. We then got plugged into a Christian organization called CRU, a local church, study groups, Frisbee teams, and softball. With each new commitment came a new structure of support and love. Our two-man team has evolved to include two dozen friends who at any one time can provide the support we need to get through the day. If that means a chat at four in the morning or a hike up South Table, it happens. Is it hard? Yes. Am I terrified for my first round of tests this week? Absolutely! But have the people I’ve met made it not only plausible but even enjoyable? Without a doubt.
In short. My first month has been a success. While my sleep pattern is not in existence and I eat my feelings daily with my unlimited meal plan, I’m happy. I wouldn’t want to be on any other campus in the entire world. That’s a fact!