BackgroundInterview Date:July 2017
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 100 students. There was a culture of going to college.
Minor: None, I’m not sure whether I’m going to do one yet.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
Since I’m on the Block Plan, we go through the material really fast. It’s pretty much a chapter or two every day, or a week’s load of work in a day. For homework, I will have to read the textbook, complete a lab, write a lab report, or do a presentation, but usually it’s reading the text and going over class notes. We have midterms and finals each block. Those are a pretty large portion of our grade.
Did you especially like or dislike anything about your major’s department? Did they do anything especially well or poorly?
Neuroscience as an undergraduate major is not super common. The reason for that is there’s only so much of the actual neuroscience material you can get to because there are so many requirements you have to take first. The school does a good job of offering interesting courses and supporting students. The professors are extremely helpful when it comes to doing research with them. The paid research opportunities are more limited in neuroscience because it’s a newer department so their funding is limited. The professors are really, really great.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s pretty rigorous for my major. There are a lot of required courses that you need to take. It’s one of the harder majors at the school. Due to the nature of having less funding for research, it can get more competitive than other majors at the school. But, in general, it’s not an extremely competitive environment. They strive to have it not be competitive, and I think that is something they accomplish well. Overall, it’s not competitive but my major can get more competitive than others.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
So far, Basic Neuroscience 101 and 102. It’s a double block course where you have to take the course in two consecutive blocks so you retain everything from the prior class.
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Molecular Biology, it had a lot to do with the professor.
What is a fun class you have taken outside of your major?
Sociology of Healthcare. It’s way up there with my favorite classes overall. I liked it because it was very relevant to what I’m learning but you never learn it in my major.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
It just fascinates me a lot. You have to commit to it pretty soon in your college career, so I came in with the idea of doing it and stuck with it. I’m on the pre-med track and neuroscience fits well with the pre-med required courses. I’m happy with my choice.
On and Around Campus
Pros and cons of being in Colorado Springs?
Pros: The pros are huge. (1) The fact we’re in Colorado is pretty incredible and being in such a gorgeous location with so much nature is awesome.
(2) It’s a super sunny place. [There are about 300 days of sun a year.]
(3) All the outdoor activities are super accessible if you have a car. The mountains are really close by.
Cons: (1) The community of CC not being super tied to the community.
(2) For some people that are really looking to be in a bigger city, that’s a con because Denver and Boulder are 1.5-2 hours away.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I tend to go out Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Some people go out on Sundays too. There aren’t regular places that I go to. It’s kind of whatever’s happening. It’s mostly house parties and whatever’s happening usually spreads by word of mouth. All the parties are off-campus in neighborhoods. In general, there’s a lot of party bouncing and walking around. One really great thing about CC is that parties are really not exclusive at all. So pretty much anybody can get in, but it can get pretty crowded too. Parties getting super crowded is one thing that isn’t ideal.
What is an alternative to going to a party or bar that you like for a night out?
A huge portion of campus just hangs out with their friends in the evenings at somebody’s house in smaller groups. That’s a big thing as you get older.
What have been your favorite times at Colorado College?
For sure the block breaks. They’re a four-and-a-half-day break between blocks. I have been able to go on camping trips with my friends or go skiing for a whole block break. I think those have been absolutely my favorite times because you can get off campus. People try to explore Colorado and neighboring states. It’s super unique to CC.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you’d change if you could?
I’m very happy with them.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through mutual friends at the time. I think the school is small enough that even coming into college it becomes a network of people pretty rapidly. I met one of my best friends on a block break together, that’s another awesome way to make friends.
How would you describe the social scene?
It can be a little bit fragmented. I think the biggest divide you see is between athletes and non-athletes. Sports culture is not something that my school revolves around or is glorified, so I think a lot of times sports players tends to hang out with other sports players so there’s a separation there. That doesn’t mean that’s a hard and fast rule, but it’s definitely something that’s felt on campus. I don’t think that there is a social hierarchy at my school, which is super cool. The fact that sports culture isn’t glorified and that Greek culture life isn’t super prominent on campus allows there to not have the same level of social hierarchy that you see at other schools.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Not that much. I think more so people of different sexual orientations mix. In terms of race, our campus is predominantly White and I think that can absolutely be difficult for students of color on campus. So no, there’s not as much mixing of races as there ideally would be. [In Fall 2017, 66% of students were White.]
What is the impact of Greek Life?
It’s not super impactful. I have friends that are part of Greek life and, for them, it works really well and they like it a lot. In terms of campus life, Greek life is pretty inconsequential and doesn’t have much impact, which I think is certainly the preference for a lot of CC students.
Do you think that people love Colorado College by their senior year?
I think so, yeah. I think the majority of people say they like or love CC by senior year. I do think a common complaint is that it can feel too small by senior year. There are people that don’t like CC or feel indifferent to it, but they are not in the majority. I do think CC is the type of place where it either works for you or it doesn’t because it’s a pretty specific community in terms of the people there.
Have you used the career center? If so, how helpful are they?
Yeah, I have. I’ve gone more so for support within my major and so I didn’t find it particularly helpful in terms of the help they provide. I think it’s more so for people that really have no idea what they’re doing and are more all over the place. I haven’t gone there for any type of career counseling. I did send in a resume and they offered to help me revise it and they did that pretty immediately. I do get emails from them often with different internships or job opportunities, so they do a good job in that sense, but I haven’t really gotten to the point where I’ve used them to their full potential.
Have you learned any skills or computer programs that will be applicable professionally?
I learned R in a Probability and Statistics course which was cool and helpful.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew before entering Colorado College?
I think I wish I knew more about how students who go to CC and like CC feel about the Block Plan. It’s interesting going there as a Neuroscience major because you learn that, in terms of retaining information, the Block Plan isn’t the best way to learn. For most students at CC, it may work for them better if they’re bad at time management or juggling classes than it would work for other students. I also would have liked to have a better sense of the demographics on campus. [In Fall 2017, 66% of students were White. About 24% of students come from the socioeconomic top 1%.]
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Either go check out Pike’s Peak or Garden of the Gods because those are places off campus that are very cool. It’s cool to check out nightlife when you come too or go to a slam poetry event or some type of coffee house thing.
Reasons to attend Colorado College:
1) Location, location, location. That is for sure one of them. It’s amazing and has so much to do.
2) People at CC are so vibrant. They like doing things are engaged in everything, which is so cool I think. There’s also a huge outdoors community. If you’re not doing that, there are other things you can be very involved in. There’s lots of passion on campus. It’s a pretty intentional community in a lot of ways in terms of being receptive to student needs and creating a sense of community on campus.
3) Block breaks is another reason. They are by far my favorite part of the school. It’s really awesome we get that time.
4) Some people would swear by the block plan.
Reasons to not attend Colorado College:
1) Racial and socioeconomic diversity is very much lacking. If that’s something you’re looking for don’t go. [66% of students were White as of Fall 2017. Socioeconomically, 67% of students come from the top 10%.]
2) If you want a big school, don’t go.
3) If you don’t like the Block Plan or don’t think it will work for you, don’t go.
4) If you’re more conservative in general or in political views, be aware what you’re walking into.
5) If you’re looking for a sports culture or big Greek life don’t go. Not that you can’t find those things at CC and that the people that are involved in those things aren’t happy, but life at CC doesn’t revolve around those things.