BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2018
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with about 100 students in the graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
Extracurricular Activities: I participated in this club called Justice Watch, which is basically when you go down to the courthouse and make sure that the public defenders and the DA are acting in fulfillment of their duties. I also worked with the college radio station on occasion.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
We basically had readings and papers. We don’t have a lot of tests in history. We had some projects, and in the high-level classes there are more research papers. I did have classes where it was sometimes 20 to 30 pages of reading, but more frequently it was like 100 pages of reading.
How did the Block Plan affect your coursework?
Everything’s coming at you on a daily basis. You have to be good at getting things done in a small window of time and procrastinating because things are coming at you so quickly. More often than not you are finishing your final paper the weekend and a couple of days after before it is due. So usually like 4 or 5 days.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think they have some really high-level faculty. Just like true heavy hitters and they’re really just a pleasure to take classes with. They know how to foster good in class discussions and assign readings that are compelling enough that people will become engaged and it’s actually entertaining to be in class.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
In cases, you can tell people are competitive. But I think you can tell that it’s more individuals than the overall vibe. The kids tend to be more collaborative generally discussion takes a pretty positive tone.
Why did you choose History? Are you happy with your choice?
I was deciding what major I should be as a second-semester sophomore and I looked at what I’d done and realized I’d already taken half the History requirements and then some. It’s a pretty small major, it’s 9 classes plus two or three blocks of thesis. Compared to a lot of majors it has relatively few requirements. I saw it as a way of being like, “Oh, I can finish my major in a on semester worth of classes and do whatever I will with the other three semesters that I don’t have to take History courses for.”
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Slocum Hall, but its name is being changed to South Hall. I lived in a triple. We lived in a pretty big room with two other kids who [I got along with] which made my freshman year pretty fantastic.
Sophomore: I had a really good housing slot so lived in Jackson, which is more of an upperclassman dorm. It’s just this really beautiful old house that they converted into housing. I lived in a double with a roommate that I selected. That was also a good year.
Junior: I lived off-campus. I think the case for incoming classes is more and more that you can only live off campus for senior year. I lived in a house with seven other people. I recommend living with fewer people because it was a mess.
Senior: I lived off-campus and it was a house of five people which I thought was a lot nicer. My roommates were pretty active and would get off campus a lot, so often there was only three or four of us in the house. I was also living with four girls and that also made it better. I just thought that was better than the house I lived in before which was mostly dudes.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I was always a big fan of the day hikes. Red Rocks is really nice and that’s about 10 minutes away. Palmer Park is 10 minutes away and is nice and tends to be pretty empty. If I’m trying to do something bigger, I go up to Cheyenne Canyon, and you actually gain a bunch of elevation when you go up there. It’s a really pretty place to view the springs from. You can also do it without getting out of your car. All those places are places you need cars for. You have to rely on friends with cars, which I happened to have. Your mobility beyond campus totally depends on your access to a car.
Pros and Cons of being in Colorado Springs, CO?
Pros: (1) Cost of living and pace of living. It’s really nice in that respect.
(2) It’s also just really beautiful.
Cons: (1) It does tend to run pretty conservatively. I guess that’s not a negative for some people, I guess. You probably want to be a liberal at the school. It’s conservative and you have more radical conservatives here. [See Rolling Stone article “Beyond ‘BlacKkKlansman’: Colorado Springs and the Legacy of ‘the Hate State.’”
(2) It is culturally less interesting than a lot of other cities of this size.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Freshman and sophomore year, I would typically go out at least three times a week. As my friends started to have their own houses junior and senior year, I started going to less random parties and more smaller shindigs of like 20-40 people. There are still the big parties that happen and I would stop by them every once and a while. Even though it’s a small school, you can still have as much fun as you probably should have and then some.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Friday and Saturday are the biggest because classes generally start at 9AM. More often than not, most people have class at 9AM. So, the biggest nights are by far the weekend. Wednesday night is also a popular night.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
So often people would have people over in their dorm and usually go out to house parties. Basically, the party scene is kind of in the hands of the juniors and seniors who move off campus. Now, it’s more and more just seniors who get to live off campus. You can’t really have a full-scale party in the dorms. Parties usually start at 11 and go until late at the houses.
What have been your favorite days or nights at Colorado College?
Llamapalooza is a big favorite over the years. That’s our end of year music festival. Usually the last day of school there’s a big all-day party that’s always been fun. There’s this thing called Party on the Beach where everyone goes out to A-Basin [Arapaho Basin] for a party and skis. It’s in May, but A-Basin is open late into the season. There is definitely a wide range of things to do, but I mostly just party at CC. I’m not the best representation of what people do.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I felt like I could’ve gone out of my own social group more. CC is a small enough of a place that’s it’s easy to make it even smaller than it has to be. There’s plenty of fun to be had at CC. there’s always something fun to do, especially if you have a car there’s something that’s outdoors to do.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Freshman year I met a lot of them. And then from that on there’s just a web of people that spread out and you end meeting a lot of people with similar interests and sort of conglomerate. Often your closest friends end up being whoever you ended up being tossed in with freshman year.
Do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think that CC unfortunately does tend to be somewhat segregated. Thinking from my experience back in Baltimore, I think that that experience made me come in contact with more people of color on a daily basis. And also, I can’t say that I have many friends of color at CC either. I think that’s partly my fault, and I think that’s also the nature of the school to some extent. CC is really working on becoming a more diverse place, but it historically isn’t really. I think a part of that is being in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs is predominantly white by a pretty significant margin. [About 24% of students are domestic students of color. About 69% of residents of Colorado Springs is White.]
How would you describe the overall social scene at Colorado College?
There’s a lot of kids just trying to make fun for themselves. It doesn’t have as much vitality as a big state school. But kids figure out how to make fun for themselves, and it’s not like you’re going to school in the middle of a cornfield. You can go off campus and do stuff too. The fun is not as much coming from Colorado Springs, it’s more coming from the people at the school.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Colorado College by senior year?
Yeah, I think so. I think most people leave having really enjoyed CC. And I think it’s also becoming politically a more interesting place. There are factions of the student body who feel that it’s becoming overly politically correct, but I also personally believe that it’s becoming more accepting and more politically vital.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Colorado College before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew that I could take time off for myself. I always felt that I had to be pushing along and going out and doing things all the time. I think if I just spaced out a little more time just for myself, it probably would have benefited me and the time that I did spend with my friends and peers.
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The top of Shove Chapel is a really nice place to view campus but I don’t think tour groups will go up there because it’s a narrow staircase. It’s beyond a doubt the most spectacular view you can find on campus.
Reasons to attend Colorado College:
1) You’re going to be surrounded by a lot of cool people.
2) From an outdoors perspective, there aren’t many schools that rival Colorado College.
3) Academically, it’s a super exciting place to be as an undergraduate.
4) If you’re looking for a party scene you might find at Ohio State, you probably don’t want to come to CC. I think that having a smaller and more intimate party scene where you still might have a couple hundred kids at a party, and more at some of the bigger events, is nice because you know most of the people at any given place.
5) Half Blocks are awesome. I highly recommend taking them. It’s free and an easy way to get a half credit.
Reasons to not attend Colorado College:
1) I think it’s something they’re working on, but CC still does attract this hyper affluent class of people. Not to bash those people, because I think there’s a lot of them that are spectacularly interesting and cool people, but I think it can be isolating for the less affluent students. [The median household income at Colorado College is $277,500 and 24% of students come from the socioeconomic top 1%.]
2) I think by senior year, part of the nature of a small school is you might start to get kind of sick of being around the same people. I think Colorado Springs can feel a little bit of a small place.