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Being a Massachusetts resident, I often get bombarded with questions on why I came to CU; questions I never have a solid or quick response for. Looking back on my decision-making process, I realize it wasn’t one single event that shaped my opinion, but many.
College decisions are the most important choices the average high school student makes. Many see a degree from “Prestigious University X” as the immediate solution to life’s problems and as the first step toward true independence and adulthood. This may define college choice for some, but it is not the reason that I decided to apply to the University of Colorado.
My desire to attend CU was fostered out of an unusual circumstance: the fact that my father taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and exposed me to the rabid, yet somehow tongue-in-cheek rivalry between the Engineers and the [Rensselaer] Red Army; society’s mental giants having cast their lot at one institution and automatically disavowed the other. The concept of university shenanigans and cutthroat rivalries frightened me as a young boy and I would frequently hear of dastardly deeds perpetrated by “those damn Reds,” who had the audacity to steal the Kappa Epsilon dorm banner, sully it with anti-WPI graffiti and mail it [anonymously] back to campus. How could they be so evil? Were they tired of being second-best to WPI, the school that was clearly the greatest place ever?
These musings rattled around inside my 10-year-old head, casting a bleak outlook on all universities and colleges alike, but they became dormant embers of college insanity when my father transferred to another job. The embers burst into flame that fateful September day when I received my first recruiting letter from CU.
The letter did not appear outwardly evil; it was not written in goat blood or accented with pentagrams in every paragraph. It was just a simple recruiting letter, and beyond its lack of a demonic presence, it helped stoke my ego. I am a simple man, I like attention and this was a form of that. All my old thoughts about mischievous university behavior rushed back to me like a tidal wave, and I remembered the intrigue I felt. My awe for WPI had fallen by the wayside recently, because it appeared much too narrowly focused for my tastes. I had to find out more about CU, this enigma which clearly churned out influential, successful people with astonishing regularity. I dialed the number on the form and set up a visit.
The drive to the airport was uneventful, my father steering the helm of my future through the sparkling waters of destiny. Upon arrival, I noticed a stark contrast between the architecture of the buildings and their purpose—rustic, antiquated buildings housing computer systems that would make Bill Gates blush. It was a Harry Potter feel, right down to the enormous dining hall and the house system and it was impressive. Buildings and appearance are nice, but they never strongly influenced any of my application decisions. In the end, it came down to interactions with the people.
The students at CU proved to be very relaxed and self-deprecating, a far cry from the experience I had at WPI, where everyone was seriously doing something seriously serious, seriously. I wanted to be a part of this program simply because of the overall campus attitude—accomplish great things, yet focus on how you accidentally managed to elbow a girl in the face the last time you went swing dancing.
The students seemed like my high school friends; outgoing and always up for a good time, yet knowing when to settle down and study and that subjective impression went further than anything else in deciding where I would go to school. The possibility of being one of the world’s greatest, while keeping my soul.
A generic desire perhaps, but my reasons for choosing CU do not need to make sense to everyone else. This is simply the progression, from fear of the “unknown evil” to piqued interest brought on by attention and then the realization that CU students were my kind of people. It was a conflux of past and present which prompted my application and provided joy when the acceptance letter arrived.
And fine, the prospect of a CU degree to prove how smart I am influenced me. But just a little.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Adrian Kun at Adria.email@example.com.