By Rachel Yen
As a tour guide, I finish every tour by telling the group how I came to choose CU Boulder. While on a tour you might expect to hear that I had grown up always dreaming of attending CU Boulder, but this isn’t quite the truth. Instead, I never considered CU Boulder for the majority of my college-selection process. While every high school junior or senior has a list of schools that they’re considering, this list can be rather limiting. My list never included CU Boulder and I only visited because of a routine visit with family in Denver. With a free day and nice weather, my family and I headed up to Boulder, just for fun. There was no real thought or possibility that I’d actually attend. But as I walked around the campus, something felt a little different than previous college tours. My parents later told me that they too noticed a change in my expression as we walked around.
But even as I headed into the fall semester of my senior year, I still stuck to the schools on my list. Not until December did I let my mind wander back to my time in Boulder. When I took a moment to see if what I thought I had wanted all along was what I really wanted, I realized that the schools on my list were where I thought I should be, not where I needed to be.
As tours come to an end, I try to leave guests with one last piece of advice; keep your options open. I remember in high school that it seemed like everyday people were asking each other about which schools were on their list, like it was some sort of competition. It’s easy and understandable that many high school students get caught up in the prestige of a school rather than what is truly the best fit on an individual level. Throughout the college process, I was adamant that I didn’t want to go to a big school or a cold one. Yet, here I am absolutely loving my year and a half thus far in Boulder.
Boulder seems to fit me better than all those other schools and yet this was far from apparent at the beginning of my college search. And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’re looking for when you haven’t really had that much time to even start looking. But as I walked around CU Boulder’s campus, surrounded by the Tuscan red roofs and gorgeous view of the Flatirons, I felt comfortable and at ease with the possibility of spending four years here. There was a sense of self-assurance that I would find the people I belonged with on this campus. I knew that the breadth of this campus would allow me to explore both my academic and personal goals.
I’m sure I would have been fine had I attended one of the schools on my original list, but taking the time to truly consider the best fit has proved to be invaluable. When you’re immersed in the pressures of high school, it can be easy to consider all of the opinions except your own. But, it’s okay to go to the school that no one’s heard of or that you maybe didn’t consider until the last minute. These are your four years and if you take the time to truly find what’s best for you, you’ll find that as the summer before your first semester comes to an end and you begin your first few weeks at college, the opinions of your classmates will pale in comparison to how you feel in your new home.