If you’d asked me at the beginning of my junior year of high school where I wanted to go for college, I would have said, “I don’t know, probably somewhere in-state.” If you’d asked me that same question at the beginning of senior year, I would have told you whatever college was the furthest from home. And that is exactly where I am at now (1,122.6 miles from home to be exact).
My name is Katelyn Martin and I am currently a sophomore at CU Boulder. But how I decided to come to CU begins where most college decision stories start: senior year of high school. At the beginning of my senior year, I had come to the realization that I needed to go out of state. I realized that staying in Louisiana just wasn’t for me. I am from a stereotypically small(ish) town in central Louisiana. You know, one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has lived there for their entire lives. Living in the same town my whole life made me want something completely different for the next chapter of life. My friends and I were all applying for colleges and I just could not even get myself to look at applications for in-state schools; that is how badly I wanted to find some sort of change in my life. When I was looking at which schools to apply to, my mind wandered back to when I was in seventh grade and spent the summer in Colorado. At the time, my sister was a junior in high school and my parents wanted us to tour some schools while we were here. We ended up touring CU Boulder and the only things I could remember were that it was very windy and there was a Ralphie statue in front of the football stadium. But I felt that that was enough information to at least apply. In the end, I applied to one in-state school and five out-of-state schools, and the waiting game began.
CU was actually the first school that I received a letter from. It was a large black envelope with a picture of college students wearing CU gear, cheering at a football game. As soon as I opened it, all the excitement of receiving letters from the other schools kind of disappeared. As cliché as it sounds, I knew I was Boulder Bound as soon as I got that letter. It didn’t seem to matter that I hadn’t even been on CU's campus in five years or even knew much about Colorado other than the fact that it snows. My family and friends knew how badly I wanted to go out of state, so they were excited that I had found a home. I remember when I arrived in Colorado to move in my first year, my dad and I were driving down the interstate and saw the Flatirons and the tall towers that I later found out was where I would be living for the next year (WillVill!). Little did I know when looking at these towers, this is where I would eventually make all the friends I now consider to be my family.
I’ve now lived in Boulder for a year and a half, and every day I am finding new places that add to my love for Boulder. Of course, my first favorite places were Pearl Street and Chautauqua. But now I don’t even have to leave campus to find my favorite spot. Every day I go to Varsity Lake behind Old Main and just sit and hang out. Finding little places like this have made Boulder home for me, as well as all the amazing people I have met here. Choosing CU Boulder not only gave me more opportunities to grow as a student but also gave me the opportunities to grow as an adult in general. Being here has exposed me to so many different ideas, places, and people I could have never been able to experience back in Louisiana and that is why choosing CU Boulder was the best decision I could have made.
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Psychology, 2020