What is it like to be a student at Fort Lewis College? In our "Day in the life" series, we'll explore student life at FLC through the eyes of our students. In this episode, Michaela, a sophomore, goes to an early morning yoga session, takes us to a class, lets us follow along as she gives a campus tour, hangs out with some friends, and goes to a club meeting.
On deciding upon going to Fort Lewis I had two main thoughts: I wanted to grow intellectually and I wanted to grow creatively. Coming into college I had been writing hip-hop lyrics for about two and half years. Although I have taken my education seriously throughout my whole college career, I have also taken music seriously. The liberal arts degree that Fort Lewis provides opens up a lot of opportunities for creative individuals, like myself, to incorporate their creativity and passion into their schoolwork.
One of my favorite parts of going to school at Fort Lewis College is being able to live and work in such a beautiful natural environment. I feel so lucky to be able to rise each morning and see cloudy hues caress the mountains, the sun breaking free from the nights’ holding. I originally came to the college because everyone was so friendly when I visited and I loved how down to earth all the students were. Little did I know that I would become an avid hiker and enjoy exploring the landscape in and around Durango, just as much as I enjoy being a social butterfly.
The following essay is adapted from the speech Alex gave at Skyhawk Saturday on November 9, 2013.
Your presence today speaks for your willingness to accept change: change that will encapsulate both the highs and lows of your entrance into a very new world. This is a world of fun, challenge, laughter, stress, and most importantly, growth. Today you quell one of the most important decisions you will make as an adult, where you choose to attend college.
Even after three and a half years of being a student at Fort Lewis College, it is still hard to forget how overwhelmed and nervous I felt to be going away to college after graduating from high school. As a first generation student and the first of my siblings to be going away to college, I was fearful of how leaving my family and mentors would affect my life and my success in school.
Sand to stone, ocean to mountains, palm trees to pine, surfing to boarding, warm to cool…everything familiar to so much new.
When I meet someone new, our conversation usually goes like this: “So, where are you from?” “Maui…Hawai’i,” I reply. “Really?! What are you doing here in Durango?” It’s a good question, with a somewhat complicated answer. Why am I in Durango? What prompted me to leave the sand, surf, and sunshine that I came to identify with during the first nineteen years of my life?
I get asked the same question every time I tell people I am graduating in December: “What are your plans after college?” Until about 2 weeks ago, I literally had not a clue and it scared me half to death. Wait, graduation means I actually have to be in the real world? I have to stop using ‘being in college’ as an excuse to be broke and to not work all that much. I no longer want to call my parents asking them for money so I can go out of town for the weekend – it’s now my responsibility. Growing up has never seemed so hard, even though all I have ever wanted to do was grow up and be able to do what I want.
Who ever said there was an age limit for dressing up for Halloween? Well, come to Durango and there isn’t one! Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in Durango for many reasons. First, it’s the one day a year where you can wear whatever you want and still fit right in. Fort Lewis students and the Durango community know how to truly celebrate when October 31st rolls around.
Throughout my years in college, I have noticed an ability I have. Whether going home or when my family comes and visits, I can turn into a kid again. I value the little things that parents do; that engulfs my heart with warmth. Family has always been an extremely important aspect in my life, so when I moved six hours away I did not know how it would feel being far away from home. The truth is, being in college is all about developing a new routine.
“Sometimes you have to play with fire to find out how to not get burned.” This a quote I’ve come to find very realistic while in college. When you are away from old friends or family and on your own to make decisions, it can sometimes be hard to get things right on your first try. In the residence halls, you have to do your own laundry. I remember seeing lot of trial and error there: someone using dish soap in the washing machine, or someone thinking that turning it on made the machine release its own soap.