Major: Interdisciplinary Studies – Teacher Education
Hometown: Crested Butte, CO
As much as all of you might not realize it, every student in this room has something in common. You are all here because you are thinking of your future and pursuing the path of college. I was in the same place as you, just four short years ago. I know the decision you are being faced with now. It is hard to decide where, why and what to go to college for. There are dorms to see, class sizes to consider, degree options to look at, costs of attendance, distance from home, food options, where you can go shopping, how much Call of Duty time you are going to have, and where the best long boarding hill is. Most importantly, where you will be happy, as well as successful? For me, Fort Lewis has it all.
So who am I exactly? I’m Hanna, a senior working toward a degree in Elementary Education, and I LOVE my college.
I chose Fort Lewis because the classes are small; there is an average of 22 students per course. In fact, this semester I am in a class with just eight. Personally, I think that is incredible. I know I am getting the most out of my education because the students and professors have one on one interactions. We have the ability to ask questions if a topic is not clearly explained, there is space for hands on experience, we participate in group and class discussions, and students influence the direction of the course to ensure we are getting the most out of it. Can you imagine trying to get into groups with a hundred or more students in a lecture hall? It doesn’t work out well. A few other things about the classes: They are taught by professors not TA’s. I know it seems pretty basic but the reality of it is, we are going to college to get an in-depth education in specific fields. It is significant that the person who knows the knowledge best is the one teaching it.
I mentioned before that I am an Elementary Education major; however, I was originally in Theatre. Very quickly, I realized the theater just had too much drama. I was taking an Introduction to Education course at the time, and in that class I realized where my passion truly lies. I changed my major within the first two weeks of college and never looked back. There have been time of extreme stress, and school can be really hard, but this is college, that’s a part of it. College doesn’t just provide you with knowledge; it shows you just how much you will be able to handle in life. For all the stress there is also rewarding experience. I have had the opportunities to work in local classrooms, and being with the kids keeps me motivated. I am still as excited about my major as I was the day I decided to switch. Fort Lewis strives to provide hands on experience within all the departments. We learn a lot in the classroom, but FLC knows we will fall in love with our fields through involvement.
I chose Fort Lewis because of Durango. I am a skier, hiker, mountain biker, and river rat. Being from Crested Butte, Colorado, mountain activities are important to me. Durango Mountain Resort is a great ski area and Wolf Creek, Silverton, and Telluride are close by. The mountain biking and hiking trails in this area are so numerous that even in four years I have only explored about a quarter of them. The Animas River runs right through town, providing opportunities for rafting, kayaking, tubing, swimming, and fishing. There is an unspoken agreement between the local community and the students that they will care for us and we respect them. The land is beautiful; I love that I can be on a secluded trail just fifteen minutes from town. I love that I can ride my bike almost anywhere, and where I can’t ride, public transportation can get me there. Durango has so much to offer, it seems there is always something fun to be done.
Last but not least, I chose Fort Lewis because I am appreciated as a unique individual on this campus, not a number or a face in the crowd. Professors and staff here really take the time to get to know students. It’s amazing how professors from my freshman year still know my name and ask me how things are when they see me on or off campus. I am from a small town; this type of community means a lot to me. I feel respected and safe and I know that in this world away from home, my college will take care of me. It has made the transition into adulthood easier than I expected it to be. Fort Lewis College is an incredible school: it is the perfect fit for me and I know it can be for you, too.