The Life and Times at School of Mines

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To be perfectly honest, I half forgot about writing a blog this month.  As the semester drew to a close, everything seemed to move faster and faster.  In fact I didn’t pack to go home until an hour before I left because I didn’t feel like it was time to go home.  Compared to this last month, August felt like an eternity.  So much has happened in November and December I don’t even know where to start. I guess at the beginning is as good a place as any.

The first weekend of November was an especially busy one for me because Alpha Phi Omega and Navigators both had events.  I drove to Boulder to teach chemistry to Boy Scouts which was an amazing experience I can’t wait to repeat next year.  Then I went to a masquerade ball that same day.  While fun, it was a lot to do in one day.  Most of the month continued at the same pace.  One class after another, events almost every day, and not much time to sleep but you know what?  I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.   Yes it was crazy and hard but I made some wonderful friends because of it.  Everybody is in the same boat so it was easy to bond with the people on my floor and in my classes.

One of my favorite classes of the semester was EPICS which stands for Engineering Practices Introductory Course Sequence.  The class was a series of papers and presentations, sketches and prototypes, all of which culminated in a final presentation and a prototype.  This class made me realize that I actually do enjoy the basic process of engineering.

`The last week of the semester was consumed by finals.  It was, by far, the hardest round of tests I have taken so far simply because there was so much we learned over the course of the semester.  Now that I’ve finished them, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I finished my first semester.  The most accurate description of how I feel now that the semester has drawn to a close comes in the words of John Green.  “I’m grand… I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.”

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                What did or are you considering when you choose a college?  Most of you will probably say money or degrees or how far it is from home.  Those all make sense, but none of them were why I chose to come to Colorado School of Mines. 

                At nine years old most kids don’t really have an idea of what they want to do when they grow up much less know what college they want to go to but I was the anomaly.  I came to a Girl Scout event here at CSM and I loved it.  I was good at math, I enjoyed science but until that point, my career goal was “angel”.  Realistic, I know.  This event was very special to me because it was the first time I had seen a large group of girls who were excited about math and science, who weren’t afraid to be smart.  In my memory, it is a very significant day.  It was what made me choose this school.  

This month, I got the chance to work at that very same event, nine years later.  It was so much fun to see so many girls so curious about everything we had to teach them.

                This month I also began to get more and more involved with Alpha Phi Omega.  We spent the night in the rec center for our fraternity retreat.  We didn’t get to sleep for long though! Come 4:30 in the morning we were up and headed to downtown Denver to volunteer at the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k.  We spent the morning serving hot chocolate and fondue to the racers.

Those of us who were near the fondue ended up with war paint on our faces which was surprisingly hard to get off when I got home.  The more time I spend with these people, the more I want to spend with them.  This group has made my transition to Mines much smoother than I could have hoped for.

                The last thing I want to tell you is, when you get a chance to talk a walk you should go.  I walked down to the Golden Library a couple times this month and every time it was more gorgeous than  the last.  The fall colors are making the creek into something truly spectacular.  Every time I walk down there is another photographer trying to capture the landscape.

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It’s a Saturday morning and across Kafadar the marching band is warming up for this afternoon’s football game. 

 Campus is quieter than normal for now but that won’t last much longer, a few other students are starting to venture out.  It’s the first warm sunny day we’ve had in a week so I decided to spend the morning wandering campus.  It’s kind of nice not having to hurry from one class to the next, to take the time to truly appreciate this place.  Over and over I’ve been reminded how beautiful our campus really is and how lucky I am to be here.  It’s been just over a month since move in day, and what a month it’s been.

I was one of those people who had their college picked long before they started high school so I always knew this was where I wanted to be.  Now this was good when it came to relieving the stress of trying to pick a college during my senior year of high school but it led to a completely different set of worries.  I had dreamed about coming here for so long, would it to live up to expectations? Was that even possible? So far the answer is yes.  Mines is hard.  Harder than anything I have tried to study before but that just makes me love it more.  There is so much new to learn.  My first round of tests was absolutely terrifying but I passed them and now I can start getting ready for the next round.  I’ve got about a three day break between when my tests end and when I need to start studying for the next ones which is a very strange concept for me but it’s definitely something I can work on.

The opportunities on campus stretch far beyond academics though.  The first club I joined was the Society of Women Engineers, more commonly known as SWE.  They are a great influence on campus and I find many of their events and speakers are or at least will be useful.  I also joined the Navigators, one of the many Christian clubs on campus.  I’ve made so many friends during meetings and their Freshman Retreat was fantastic.  We met up with the Navigators chapter from CU Boulder and spent the night at a local church playing dodge ball and sardines until well past 3 a.m.  The next day was spent in Boulder and Longmont volunteering to help clean up after the recent floods.  Possibly my favorite organization that I’ve joined is Alpha Phi Omega. 

 It’s a national co-ed service fraternity.  I feel at my best when I am serving others in my community and this organization is built around the pillars of leadership, service, and friendship.  In the end you have to find the clubs that fit who you want to be.  My roommate joined a sorority and loves it.  There’s a kid down the hall who joined a mountain biking club and another who is playing club volleyball.  A couple of them have formed a League of Legends team and the Cooking Club is quickly gaining popularity.  Everybody can find something here.

From start to finish this month has been nothing short of a whirlwind. 

From the M-Climb…

To being the 243rd person up South Table Mountain at midnight…

To new friends…

To a whole new world (Disney pun intended)…

I can’t wait for the rest of this adventure.

And one last thing…

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  ~Anne Frank~