Am I really doing this? I thought as our tour group strolled like a quiet and timid new student parade between the ornate concrete buildings on CU Boulder’s suburban campus.
One baby faced student after another passed by with their parents in tow carrying university paraphernalia and plastic bookstore bags—inside, no doubt, was a Buffaloes sweatshirt and perhaps a baseball hat. College visits clearly haven’t changed a bit, and it was absolutely heartwarming.
A couple months ago, after years of knowing the career path I was on wasn’t bringing me true happiness or fulfilling a larger purpose I felt I had deep, deep in my gut, I applied to CU Boulder. I want to pursue physical therapy, work with athletes, and be a large part of making their big dreams in sport come true. When I finally applied, I sort of hit my breaking point. I was in the middle of working on a big project I felt stressed and, simultaneously, completely disconnected from.
Fuck it, I thought. It’s now or never.
Over the next few hours, I had my high school and university transcripts sent to the CU Boulder office of admissions, I crafted a personal statement, and paid the $50 application fee. And then? I waited. Every day, for weeks, I checked my application’s status online, refreshing the page, closing it out, pulling it back up again.
Each day that passed without an answer, doubt mounted. Did I apply too early? Why do I think I even have a chance? I hung a lot of hope on my admission because it was my only way “off” the path I was headed down. I needed this because I knew that if another five years passed by, the courage to pursue this big life change would subside.
About a month after I put in my application, I received an acceptance email from CU Boulder, and I’m telling you, I could’ve cried. Actually, I did cry a little bit on my way home. It felt like the universe had dropped a huge opportunity in my lap as if to say, “Here you go. It’s up to you now. Do big things.”
Soon after my acceptance email arrived, I received a welcome pack in the mail—the big envelope—which I found slightly hilarious because each of the pamphlets featured bright-eyed, fresh-out-of-high-school students waving pom poms at a Buffaloes football home game. For a second, I traveled back in time to the fall of 2007 when my roommates and I cheered wildly for our Bowling Green State University Falcons. I didn’t love football, but I loved college and being a college student. Along with this, the university sent me my transfer credits evaluation. I’ve already completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, and I was hoping to skip all the general education classes en route to DPT school. But the evaluation was complicated and difficult to understand, so I signed up for a transfer student information session (I’m considered a transfer student even though I’ve obtained a degree), which I attended on Saturday.
Like the invitation told me to do, I got to the Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) at 11:45 a.m. to speak with a counselor prior to our larger session. We were only allotted quick 15-minute meetings, so after speaking with an advisor, I still had lots of questions and more meetings I needed to schedule with the health careers department.
Suddenly, I felt like I was running out of time to figure out which of my college credits counted, the curriculum I absolutely needed to take and nothing else, which community colleges I could potentially attend to take lower level classes to save a little money, and if anythingwas offered online. My head was spinning, but I couldn’t help but feel excited that I was actually standing there at the beginning of this long and challenging journey that hopefully one day I’d look back on with pride. For taking the first step and then the second and then the 400th. Ya know? I had chills. I pictured myself in a cap and gown hugging my parents knowing full well the work I put in and the sacrifices I made were worth it.
Maybe I was getting ahead of myself. I hadn’t even officially accepted my enrollment yet.
After about an hour, our lecturer turned us over to two children—AKA tour guides. Brittany, our bubbly blonde-haired environmental science major led us all over campus pointing out all the great places to study: the pool, the quad, the shaded spot under this omg huge tree, and oh yeah, the library. She was adorable. I thought about bailing on the campus tour after our lecture because I was a non-traditional student who wouldn’t live on campus and was far too old and too busy to join intramural teams or the hiking club, but when we walked out into the sunshine and Brittany went on about dining plans and free hockey games and where to get the best slice of pizza on The Hill, well, a walk down college memory lane sounded better than anything else I planned to do that day.
When I first moved to South Boulder last March, I’d run through CU’s campus every once in awhile to mix things up. All the buildings I ran past and sometimes through to get water from the fountain started to make more sense.
After a rather entertaining tour watching families in my group take selfies in front of the famed Buffalo statue and stand in awe of the mountains at every stop, headed back to my car wishing I could re-do my college education all over again. I wished I’d known sooner that writing was not my calling, but rather a hobby—a side project. I wished almost everything about my college education was different, the only exception is running cross country and track.
So, I guess that’s it. I went home, had dinner, watched a movie and then went to bed. Honestly, that’s it, because there’s a lot of legwork still to be done and questions (and prayers LOL) to be answered. I hope to keep chronicling this process because it’s going to be a long one and it will be fun to look back on in several years when I’m hopefully further down the road.