Vertical Forest

College First Impressions

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

I suppose its probably been long enough between posts to this blog that I can safely update it now without annoying anyone with overposting 😉

I’m now on fall break, after about 8 weeks of classes at the Colorado School of Mines, and so far it has been incredibly awesome, but its incredibly crazy, and sometimes difficult.

Orientation week was a breeze, and with the number of barbecues, games, activities, and parties, it seemed more like summer camp then college. The start of class made everything get more down to business, but for the first week or two classes were easy, with minimal homework and easy or nonexistent labs. My first exam – chemistry – came on only my 3rd week of classes, which was a bit soon for my tastes but I did very well on it nonetheless. In the following weeks I’ve had tests in calculus, economics, and earth science (my only real classes excluding PE and freshman seminar).

Even though homework and studying take up a lot of time, I’ve definitely found myself spending the majority of my time in innumerable non-academic pursuits, from rock climbing and Parkour to intramural ultimate frisbee and Bible studies. Probably my favorite out of all these activities is rock climbing, particularly due to the massive indoor wall in the Mines rec center. I also went on my first actual outdoor climb on rock last thursday, which was awesome, even though we didn’t get down from the cliff until after dark when it was already about 45°. College definitely does tend to encourage actions that might seem to lack common sense, such as climbing Mt. Bierstadt overnight (I summited around 1:30 am, and didn’t get back to campus until 5).

The people at Mines are absolutely insane, but in a good way. I doubt that anywhere outside of may be MIT or Caltech will you find people who make more jokes about calculus (“your Δbeard is low”), chemistry, or physics, or who will try to identify the kind of rock on the side of the road while driving to a retreat (“Are those batholiths igneous or metamorphic, since they appear to be foliated?”). One consequence of this general atmosphere is that if you ever called a “nerd” at Mines relative to the general student body, you are really in trouble 😉

In a nutshell, college is crazy, the people are nuts, finding time to do homework is nearly impossible, but I love it. Now if only the food were better…