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Life

CU People, Places, and Things That Strengthen My Will to Live

When you first come to a new school, you think you’re going to fall in love with all the big things. The damp, drizzly library. The black and gold football games. The dizzying parties where you feel like a character out of “Euphoria”. In reality, college is much less of a glamorous brochure cover. The secret no one tells you is that all of the fervent milestones you think you’re going to remember are mostly forgotten fever dreams. It’s the chocolate milk mustaches, runny noses, and frozen eyelashes that become your core memories. Though the parts of CU that I hold near and dear to my heart may not be yours, I wanted to share my shortlist of people, places, and things CU has to offer that have strengthened my will to live.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread at Norlin Library – The Laughing Goat gets a bad wrap from some of my friends because of its high prices and insane popularity. I’m the first to admit that this is not the sit-and-sulk like Jughead Jones coffee shop. It’s more like the Cher Horowitz coffee shop where there are lots of people and you know what to expect. That said, I’m willing to sit here and admit that I live for the very occasionally glamorous moment when I can treat myself to a latte and a slice of the chocolate zucchini bread in the Norlin Library. And before you say anything, yes. The zucchini bread does indeed come in plastic wrap and is not even made by Laughing Goat. Luckily, I do not care. The dark chocolate, decadent, and gooey goodness is the best food option on campus.  I’ll die on that hill. As a bonus, “zucchini” is a vegetable! Yes, I’m sure I’m eating gobs of sugar and canceling out all of the benefits the word “vegetable” would bring, but screw it. 

Reading by Kitt Pond – As an RA on campus, I live for brief moments where I can briefly unwind. Generally, my “me time” consists of me sitting on some bench and re-reading Harry Potter for the billionth time. My favorite spot on campus to relax is Kitt Pond. Nobody bothers you, and you can spend hours looking at the water in between page flips and taking in the ambiance. Please note: the geese do indeed drive me crazy and the smell isn’t fantastic. Additionally, the pond has been tested by various science classes and apparently has any number of foul diseases so I would not recommend getting anywhere near it. That said, sitting by it on a bench, the pond is blissful serenity.

Sneaking Onto the JILA Building Study Floor – My most rebellious act as a college student has been studying in places I’m not supposed to study. In my opinion, the JILA Building has the best view on this campus. Turn the key on the elevator and head up. You’ll find the place. Just make sure you aren’t spotted and keep this between us. I never see people here and don’t want this becoming a hotspot. Please and thank you.

Professor Breedson – I took Sports and Philosophy with this man last semester and…let me just tell you, he is a blessing. Not only was this one of the most interesting classes I’ve taken at CU, Breedson was my most laugh-out-loud funny professor of the semester. I can’t even quote 99% of his best moments for profanity’s sake, but will say that this man is a gem. He’s a must-take.

Curry at The Village Center – I’ll be honest, even visiting Will Vill reminds me of living in Sterns West in fall of 2020 (cries in PTSD), but the curry always reminds me of what kept me alive in those trying times. In short, the curry is consistently flavorful and a great comfort food for cold days. Just beware of this stuff if you have a sensitive stomach; curry can kick your digestive system into high gear. You’ve been warned. 

Professor Mitchell – She is the blueprint for English professors everywhere. With fashionably short hair, adorable kitten heels, and a passion for Shakespeare that rivals even Kat Stratford, she is one of my favorite professors here on campus. Please take her English classes for majors and nonmajors alike if you’re looking for a professor who legitimately loves her students and her area of study. 

Bcycle – Let me level with you: sometimes I hate this app with every fiber of my being. There have been freezing cold mornings when I’ve cut it late for class reasoning, “I have nothing to fear; Bcycle will have a bike, and I’ll just fly on over to the other side of campus!” Then, I will arrive at the station only to find there are no bikes, none of the bikes are unlocking, or worst of all, the station I travel to is full so I’m forced to find another station to park the bike at. When any of the aforementioned occurs, I am forced to run with my backpack to class (one of the most humbling experiences an individual can undergo) and arrive all sweaty and panting with my mask plastered to my face. All of this said, 99% of the time, Bcycle unlocks a bike and gets me where I need to go. And beautiful morning bike rides remind me I’m on the prettiest campus in America. 

Flatirons – The best boss I ever had worked with me in Colorado Springs. One hot and bothered day, he took me by the shoulder and walked me outside. He then pointed to the mountains and said, “Any time you are stressed, leave your desk and stand right here. Nobody can be but so worried looking at those.” I always think of his words when I observe the Flatirons. The mountains are a great aid to centering myself, and I highly recommend taking a moment out of every day just to look at them and graciously acknowledge that they’re there for me. 

Fiske Planetarium Shows – Fiske is so cool and yet so underutilized on campus. The shows are mind-blowing. Literally. You’ll feel like you’re tripping on some illegal substance, but you get to call it “education” and walk out with some knowledge you didn’t know you had. Visually, their shows are disarmingly stunning, often colorful or glittery. Worst case scenario, you may pay $10 to fall asleep and get a solid nap in. Not so bad, right?

Her Campus – This organization is one of my favorite parts of CU. From the opportunity to write anything I’m passionate about to the supportive system of girls who enjoy being around each other, Her Campus is my favorite CU community.  

The Wolf Law building – Finding a quiet spot in Norlin can be a bit daunting during congested times. I highly recommend checking out one of the lesser-visited spots like Wolf Law. You can hear a pin drop, so it’s perfect for people like me who lack concentration amidst noise. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in this building and live for my solitude here. 

Ralphie – I had a nightmare over break that I was being chased around campus by a buffalo I believed to be Ralphie. At the end of the dream, I believed I’d finally outrun Ralphie when I ran into two boys I immediately knew to be frat brothers. They looked at each other concernedly and then got wild looks in their eyes. “Don’t look to your left,” one of them said to me. Obviously, I looked. Suddenly, there was Ralphie making eye contact and furiously rearing towards me. I woke up in a hot sweat. Ever since, Ralphie has scared me a tad. But before this insane fever dream, Ralphie and her adorable little face made me smile and I think she’s a highlight of CU’s campus culture. 

Cycle at The Rec – I love the entire Rec with my whole heart, especially in the early mornings when there are barely any people. I’m famous for turning my phone on airplane mode the second I enter the building and blasting Hans Zimmer through my earbuds the moment I hop on the stairmaster. Last semester, I joined my first ever fitness class. When I first walked into the cycle studio, I was incredibly nervous. I didn’t even know how to operate the bike and was nervous about others judging me if I couldn’t keep up. Luckily, I quickly learned that the bike wasn’t all that intimidating and that nobody pays attention to anyone else in the class. It’s just you, the bike, and Dua Lipa. I left every class sweaty, exhilarated, and with endorphins pumping. This was one of the boldest things I tried last semester, and I’m so glad I did! 

C4C Breakfast Burritos – They make me just *slightly* more motivated to get up in the morning. Chorizo? Chef’s kiss. I don’t need to say any more. 

Friday Night Film Series at Cristol Chemistry – These movie nights are so underrated. I went to “In the Heights” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” expecting to encounter a jam-packed auditorium. Instead, there were barely 20 people in the whole theater. These free movie nights are a fantastic opportunity to see great films for free on the big screen and spend nice, low-key nights with friends. Yeah, a party on the Hill might be fun, (for a while, anyways) but this is fun that doesn’t come with tired feet and drinks spilled all over your clothes. 

Many people will tell you to join CU for its academics, faculty, or party scene. I’m telling you to come here in order to learn how to romanticize your life. Life is too short not to take stock in the little things. Grab a vanilla latte and spend time with friends out on Farrand Field. This is your four years to spend however you like. Make the most of it.

Hannah is a freshman at the College of Arts and Sciences. When she's not writing music or reading Jane Austen, she's likely having a Harry Potter movie marathon, hiking up the side of a mountain, or thrifting at Goodwill.
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