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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

I vividly recall the first time I drove into Boulder, in the passenger seat of my dad’s truck, going to take a walk around campus. It was the time in my high school career when I needed to start thinking about what my future would look like. I have always known that I wanted to go to college but I was never sure where. Of course I had a few dream schools growing up, but none of them were realistic to me because of factors like location, cost, and more.

My dad and I decided to drive up to Boulder one day to walk around and get a feel for the campus. It was a cloudy and cold spring day. My dad and I parked the truck and began walking around some of the buildings, watching the waves of students going to and from class. I was in awe. I couldn’t believe that I was so close to being one of those students. I was excited by the idea. Our trip ended off with a trip to the bookstore to buy a souvenir to commemorate my first college “visit.” 

A few months later, I scheduled some official college visits. Unlike some people who toured many schools, I only toured 3. I started with two other Colorado schools. The first one, I did not love –it didn’t feel right for me. The second, I liked, but I didn’t get any sense of a “wow factor.” Neither of those schools felt like the place I wanted to spend the next four years. 

Finally, I scheduled an official tour at CU Boulder. It was a beautiful fall day, much nicer than the first time I had come. I went with my parents and I think we were all equally as excited. Throughout the tour, we talked about things we liked and made a list of pros and cons. Overall I really enjoyed seeing the campus and it certainly had the wow factor I was looking for. My gut was telling me that this was the place that I was meant to be. Following the tour, I did more research on academic programs, extracurriculars and whatever I could find that would help me turn a gut feeling into a logical decision. 

A few months later, after finding out that I got into the school, I signed up to attend the Admitted Students Day. This is like an official tour, but only for students who were admitted into the school. It is designed to allow students and their parents to attend sessions based on their interests to learn more in depth about the university and their programs and services. This was the day where I felt very secure about my decision. I felt so comfortable walking around campus and I was smiling ear to ear the whole time, feeling at peace that I found somewhere I was excited to be.

I now look back on these moments and can’t help but smile. Now, as a full time student at CU Boulder, I’ve learned how important it is for me to keep that excitement alive. I’m a sophomore now and smile when I see the large groups of prospective students touring the campus. It makes me happy for them because I remember when that was me. I hope that they are feeling the same sense of excitement and that I did. 

Despite all the positive emotions I feel towards this school, I’ve caught myself feeling like I don’t belong here or that this really isn’t the place for me after all. These thoughts usually form when I am overwhelmed and need a break. When this happens, I force myself to think of the girl who first stepped foot on campus and felt an instant connection. I think of the girl who couldn’t wait to be the one sitting in the classroom, the girl who couldn’t stop saying “wow” when she first explored campus and the girl who is extremely lucky to be able to create this life for herself.

I always remind myself that I am lucky to be here and I worked hard to get to where I am. When I feel discouraged, I remember that this was my dream. I am living out my dream. This brings me such a sense of pride knowing that looking back, I’m far from where I began. And if that doesn’t work, I remember that I am living other people’s dreams too. This helps me not take this huge opportunity for granted, and brings me joy knowing that I am accomplishing big things. And that makes all the difference.

Katie Baxter

CU Boulder '26

Katie Baxter is a contributing writer and member of the social media team for Her Campus at the University of Colorado-Boulder chapter. She is a sophomore studying Strategic Communications and minoring in Business. She loves to keep up with and write about trends, sports, pop culture, and more. She will often write about her own experiences tied in with topics that fascinate her. Katie has always loved to write for fun, but has never gained any professional writing experience. She is looking to gain experience from Her Campus both in her writing and social media talents. Social media is something she has always been interested in, and potentially wants to continue working with it in the future. She loves to stay busy and is always thinking of new articles to pitch! When Katie is not writing or doing school work, you will oftentimes find her spending time with her roommates and friends. She is a Colorado native and loves watching/ playing sports, going to see the newest movie, or finding a new restaurant and places to shop! She is not a big coffee lover, but she absolutely loves chai and is on the hunt to find the best one in all of Boulder.