A Frosh’s Take on College So Far

My first 2 months on campus have been a constant chain of events with little to no time in between for much breathing. Now that my first block is over, I want to catch you up on what it’s like to be on campus these past two months.

During Bridge Scholars Program, the wonderful Professor Heidi Lewis warned us of the craziness of CC and the block plan. She also spent a large portion of class addressing the reality of attending a predominantly white institution such as Colorado College.

After two months of being here, I have seen and felt first-hand the pressure to speak up/represent a whole race as the only Asian person in a space. I have felt the pressure to project the best image of myself 24/7, and I have felt the need to explain my culture to people.

As a first-gen, low-income, woman of color on campus, I have struggled with imposter syndrome day in, day out.

im·pos·tor syn·drome

noun

persistent self-doubt of one’s ability, feelings of inadequacy, and feeling like one doesn’t belong or deserve to be at a college

It’s tough to not be effected by imposter syndrome when my peers went to private schools, all know how to ski, play instruments, balance all their classwork and social life, AND have six packs. Yes, I try to convince myself that we’re all just teenagers figuring out life, but I believe some teenagers got more of a head start than others. I also know that my shitty public high school education taught me little in the classroom, so you can catch me every weekday frustrated over not understanding my assigned readings.

The college journey isn’t always black and white, good or bad.

The block plan is amazing, classes only last for 3.5 weeks if you don’t like them, and if you do, you get to spend 3 (or more) hours in class every day. A huge bonus of going to an extremely small liberal arts school is the amount of resources and activities available to me. For example, I went stand-up paddle-boarding off-campus on Sunday for $5. For my Priddy Trip, I went camping in the San Juan Mountains for 4 days with a small group of freshmen. We have gone on a million field trips in my class, as you can probably tell from my last blogs. I love the variety of opportunities and people I get to experience every day.

However, everything comes at a price. There’s more interesting stuff to do on campus than there is time in one day. During block 1, I committed myself to everything under the sun and RSVP’ed to every interesting event I saw. As my friend warned me “You’re making the typical freshman mistake of trying to do everything, slow down.” I was pulled in so many directions and came back to my dorm exhausted every night. College is a four-year marathon, but it often feels like time is always fleeting and I must do everything all at once.

I’m figuring it out, block by block. I came to CC excited and wide-eyed, ready to attack college head-on. I was glad to be far away from home, from high school, for a chance to start over, that I forgot about ME. I forgot that I had a limited amount of social energy. I forgot that my usual self-care routine isn’t enough to take care of the exhausting demand of the block plan. Recently, I’ve prioritized everything else first, myself second.

Even more than the classroom learning, the block plan has taught me more about myself and how to adult. It’s taught me that the fast pace of campus often leaves little time for reflection. It’s taught me that I often move too fast, and often forget to stop, breathe, and feel the grass. The pressure that I feel at a predominantly white school is real, more real than any blog or adult could have prepped me for. But I do belong, and I am good enough, or at least I’ll keep repeating it until I believe it.

Nghi

My name is Nghi Lam ('knee lamb')! I took a gap year before coming to Colorado College (I am a huge advocate of gap years!). I am involved with ultimate frisbee, Asian Student Union, Bridge Scholars, and I am also a Bonner Fellow working with the Colorado Springs community. My free time is spent doing pottery, spending hours in the dining hall with my friends and journaling by the butterfly bench on campus. An unpopular opinion I hold: shoes are for losers!

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