When I stepped onto the CC campus in August to begin the 2021- 22 academic year as a senior, I was transported back in time to my first visit as a prospective student in 2017. What I remember most about that day was how welcoming everyone was — from the students to the faculty, from the admission team to the staff at the dining hall and bookstore. I’m from Lakewood, Colorado. I’d initially thought I wanted to go to a larger school, but as I pictured myself being part of that close-knit community, I changed my mind.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, that community feeling was put to the test. Suddenly, we couldn’t do the things that build community naturally — like having lively, in-person classroom discussions or gathering with friends over a meal. We missed those bonding experiences that typically happen during club and athletic events, study abroad, and block break adventures. But ultimately, I think our community was strengthened during this time. We learned to adapt and take care of each other. One great example is CC Mutual Aid, the student-run group that strives to build a network of solidarity by meeting each other’s needs. This fund helps offset costs not covered by other support systems around campus, and it’s been incredibly impactful.

Today, I have a new sense of gratitude for being back on campus. The CC community continues to look out for each other by getting vaccinated and wearing masks because it’s important to all of us that we can gather safely. I’m thrilled to be back in person with the Speech and Debate team, a setting that’s very challenging to replicate on Zoom. It’s rewarding to meet with prospective students face-to-face again as an Admissions Fellow. And, I’m enjoying being able to interact with my professors outside the formality of a class Zoom call. Those relationships with faculty are part of what’s so special about academics at CC, so I’m feeling particularly grateful for the Block Plan this year.

Most of all, I’m reminded of the community spirit that drew me to CC in the first place — and I’m savoring every moment.