Talking with Lily Green: A Winter Start Memoir

Do you remember your first day of college? Leaving all things familiar while trying not to fear moving to a new state or country, making new friends, and jumping into a rigorous academic schedule? For some, this transition happened years ago, but for others, it was only a couple of weeks ago. We would like to extend a formal welcome to the Winter Start Class of 2020. We invite you into the CC family with open arms.

Photo by Mikaela Burns

A year ago, sophomore Lily Green had nearly completed the first block of her First Year Experience class. Like the other 40 or so Winter Starts that arrive each January, she decided to take some time off before starting at Colorado College. “I needed some time after high school to digest the past four years to reflect upon that…to think about things, what was important to me, what I wanted to take with me, and how I wanted to grow as an individual,” Green said. She decided to embark on a 90-day adventure through Patagonia with the National Outdoor Leadership School, commonly known as NOLS.

“I wasn’t known as Ben’s little sister or my mom’s daughter. I was going off on my own and forging my own. I was just Lily,” she explained. In Patagonia, for instance, she and her comrades were the first to ascend a peak, “We got to the top, and were in this field of giant mountains,” Green said. “You could see as far as the eye can go, it was just gorgeous and untouched. I got to lead the descent from that, so I was the first person walking down. There was nothing in front of me. It was this amazing feeling…” She was backpacking within the millions of acres that that Doug Tompkins, the founder of The North Face, and his wife dedicated their lives to conserving.

Traveling is a privilege, and although its an amazing opportunity, it has its fair share of rough patches. Green went 30 days without a shower in Patagonia. Once while kayaking she reached down and felt a squishy bump underneath her dry suit. It was a leech sucking her blood. “It was the worst,” she expressed with disgust. “I just had to rip the thing right off. I threw that leech as far as I possibly could.” It was difficult for Green to be so far from home and have such little contact with friends and family.

Green acknowledged that challenging herself in such a way was a privilege in and of itself. “I hope the Winter Starts aren’t perceived as stuck up because some of them have gone on these great adventures,” she said. “I hope we aren’t viewed as people who think we are superior because we might have traveled, or done a cool thing for our semester off,” she emphasized. Whether you choose to take time off or elect to come straight to college, you can’t go wrong. Everyone has their own unique experience in college no matter how they choose to preface it.

Making the transition into college can be scary. Starting halfway through the year can be even scarier. Winter Starts come in with some common concerns: whether or not they will make friends, survive the rigor of the Block Plan, and find balance between the two. Green, and everyone here at CC, has been challenged by the adjustment.

It takes time to get used to a new setting. You have to be patient and remind yourself that there are other people in the same boat. “I know that when you are in it can be hard,” Green shared. “There are those days that are just downright hard. It just takes time, and you have to be patient,” Take advantage of the opportunities that surround you. Do not be afraid to join clubs, sports teams, and adjuncts. Try new things! To the Winter Starts of 2017, we are glad to have you!

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