The beginning of the academic school year also means welcoming a new class into the Colorado College community. The class of 2021 is comprised of 531 first-years taken from a record 8,222 applicant pool and a 15% acceptance rate. Out of the class, 51% receive financial aid, 26.7% identity as students of color, 53 are first generation students, and 48 are QuestBridge Scholars.
Unsurprisingly, the bright class brings new talent to an already unique student body. They range from powerful artists— such as the student who worked on a theater performance about Armenian genocide—to brainy scientists working on cancer research; from students working toward renewable, recycled technology and sustainable development, to model and global citizens engaging in projects such as translating for foreign skiers at a competition in China or hosting people from all over the world after they received life-saving medical treatments. More information on these extraordinary students can be found on CC’s website about Opening Convocation.
Over the summer, first-years were assigned to read “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine. The book’s theme is a thought-provoking discourse on race, recounting incidents and rhetoric of racial aggression in people’s modern-day lives. Rankine emphasizes the gravity seemingly slight comments can have, as well as still prevalent and intentional offenses. It all comes down to those effects on a human beings’ ability to exist. The common read is designed to prompt discussions and critical thinking within the community, a skill to be manifested in the rest of a CC student’s career and post-graduation in the professional world.
The first-years are currently enrolled in their First Year Experience (FYE), a two-block class designed to ease new students into the rigorousness of the Block Plan. Part of the FYE is the addition of an FYE mentor. Senior Emma Wilson is the mentor of a Comparative Literature class that she was enrolled in her first year. “I chose to be a mentor this year because I wanted to bring my own studies full circle, more or less. This was an opportunity to work with two professors that I admire while I get ready to write my Comparative Literature thesis,” said Wilson. She serves as a resource for students in the class academically, but also as a support system for any questions about adjusting to college life such as balancing class, extracurriculars, and mental health. Wilson also enjoys the position as she may not have had the opportunity to interact with the class as often given she isn’t on campus as much as them anymore.
Her takeaway from the class is that they are excited to be here and adjusting fairly well, aside from the amount of reading and learning by firehose via the Block Plan. She is excited to get to know the first-years better throughout the block. One student in the comparative literature FYE is Katie Damas from Fort Smith, Ark. Damas said that while at first it was hard being away from her family, she realized many other students were feeling the same way. She was able to quickly make friends through the NSO events and owed it to how accepting and caring the larger CC community was. Damas said she enjoyed her Priddy trip, as did another student in the class, Mike Muller from Wyckoff, N.J. Muller also had a pretty easy transition to CC. He commented on how helpful Wilson was in connecting with the class and just explaining CC life. Muller was quick to make friends as well through his Priddy trip, hallmates, and roommate. He too commented on how reading intensive the class was.
Comments on the new class from upperclassmen range from how young they look, to how “they’re noodles” (whatever that means) to fresh-faced and excited with energy and adrenaline the upperclassmen wish they could still harness.