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  • Hiroto Hayashi

Tim's Times

College Visits (Part One)

My college search process lead me on an adventure that ended up mostly being performed by my gut. You know that feeling where you meet someone new for the first time and it feels like you’ve known them your whole life? That’s the feeling you should search for. If you don’t know what you are passionate about or interested in majoring in, then the best thing to look for in a college are the things you love about the area.

Is it close to home or far away that intrigues you?

Is it the proximity to the outdoors or the fact that it’s next to a big city?

In essence, what will the environment around you motivate you to do?

We are strongly affected by the setting we find ourselves in and that determines a lot of our daily mindset so searching for the right area for you, I believe, is essential to college success.

Now, from the get go I knew that the outdoors was my passion, and I was strongly interested in pursuing a degree in environmental sciences. With that in mind, I searched for schools that offered my classes as well as schools that fit who I wanted to be outside of the school. While there were plenty of schools smack in the middle of the city that could have worked for me, I knew enough about my own character that I would feel stifled living in a big city far away from any wild outdoors. After a bit of searching, I came up blank but found new life when a friend mentioned to me a school called Western State University.

Honestly, at first I half ignored the statement of “You’d love it there!” and continued my semi-aimless search on the computer when a few days later she told me again to check it out. I obliged and was immediately impressed with what I stumbled upon. Located in the Gunnison area it was smack in the middle of mountains and sat among the gentle sprawl of a quaint little mountain town. As I continued reading I discovered they were ranked top in the nation for their environmental sciences program and the price of going to the school was remarkably cheap. One moment I had on their site I will probably always remember.

I was very impressed and began perusing their site with much more zest. I checked the campus and the surrounding land and the class possibilities and their extra-curricular classes and over all I pretty much fell in love. Of course, the next step was finding what other people said about the school as well.

While reading through the “student testimonials” I found one that really caught my eye. It started with a picture apparently taken from a student’s social media and appeared as if the shot itself was taken from a room on campus. The photo was of a herd of elk on the commons area with a caption that read, “It’s not every day, or every school, where a herd of elk walks through your campus.”

I thought to myself, You know? She’s right. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that that moment really surprised me. It’s going to sound cheesy but the elk is my favorite animal. The way its call echoes over and among canyons early in the morning is so hauntingly beautiful and it happened to be this testimonial I stumbled upon. From then on I was hooked. I knew I found my school.

My usual line when people ask me about it is,

“Where better to study the environment around us but in the middle of the very environment I love?”

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