This I Believe

Dana - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Beginning my college search, I realized at once that finding the perfect school was going to be hard. Aside from my academic and social requirements, I also have pretty rigorous environmental standards. I want to go where there is little to no humidity, few bugs, lots of sun, not much rain, and where all four seasons are observed (and no, you Mainiacs, “mud season” is not a real season). I quickly found that the place I was looking for is where I already am. No other state has as many days of sun as we do, as little humidity as we do, and as few bugs. Maybe it is because I grew up here, so it is what I am used to, but the conditions here are perfect. Even if I go away for college, I know that I will move right back after graduation.

When out-of-towners think of Colorado, they usually think of the Big Two: school shootings and the mountains. I do not want to address the former, so let me tell you what I think of the mountains: I love them. They are our destination on long weekends, our natural compass, and they provide our hiking trails and our skiing slopes. Outsiders are jealous of them and natives are proud of them. “But of course,” we say nonchalantly, “No other mountain range in the United States is as tall as the Rockies.” We have even named a baseball team after them.

When those out-of-towners are thinking about our mountains, they are usually picturing them in the wintertime, when they wear their snowcaps. However, any true blue Coloradoan knows that there are many other sides and seasons to our beautiful peaks. Do those foreigners realize that here in Colorado, we enjoy more days of sun than anywhere else in the country? And that when the aspens’ leaves change color in the fall, the whole hillside blazes with a seasonal gold color? Which is why it is silly to only think of the mountains in the wintertime. It is near impossible to tube the Yampa and hike to the top of the Maroon Belles in the winter. As a local, I know how to fully appreciate our mountains year-round.

One of the best qualities of Colorado is the laid-back populace. Sure, we are a little cocky, but who wouldn’t be with a backyard like ours? The effect of the mountains and the outdoorsy nature of the inhabitants create a vibe about the state. There is a persona that is similar to the California Surfer Dude, but it is way cooler, because it is the Colorado Ski/Snowboard Bunny. Anyone who has ever been to Boulder knows that we are a state of nature-loving, jeep-driving, granola bar-crunching, Croc-wearing sun worshippers who could not imagine living anywhere outside of this paradise we have found for ourselves. This attitude makes for fun times.

So where am I going to end up for college? Will I attend an in-state school? Or can I bear to compromise my high standards for four years and then move back as soon as possible? All I know is that I wake up feeling so fortunate to live in such an awesome place every morning and I just know that nowhere else can be this perfect.