The end of one block, the start of another!

So here it is, block break, the time when most students leave campus for Foot Trips somewhere wonderful and outdoorsy, and others remain to just relax! I can’t believe that I’ve already completed one class! The past month has been so intense and fast-paced, yet rewarding. It’s nice now to just have some time to think everything through.

Each day I’m here, I find myself feeling more at home. Although the US and UK seem to be very similar at face value, there are definite cultural difference! However, although when I first arrived I found these differences difficult to understand, I am starting to feel much more integrated into life out here.

I absolutely love academic life here! Although the block plan is very intense, I relish being completely immersed in one subject. My first class here has just completely blown my mind! Although I thought I knew how to think before, it has taught me new ways of looking at the world and constantly forces me to challenge my opinions! I love it! However, I’ve found that I can become too immersed in school work; thus, I’m looking forward to attempting to balance my work and social lives over the next block. I’m really fortunate to have some amazing friends here who keep me in check and don’t hesitate to tell me off if I’m working too hard!

I know that everyone at home was really worried about all the rain and flooding in Colorado, but I just want to let you all know that for the most part the college has been unaffected by this. Although there has indeed been a lot of rain, so much I thought I was in England, we have not experienced any large scale flooding! Talking about the weather, the mountains now have snowy peaks! Although the air is starting to turn slightly crisp, the sun is beautifully warm as always!

I hope that you are all okay! I just thought I’d check in as the end of the month approaches!

Ben :)

By Ben Devaney

First Impressions!

Hello Everyone!

On this third day of school, I thought I would let you know how I’m getting on in the brave new world, land of the free etc.!

 Being here for three weeks now, waking up every day to the majestic view of the Rocky Mountains is something I doubt will never get old! Every day, thunder seems to roar down reminding everyone on campus just how close we are to this awesome sight! The weather, since I got here at least, has been absolutely beautiful! (Although I’ve heard that the winter can be pretty bad!…)

 I’m only just really starting to get to grips with the incredible amount of opportunities and services for students that are available here. We have brand new gym facilities (with machines that power themselves) which directly face the mountains due to the Fitness Center’s glass front, an ice arena (which only charges $1 to borrow Skates!), a swimming pool, track running thing, writing centre, quantitative reasoning centre…. you name it, it’s probably here!

 As part of my New Student Orientation, last week I spent five days in Santa Fe helping out at a shelter for battered women which was so interesting, and directly ties into my first class! My first two classes are Thinking Sociologically and (wait for it Mr Coxon…) the Sociology of the Family! There are only 12 people in my class and my professor (who insists we call her by her first name like all professors here) is simply amazing!

 The one thing I was not prepared for here is the sheer workload! Being on the block plan, we only study one subject each month, being in lesson from 9-12 AM Mon-Fri. In addition, we have to do about 4 – 6 hours of reading/writing each night, which I have no idea how people do as well as everything else! I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed but I suppose all us Freshman are! I also have very few ways of getting in contact with people back home as scheduling Skype sessions without calling home is really hard! But I know it’ll be okay.

 The people here are simply fantastic! I’ve already made a nice little group of supportive friends and am meeting new people every day!

 I just thought I’d check in to let you know how everything’s going and I hope that you are well!

US Summer School 2013!

This is me treating my blog as a bit of a diary again!

A few weeks ago, the Sutton Trust asked me whether or not I would be a Team Leader on the 2013 US Summer School…. Of course, I said yes! So, from April until August this year I’m going to be a part of what is perhaps one of the most exciting adventures EVER!

It’s so weird, yet so fantastic, that my time as a ‘Participant’ on the programme is coming to an end. I can’t wait to see what this year’s cohort is like! From the wacky to the wonderful, I know this years group of 150 participants are going to be some of the most inspiring and interesting students this nation has to offer!

I’m so excited to contribute to this years programme in any way I possibly can! I’ve already mentored 3 applicants from my school, who will find out within the next two weeks whether or not they are successful. What I’m most excited about is being able to contribute to the excellent work of both the Sutton Trust and the US-UK Fulbright Commission. The Sutton Trusts distinguished record of working to promote social mobility is truly remarkable; this, when paired with the experts in US study at Fulbright, is a recipe for success which will greatly increase the opportunities of high achieving state school pupils.

This year is going to be the best!

The Fear.

Before being accepted into CC, upon telling people my plan to study in the states, they would ask me whether or not I was scared; I replied “No”. But now I’ve realised that I am scared, any sane person would be.

I don’t know exactly what I’m afraid of. Perhaps it’s moving so far away, to be hundreds of miles away from anyone I know, or maybe it’s the thought of leaving this green and pleasant land… These are too easy to describe, too easy to pinpoint; what terrifies me is something much deeper and immediate. 

A few weeks ago, just before Christmas, I had two strange experience. One of my teachers remarked to me:

Just because you have this offer from America doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard

and another:

Now you have to get your head down otherwise people’ll think your too stupid to go to that college.

Never before in my life have I had people, specifically teachers, question my commitment to hard work and academia. What these two comments have sparked in me is a fear of people’s thoughts. 

I am constantly being congratulated and asked about different things to do with my school, which is fantastic! Yet, since being accepted into CC and the news getting out, I feel a little bit isolated; maybe it’s the fear, or maybe it’s paranoia.  

Perhaps I’m being over-dramatic, only time will tell!