Jul 262011
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

Last week, I think I may have unintentionally set a young woman up for a future of homelessness and/or prostitution. That, or I persuaded her to attend CU — I’ll let you decide which is worse.

It all started when I was asked the seemingly simple, but surprisingly baffling question, “So, what makes CSU a good school?”

I was sitting outside the Lory Student Center during my lunch break, eating an egg roll, gazing out onto the plaza and thinking to myself, “I really hope those Mormons don’t come up and start asking me questions. Also, this egg roll is pretty greasy.”

Then suddenly I heard, “Hey, sorry to bother you, but are you a student here?”

I looked up, and instead of seeing the Mormon missionaries as expected, a teenage girl and her dad stood beside me.

She explained that she was a high school senior, unsure of whether she wanted to attend CU or CSU in 2012, and this visit would hopefully determine her decision.

Then, the infamous question came up. And instead of spouting an eloquent speech about the strengths of each department and the beauty of the Oval, all I could come up with was, “Um, well, I don’t know … I like it, though … ?” It was really articulate stuff.

The girl’s raised eyebrows said two things: “This girl with the egg rolls is not very bright,” and, “I’m definitely going to CU.”

As she and her dad walked away, undoubtedly on their way to stock up on Buff merchandise, I couldn’t help but feel defeated. I mean, I truly do think CSU is a great school. But there has to be some concrete reasoning, doesn’t there?

And I began to wonder: If I were in that girl’s position, without any of the emotional attachment I have for it now, would I think CSU is a good school?

Honestly, I can’t say that I would.

Aesthetically, the campus is a mess right now. There’s quite literally construction being done around every corner –– “CAUTION” tape has replaced the ubiquity of the Green Peace people.

Beyond the mess of jackhammers, there’s a constant reminder of the substantial tuition increase. And that’s beyond aesthetics, because we all know 20 percent is a pretty big deal.

And while those things are both irritating and troublesome, the truth is, CSU has won me over.

If given the chance, I wouldn’t change schools. In fact, if I were hypothetically offered a full-ride scholarship to Notre Dame (my “dream” school a few years ago), I wouldn’t accept it.

Because while CSU may look a little shabbier than the Fighting Irish’s campus right now, and our financial future may be a bit more precarious, our university holds mine, and hundreds of other students’, affection.

You see, I wish I knew two years ago –– when I was riddled with anxiety over making the right college decision –– what I’ve come to learn since my time here at CSU.

All universities are just a name and a reputation. That is, until, you get to know the campus and the people who roam it.

I wish I knew that what makes a school “good” for you may not be something that’s measurable by ranking or awards –– but rather, it’s an intangible feeling that you’ve benefited from, and been changed by, your years there.

Sure, this all sounds sappy, but I hope the girl on the plaza wasn’t dissuaded by my unconvincing response. Because beyond the cheesy, Oprah-esque sentimental reasoning, CSU really is a great place to earn a degree.

At what other school does the president sign his five-page long informative emails with the friendly and casual, “-tony”?

I can tell you one thing for sure: Notre Dame’s prestige has nothing on that lowercase “t.”

_Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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