Aug 192011
Authors: Allison Sylte

The day I moved into my residence hall, literally the first thing my roommate said to me was, “Dude… I haven’t smoked in like three days and it’s a serious buzzkill. Do you know where I can score some weed down here?”

I had absolutely no clue. I told her to go ask our RA. I still have no idea why I said that.
The thing is, I was a total nerd in high school. The most rebellious thing I did was call myself out of health class so I could do homework for AP Stats. My friends and I spent our Friday nights doing wholesome activities, like playing Apples to Apples or studying while drinking a nice cup of hot chocolate.

I had absolutely no clue people still smoked marijuana. I thought that went out of style in like the ‘70s or something.

I told myself that I would “get cool,” when I came to college…You know, like Olivia Newton John at the end of “Grease.” But when I moved into my residence hall, I realized that it just wasn’t going to happen.

For one thing, I didn’t quite have the slang down, and I had a propensity for actually attending class, which meant that at midnight, rather than “pre-gaming,” I went to bed.

I was far too socially awkward to attend parties, and the one time I went to the Wash Bar, a midget groped me, I definitely didn’t want to go back there.

One of the first times I attempted to get drunk (Halloween, my freshman year), I made the mistake of drinking too much Orange Burnett’s and fruit punch during a “Saturday Night Live” drinking game (what can I say, I was an amateur), and ended up letting the RA into our room and getting everyone written up, all while I was wearing a 1980s spandex workout costume, circa Olivia Newton John when she got physical.

Not my best moment.

What confounded me more than anything was how it seemed like every other freshman had joined some sort of pack, walking up and down the sidewalks between the dorms with a new kind of swagger, smoking cigarettes and talking about how college was so much better than high school.
Well yeah, because they were the cool kids. For the nerds like me, I thought, nothing really changed.

I occupied my time by studying, going to the gym and Facebook-ing my high school friends about how nearly all of the people at CSU were alcoholics and juvenile delinquents. For a while, I desperately wanted to transfer to Boulder.

While I’m glad that I didn’t get whipped up into that frenzy of partying and debauchery, I do realize that during my first year of college, I didn’t really experience everything college has to offer.
Actually, I was kind of a bitch.

College is about meeting new people and having brand-new experiences. Its very purpose is to be surrounded by the people you didn’t meet in high school, and to start growing up and entering that real world where not everyone fits into those black and white categories of “band geek” or “stoner.”
I’m definitely not someone who ought to dispense advice, but what I learned that year is simple: don’t judge. Sure, my roommate began our relationship by asking me for weed, but she definitely wasn’t a bad person.

And I definitely had to take myself out of the box I put myself in, where I only respected people who I thought were just like me. I started making an effort to get to know people from all walks of life, and what do you know? I actually met some pretty damn cool people.

This summer, a lot of my old high school buddies have told me that I’ve changed and that I’ve become a radically different person since my days at Littleton High School.

And while they think it’s a bad thing, I definitely don’t. At some point, you’ve got to grow up and become a member of society, not a member of some sort of niche or subcategory.

Because for me anyway, that’s when college became the best experience of my life — even better than the Celine Dion concert I went to my senior year.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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