This is the second post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series. My first post featured the things I loved about SLU. Check back for the rest of the posts in the series. I will be covering the University of Iowa as well as the Air Force Academy in upcoming posts, and I will write about what I didn’t like about all four universities as well.
I transferred to UCCS in January 2014 so that I could live closer to Cody as he was attending the Air Force Academy. It was a pretty scary move; I went from living three hours away from my family in Saint Louis to living about fourteen hours away in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that I missed my family a ton, I had a blast at UCCS, and I loved living in Colorado Springs. Narrowing this list down to just 5 was tough!
1.) Colorado Springs is one of the coolest cities in the U.S. Seriously, where else can you get such a vibrant mix of conservative military-oriented people along with super progressive hippies? And it isn’t only the people who feature wonderful differences; the city itself is the perfect mix of a modern urban city-scape and old-fashioned wilderness. In just fifteen minutes, you can either be at the heart of the city or exploring the base of the mountain range.
2.) The Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs are right down the road. The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful rock formation filled with easy to walk pathways and sidewalks. It is gorgeous, and you won’t be satisfied just exploring it once. Manitou Springs is the quirky little sister to Colorado Springs. It’s a small town filled with touristy shops and street art. It is so much fun to go spend an afternoon in Manitou.
3.) The class sizes are small. I’ve tried to avoid writing about facts that the schools themselves already advertise, but UCCS did a remarkable job of keeping their class sizes small. My largest class was a lecture with about 70 people in it, and even that had a lab section that met separately and had less than 20 students. Every other class I was a part of was small enough to enjoy class discussions and get to know everyone’s names. As an English major, classroom discussion is what helps me truly learn the most, so I really appreciated being a part of classes that were small enough to have discussions.
4.) The University itself sits on its own hill overlooking Colorado Springs. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen was the sun rising and setting over the mountain range as I walked to or from class. The views that UCCS provides are absolutely incredible. I took pictures almost every day my entire first month there.
5.) The whole city has a strong military community, and a genuine sense of patriotism. Colorado Springs always had parades for important holidays such as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, and it was nice to see the community turn out to support our troops as well as take pride in our country. As someone who is going to be a military spouse, this may have been more important to me than it would be to most people, but hey, who doesn’t like parades?
My experience in Colorado Springs was something I’ll never forget. Let me know if there’s anything that I forgot to mention, and don’t forget to check back for the rest of the posts in this series!