The end of my time at UCCS will mean a bittersweet farewell

UCCS accepted me for my academic ability while also giving me experiences that a large campus would never have done. My time at the Scribe has been equally valuable, and I will carry it for the rest of my life.  

I graduated from high school in May of 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter what institution people attended after graduation, there was a real sense of fear in leaving at this time. I didn’t stay in Colorado Springs for my entire freshman semester.  

During my first two years of college, I didn’t know what my professors or fellow peers looked like. No one wanted to speak, no one seemed to be willing to make new friends and the campus was as empty as I’d ever seen it. That’s why I left, but after those first two years I began to see what the small campus could offer.  

When the mask mandates finally melted away halfway through my Spring semester of 2022, the campus brightened for me. I started at the Scribe and found professors on campus who I’m sure won’t be topped, even in my time at law school.  

The Scribe reminded me of my best times in high school, as I got to write about issues that affect people’s everyday lives, while also giving them the chance to distract themselves from the stress of their studies. My colleagues became good friends that host “Golden Bachelor” viewing parties, movie nights and maybe even a random opportunity to participate in an odd Yoko Ono artistic ritual for a project.  

Beyond it all, I got to conduct dozens of interviews on and off campus, which is my favorite part of being a journalist. Seeing people light up when you ask them about their interests and let them know we’ll pay attention to special topics in our features section is beyond humbling. The Scribe has given me the gift of hearing people’s stories and validating their interests when it seems no one is paying attention.  

I’m now in my final semester at UCCS and as I reflect on my time here, I wonder why I ever felt I needed to go to a big state school back in high school. I got an intimate education at UCCS that has given me a chance to meet professors and instructors that I will have lasting friendships with. These educators see beyond my ability to perform on a standardized exam and realize my academic prowess for what it is. I couldn’t have gotten that at a large school.  

Now that I am getting ready to attend law school in a year and most likely leave Colorado, I feel very conflicted. I moved to Durango in 2013, something I was less than ecstatic about, to say the least. I never felt I fit into a community there. I thought when I graduated, I’d be able to flee to Texas and get some semblance of my old life, but Colorado had something to offer me: in-state tuition (of course) and beautiful land unlike any other place in this country.  

Colorado is not one thing. Despite the stereotypes of hippy pothead ski bums, Colorado has a rich history of rural untouched spaces and diverse cities that represent two versions of America. My time here has shown me that everyone has something different to offer and your upbringing or place of birth doesn’t make you better than the next person. It has taught me tolerance and respect for people and the natural world.  

Despite my amazing experiences at UCCS, the Scribe and this wonderful state, Texas calls me home. But I’ll be bringing these memories and lessons with me back to the Lonestar state. Like Truman Capote said, “all southerners come home, even if it’s in a pine box.” 

I will miss you UCCS, thank you for everything! This is Swifty signing off for the final time.