Three Evergreen High School graduates gave rave reviews about their experiences as college freshmen. Not one horror story about impossible roommates, terrible food or overwhelming course work emerged in recent conversations.
During her first semester at Colorado State University, the main adjustment for Anna Bowes was the hours she was keeping.
“I stayed out a lot later than I was used to — sometimes to 2 a.m.” Bowes said.
There’s a 24-hour coffee shop in Fort Collins where Bowes and her friends would hang out, she said.
Bowes also said that as a member of the CSU marching band, she put in 12-hour days during football games.
“I didn’t realize football games would last as long as they do,” she said. Practicing beforehand also extended her time commitment.
Bowes received a CSU marching band scholarship, which is helping to pay her college expenses, along with a Bootstraps scholarship and loan.
While talking about her freshman course work, Bowes said the content was easier than she anticipated.
"But the course load was a lot," she said.
Bowes took seven courses, including two labs, which were related to her music major. To meet her scholarship requirements, she had to maintain a 3.5 grade-point average, which she surpassed in her first semester.
While many college freshmen face a sea of unfamiliar faces, some of Bowes' high school friends also went to CSU this fall.
Although Bowes didn't know her roommate, they got along really well, she said.
Unlike Bowes, who didn't encounter too much difficulty with her music courses, some of her friends were struggling with chemistry and calculus classes, she said.
"My closest friends are from the marching band, and they all are studying other things," she said.
"I love it up here," said University of Wyoming freshman Stephanie Lownds. "It wasn't as windy as everybody told me it would be," she added.
While Lownds said that most of her course work wasn't all that tough, she had to focus more than when studying in high school.
As a communications major, Lownds took English, mass media and public speaking courses.
Lownds said she managed to find her way to classes, and the teachers weren't as strict as she imagined they might be.
"It was totally new," she said about her first few months in Wyoming.
Lownds also said her roommate is great, and the food was acceptable.
"It's not too awful," she said. "It's good the first couple of weeks."
Bowes said the food at CSU was better than she expected, and that she liked the choices.
"I didn't think it was too bad," she said. "I ate a lot of burritos and sandwiches. I did get kind of sick of it."
"I actually did like the food up here," said CSU freshman Stephen Tullberg.
The flexible dining hours were great, he said, with one place staying open until 1 a.m.
Tullberg said he was surprised about the amount of course work there was in his classes. Some weeks he worked long hours, he said.
Both Tullberg and Bowes also said that they were not sure how well they were doing during the semester, other than a few test scores.
When not studying, Tullberg said he played dodge ball with friends and went to Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins.
Bowes and Lownds said they had fun going to Western swing dances during the semester at different venues.
While their young adult children were adjusting to living away from home,
parents also are experiencing changes.
Bowes' mother, Becky, said she’s happy about her daughter being at college.
"I'm excited. This is what I've worked 18 years for," said Becky Bowes.
"As a parent, that's the goal. She was ready to go."
Contact reporter Sandy Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-350-1042.