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BWW Blog: Why I Chose Chico State

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BWW Blog: Why I Chose Chico State

Choosing a college was an overwhelming process for me. It was probably one of the biggest decisions I had to make at that point in my life. There were so many options and I was worried about making the wrong choice. I knew a few things that I wanted, but I wasn't sure if I could really find out what the school was like until I went there. Ultimately, I just had to trust myself and listen to all the signs that told me that Chico was the perfect match for me.

The first step I took was simply looking at the basics: cost, size, location, etc. I decided that I wanted to go to a medium sized school. It would be big enough to challenge me to grow, but small enough that I could still get more personalized feedback from professors. There were two things I looked for in regard to location. One was the broad, geographic location. I wanted to be close enough to home that it wouldn't be too complicated to come back, but also far enough away that I had a sense of independence. In addition to the general location, I tried to get a sense of what the campus and the surrounding area was like. Did I like the look and feel of the campus? Were there things to do nearby? Even though I place more importance on the academic aspect of college, I still wanted to make sure that I would be able to have fun. I knew that if I didn't like the atmosphere, it would be much harder for me to enjoy the full college experience.

Once I determined what seemed good on paper, it was time to actually go to the colleges I was looking at. Even though you can get some idea of the feel of the area through pictures and research, it's hard to know until you're actually there. These tours helped me narrow it down to my top two choices-Chico State University and Boise State. Both had the more classic college architecture, beautiful trees, creeks running through campus, and several peaceful spots where I could see myself studying. While I liked the look of Boise's downtown a little better, it was further away from campus, while at Chico, it was right across the street. Boise was also further from home. All in all, it was a pretty close tie between the two schools at that point. However, one unexpected experience at Chico made all the difference.

My family and I had visited both schools during our spring break, going to Boise first and then Chico. The plan was to just get a feel for the colleges; we didn't have an appointment to see anyone at either campus. We visited Boise on a weekend, so no one was really around. However, we went to Chico on a weekday and since it wasn't their spring break, there were plenty of people there. My dad got the idea to go into the theatre office to see if we could talk to someone about the theatre program there. As this was unplanned, we weren't expecting much-maybe just asking a couple questions and getting a list of the classes to take. It just so happened that one of the professors in the department was in the office at that time and overheard us talking to the person at the front desk. He came over and introduced himself and then proceeded to give us a personally guided tour of the department. He took us to all three theaters on campus, the costume shop, and costume storage. He even took us to the greenroom where students hang out between classes and introduced us to some of the students (who were all very friendly). While we were walking back, he also mentioned that he had been in the national tour of Les Misérables. This tour made all the difference to me. While I did go back to Boise to speak with their theatre department, it just wasn't the same. At Chico, not only was there a professor who had professional acting experience, but everyone also went above and beyond to make me feel welcome. One of the reasons I fell in love with theatre was the sense of community it created, and I saw that at Chico. It really felt like I could make a home there, and that is what ultimately what drew me to it.

Two years into my life at Chico, I know I made the right choice. I love everything that downtown has to offer, and I've really enjoyed taking advantage of the hikes and nearby rivers. I have learned so much in all my classes and I've made many meaningful friendships. Though we've had to switch to virtual learning, the theatre department is still making it a point to have Zoom meetings for everyone to come together to talk. We even had a Zoom cast party for what would have been our opening night of In the Heights, allowing us to connect and find a sense of closure for our cancelled show. It's moments like that where I feel the warmth of community in such a deep and profound way and I appreciate every second of it. Chico is a place where I truly feel supported and I am so happy with my decision.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Laura Johnson