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The college experience 

Street Smarts

Libraries at midnight, 8 a.m. classes, huge stacks of reading, term papers ... at times, college is a major stress fest. For many of us, though, it yields some of the most exciting and fun years of our lives.

click to enlarge Kali Wells

Kali Wells of Old Colorado City works in sports administration

Where'd you go to college, and what was your major? I went to the University of Houston and majored in kinesiology.

What surprised you most about college life? The amount of work — how easy it is to lose focus and get off track, have fun instead.

If you were to do it over, what would you do differently this time? I'd spend more time in my books instead of hanging out. Also, I'd go to an out-of-state school, and I'd finish straight out of high school instead of years later.

What advice do you have for freshmen today? Give it 100 percent. Otherwise, you'll find yourself working in something that gives you no joy.

click to enlarge Kate Canner

Kate Canner of central Colorado Springs is a chemical engineer

Where'd you go, and what was your major? I went to the University of Delaware and majored in chemical engineering.

What do you miss most about college? Extracurricular activities like Engineers Without Borders and doing volunteer work with a fraternity.

How did college change you for the better? Majoring in engineering forced me to get a work ethic. It turned me into a better worker.

What advice do you have for an entering freshman? Job experience makes a real difference, so choose a school that offers internships. Also, get to know your professors. They can be enormously helpful when it's time to look for a job.

click to enlarge Matt Zehner

Matt Zehner of Old Colorado City is a school administrator

Where'd you go and what was your major? I went to the University of Scranton, a small Jesuit school in northeast Pennsylvania, and I majored in chemistry. I also have an M.A. in education.

What surprised you most about college life? I wasn't surprised. My older brother went a year before me, and he told me how tough it is. There's a lot of sleepless nights.

What do you miss most about college? Having so many friends and opportunities for good conversation. You don't get that in the real world.

How did your college experience change you? It matured me — made me more worldly, more cultured.

What advice can you offer an entering freshman? Shop around. It's not about the undergraduate degree, it's about the graduate degree. Save money; do two years at a small school, and then climb the ladder as you find your niche.

  • For many of us, college yields some of the most exciting and fun years of our lives.

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