I graduated last spring, 2021. Looking back on my college experience is a little weird. I was born and raised in Idaho, went to schools in a suburb of Boise, and then eventually went to Boise State. But somehow, along the way, I felt like I wasn’t exactly the Boise State demographic. Now, I understand that idea doesn’t exist.
The idea that there is some sort of form or group that you have to fit in to be the “ideal Bronco” is totally a myth and I don’t really know where I got that idea. I just remember thinking, while I was walking through the library, that other people were probably working on more important things than me or deserved to use the space more than me because they were what I assumed to be “traditional” students.
See, I was a commuter student. I drove from Kuna to campus multiple times per week. Plus, I was in my late twenties when I chose to go to college. So, it happened to be the perfect storm of me thinking, “You’re not the right demographic” and “You don’t live on campus” which made me come to the conclusion that I was taking up someone else’s valuable space, instead of holding my own (which was equally as important).
My idea of college life was that of an early twenties person, who lived on campus, had a fuller class schedule than me, was involved in extracurriculars, clubs, sports, made a bunch of friends in their classes, and spent a ton of time on campus. I wanted that to be my experience, but I felt like I missed it.
I was a late twenties student who felt too old to go back to school. I was afraid to make friends (even though I saw plenty of people of all different ages in my classes), I had a full-time course load just like so many others, and eventually I did get involved with extracurriculars, but not until my junior year.
My point is, I had every right to use all of our resources and spaces here on campus. And so do you. No matter what your student experience looks like.
I have this habit, and you can tell me if you have it too, where I box myself in and make unnecessary rules for myself. No one told me I wasn’t welcome. No one told me there was an age limit to higher education. No one said I couldn’t sit in the SUB, looking very studious, and sip my tea while I wrote essays about Edgar Allen Poe. No one said I couldn’t sprawl out on the grass in the quad and enjoy the summer air while I did my homework (I took a lot of summer classes).
But for some reason I was afraid to take up space.
It’s only now that I’m an employee of Boise State (go figure, that’s always how it works, right?) that I’m no longer afraid of taking up that space. I paid my tuition just like everyone else, I turned in my homework like everyone else, I graduated just like everyone else. I am and have always been a Bronco.
So, now, looking back on it. I wish I could take myself by the hand and lead myself around to the coolest places on campus, or introduce myself to the awesome advisors we have, or the incredible Financial Aid team, or Health Services, the superstars at Campus Rec—and so much more. I’d show her that she belongs and there are so many people at Boise State who care so much about you. They want you to be successful and use every, and I mean every, resource available to you.
I had a meeting today where someone asked, “Who is a Bronco?” And I thought, “Everyone. We’re all Broncos.” What makes us Broncos is not our age, or background, or what we’re studying. It’s that we’re making opportunities for ourselves and our communities. We see a path ready to be paved…and we pave it.