Fort Collins: Home for a Lifetime

Hi! My name is Ryan Baeverstad and I am a Junior at Colorado State University studying a dual-degree in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical & Biological Engineering. I’ve lived in Fort Collins my entire life and both my parents and siblings are Rams, so naturally I am a die-hard Rams fan and our family practically bleeds green and gold. I also love to ski and golf. While at CSU, I’ve been able to pursue my interests and develop myself, both academically and socially, through numerous opportunities that the university offers. Some of these things include joining a fraternity, becoming involved in professional engineering societies, and playing intramural sports. Overall, I have had an incredible time at CSU thus far and am glad to be here for another couple years!

Having grown up in Fort Collins and having a family full of Rams, how was CSU a part of your life prior to actually attending the university?

Growing up in a college town, specifically Fort Collins, was an awesome experience. Having the university right in town meant that there was always a game to go, there were tons of concerts in Old Town, and always some kind of excitement in the air. Not only was there a lot of excitement coming from the university, but there’s just so much to do in Fort Collins in general. My weekends were always different – between taking ski trips only 2 hours away to tubing down the Poudre River to having a low-key night at home, nothing ever felt dull growing up. That’s what made it impossible to leave Fort Collins. Granted, I love my family so that’s an added bonus to have them close, but by no means was that the deciding factor. When comparing Fort Collins and CSU to other college towns, I couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else.

Discuss why you chose to stay in state, but also in Fort Collins. Elaborate on the appealing factors of CSU that helped you make this choice:

I always knew that I wanted to stay in-state. Being a huge skier, I wanted mountains. Further, I love that Colorado has distinctive seasons. You get an actual fall, winter, spring, and summer, all allowing you to take advantage of that time to do something unique that the state has to offer. Finally, my family did factor into my decision. I am very close to them and being able to go home when I wanted to is very important to me.

However, I did think picking my school in Colorado would be a tough decision–between CSU, CU, and Mines, there are three very good engineering schools to attend. Surprisingly however, it wasn’t a difficult decision at all for me. Colorado State ended up being the best choice because of how much that the university has so much to offer students. To begin, the dual-degree Biomedical Engineering program at CSU is unlike anything I have seen at any other university; this is probably the largest factor behind my decision. CSU also has over 400 different student organizations and clubs available to join. I also like that Colorado State is a fairly large university of around 30 thousand students. It’s fun to have a diverse student population where I am not surrounded by engineering all the time – it gives students the opportunity to be friends with a multitude of different people with different backgrounds and experiences. Finally, Fort Collins is almost always nice here, particularly the weather with 300+ days of sunshine each year.

A lot of high school seniors entering college worry a lot about the distance they have from home. What is unique about CSU is that while you are on campus, it feels like a whole other world. I don’t feel like I’m in my hometown – I am at college. Once you get here, it is very easy to create your own distance. You can choose to have no contact with home for the entire semester or you can choose to go home everyday. I wouldn’t suggest doing either of those, but you do have the freedom of choosing. For myself, I knew it was important, especially staying in my hometown, to branch out from my connections from my upbringing and really reach out for different opportunities. For some students, it is hard for them to break away from home enough so that they can be fully immersed in the college experience. In that situation, I would not recommend staying too close to home. However, if you are confident in your ability to dive head-first into everything college can offer, despite being close to home, Colorado State will be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Since starting at CSU, what aspects of your life have changed and what has stayed the same about Fort Collins for you.

Fort Collins will always be home to me and that will always be true for me. However, since starting at CSU, my appreciation for Fort Collins has become more apparent to me. The friends you make in college are friends you will have for a lifetime. The three most important things in my life are my family, my friends, and my faith. All three of these things I have found while in Fort Collins and at CSU. While I may end up somewhere else after graduation, Fort Collins will always be the place where my most important relationships were made. I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Ryan Baeverstad at Colorado State University

Why did you choose to attend CSU even though you grew up in Fort Collins?

IMG_0519Colorado State has everything – simply put. It offers so many opportunities as a student, both academically and socially. I have been able to join several organizations, including a fraternity, engineering clubs, intramural sports, and faith organizations. We live right outside the mountains, allowing for a quick trip up to go skiing, mountain biking, hiking, anything. We have one of the best rec centers in the nation. Our classroom and lab facilities are incredible. The Biomedical Engineering dual-degree program is unlike anything I’ve seen across the country. From all of this, people would be crazy not to want to go to CSU – however living close to home often steers students away. Honestly, once you are on campus, it feels like another world. In a sense, you can be as close to home as you want it. If you want to visit home every day, by all means you can. But if you want distance, you can easily create that. I wouldn’t worry about whether or not CSU is close to home; worry about if you think CSU is the right fit for you.

What kind of personal help can you get for your studies at CSU?

It is so easy to get help at CSU. As a freshman engineering student, tutoring is offered every week day in your dorm on your most important classes; Calculus, Physics, etc. That really gives you no excuse to not get some help. You can roll out of bed in your PJ’s and still get the tutoring you need. Aside from that, the TILT building on campus also offers tutoring daily on any subject you need help in. My biggest advice to any student is to take advantage of office hours. All of your professors will offer office hours about once or twice weekly where you can use that time for any help you need. Review for tests, homework help, maybe you didn’t understand a lecture, whatever. Going to office hours will help you tremendously as well as help you build great relationships with your professors.

How does the honors program affect your studies at CSU?

The Honors program really has been awesome. It offers so many benefits to its students; a scholarship, priority registration, smaller class sizes, as well as seminars instead of some of the AUCC (All University Core Curriculum) credits you would need to get out of the way. The workload really hasn’t been overwhelming compared to other students. Some Honors classes may ask a little bit more out of their students, but from what I’ve found, being in a smaller class and having easier accessibility to those professors, its sometimes easier to succeed in the honors sections. Even if you’re debating Honors, I still recommend applying – if you drop Honors, it won’t be the end of the world. The program offers a whole lot for their students as well as puts you in a community of friends who are just as driven as you are.

What is freshman year like at CSU?

As a freshman in engineering, expect a lot of change. The majority of you probably have never taken an engineering class in your life. For me, this was hard. It was like learning a new language; completely foreign to me. My best advice – don’t give up, be persistent. Class sizes will be a lot bigger than you’re used to, probably overwhelm you the first week, but they really aren’t that bad – not something to worry about. The hardest thing freshman year for me was the first month. This was the first time living on my own (keep in mind I’m from Fort Collins – its still a big change). I had to find new friends. I had to find where I fit in and was happiest at. Advice here: put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to try new things. I thought joining an engineering club would be the nerdiest thing ever – I went to it, and ended up loving the opportunities there. I hadn’t ever really considered a fraternity – joined one and now its full of my best friends. I love intramural sports….I knew I would love that one though. Change is big, its scary, but also great. I had an absolutely incredible experience freshman year, largely due to how open I was to try things. There is so much this campus has to offer you, so take advantage of those opportunities and you will have a great year.

What are you involved with on campus?

Campus involvement is huge. If you want to enjoy college, be involved. Yes, going to college is for education – I totally agree with that, so make it your first priority. However, your not paying thousands of dollars every year just for class. You are paying for the entire experience, so take advantage of that. At CSU, there are over 400 organizations; join at least one. I have joined Greek Life, engineering clubs, faith organizations, IM sports, and am a student ambassador for the College of Engineering. I love all of these. They have introduced me to friends, helped develop me professionally, and all have been a blast.