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“At Western I’m learning what I truly want to study, how to manage my money and how to manage myself."

Zenda Olson is a sophomore originally from northern Idaho majoring in English at Western Colorado University.

Zenda says she loves that an English degree acts as a stepping stone towards many different paths, that her classes and the content she learns in them are fun and useful, and that while many people attempted to steer her academic direction, she was able to choose English all on her own.

Zenda is also minoring in Computer Science, a step outside her comfort zone that has proven fun on campus. She stated it’s a hobby of hers that she longed to explore more seriously, and though she feels it’s not going to be a keystone of her future, Zenda feels glad she has the option to diversify.

“At Western I’m learning what I truly want to study, how to manage my money and how to manage myself, and so far, I’ve had great progress since coming here,” she said. “I chose Western because it was far enough away from my family that I could do my own thing while being close enough to home and also affordable.”

So far, the transition to life in the Centennial State is going smoothly.

“Colorado is always so sunny in comparison to Idaho. I learned that while living in the city of Dolores the years before college,” she said. “Gunnison is cute and gives a ton of opportunities to be outdoors. City life is so busy and noisy during the days, but Gunnison is always welcoming me outside.”

Outside of class, Zenda stays busy with Spectrum and Gamers Guild on campus, as well as exploring Colorado with friends, skiing and participating in drag shows. .

“I love the chill people there, they’re really fun and open minded about whatever I have to talk about.”

Zenda says once she’s completed college, she’ll pursue a career in teaching English abroad and aspires to backpack around Europe.

“As much as I love having a home, I haven’t really seen the world. I feel very curious about what’s outside of America and really it seems silly not to obey that curiosity.”

Story by Western student Jamie Rivera.

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