March 11, 2022 | OPINION | By Katey Grealish | Illustration by Iris Guo
Like any good Colorado College student, I usually spend some time on Thursdays and Fridays brainstorming activities for an exciting weekend. As a senior in high school, I was attracted to CC by the promise of the ‘Colorado life’ and adventure — trailside picnics and scenic 6 a.m. car rides into the mountains. I feel like I owe it to my high school-self to spend my Saturdays and Sundays hiking, skiing, road tripping, or running — all the cool things advertised by the CC Admissions Office.
Flash forward to the present, and my weekends are considerably less exciting than my past-self envisioned. As I progress through my sophomore year, I find I’m a little less willing than I was even a year ago, as a first-year, to pursue the ski-all-day, party-all-night weekend lifestyle.
Demands like work and exhaustion mean I sometimes sleep until 11:30 a.m. and spend Sunday doing homework instead of hiking at the Great Sand Dunes. Still, as I sit this Sunday writing this article instead of flying down a slope, a voice in my head says I’m doing my weekend wrong.
I love CC’s adventure culture, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the pressure to live it out at every moment. I think the key contributors to this weekend pressure are the nature of the Block Plan, student life, and social media.
Having intensive, three-hour class five days a week makes me feel like I need to do something exciting on the weekend to make up for the routine of daily life. That desire to stick it to the man compounds with the CC culture of outdoor recreation. This might be my fault for being a screenager, but I can’t help but compare my weekend experience to the Instagram stories of my classmates, smattered with mountain scenes and road trip shenanigans.
These stories exist for a good reason; spending time in nature is fun! Of course, kids want to share the cool activities and beautiful sights they encounter. I think the nature of social media creates pressure to not only do something exciting over the weekend, but also make sure my peers know about it. If I didn’t post about my day trip to Manitou Springs, did it really happen?
There are also class and racial aspects to this pressure to get outside that are important to highlight. The reason why I can even ski on the weekends in the first place is because I was raised doing it. Winter sports especially, like skiing or snowboarding, are predominantly white. Even though hiking requires limited special gear or training, you must have some means of transportation to get there. This is most accessible when you have a car or a friend with a car. Not everyone’s background prepared them to easily fit in with the image of the granola CC student.
CC has started to combat socioeconomic gatekeeping through Outdoor Ed and Campus Activities offerings. Weekend programming often includes classes on outdoor skills and transportation to fun spots throughout the state. These are good opportunities for students who may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of planning a hike or ski trip to get involved in outdoor life.
I want to note that the culture I’ve discussed is one of many subcultures at CC. I don’t think students who spend their weekends climbing mountains and hitting the slopes are any more noteworthy than those who don’t.
There are a host of other things to do that are just as fun and meaningful that don’t require extensive planning or outdoor knowledge, like attending sports events, arts events, on-campus workshops, or exploring downtown (those emails from Amy Hill might be more useful than you think).
I love the adventure culture at CC; it’s one of the reasons I came here in the first place. I love a day spent hiking, skiing, or road tripping as much as the next person. With that said, I want to ease the pressure I sometimes feel to have an action-packed roster of activities all weekend, every weekend. Sometimes you just have to sleep until noon and watch ‘Community’for four hours straight.