by Alice Phipps (´14)

It’s hard to believe that just three months ago I was still living in Rio and studying at OLM. It feels like a lifetime ago, especially considering the fact that I am now thousands of miles away in a different country, living in a very different environment.


Becoming a student at University of Colorado Boulder has been a dream of mine from the moment I set my eyes on its campus five years ago. I began to plan everything out, all I would succeed in and conquer as I set foot in CU Boulder. However, the moment I really did set foot on campus, my confidence quickly shattered and I began to worry. College was already slowly showing that it was different than I had pictured. As orientation came and went I kept asking myself: what if I don’t like it here, what if I don’t make any good friends and what if I flunk out?


I was afraid the dreams I formed in my head wouldn’t become a reality, and that I would end up being miserable instead of the happy college girl I imagined in my head all these years.

Then I thought to myself, when have my preconceived notions of anything ever been correct? When I found out in sophomore year of high school that I was going to live in Brazil for a while, I began to imagine what those years away from home would be like. Having been raised in the States almost my entire life, my thoughts of Rio and OLM were obviously not what it actually turned out to be. I began to worry. If I got the picture of the city I’ll be living in and the school I’ll be studying in wrong, did that mean the image of me being happy in Brazil was wrong too?


Brazil wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. In fact, it happened to be much better than I imagined. Never in a million years would I have been able to picture how happy I would be, or how many great friends and teachers I would make at Our Lady of Mercy. The day I arrived in Rio I saw it as a temporary spot I would soon move out of. The day I moved away I couldn’t stop crying because I was leaving what had become my home.


And so with that thought I was able to calm down a lot. So what if college isn’t what I expected it to be? That probably isn’t a bad thing at all! It’s turns out that merely a week later I am able to say that my worries were very premature. I have already made many new friends with who I go out with every weekend. My classes are very interesting and my teachers are as passionate and caring as my old teachers from OLM. I have the luxury of going to a big school with thousands of very nice people while being able to study in classes as big as they were at Our Lady of Mercy. I’ve already found many clubs and activities to do and I’ve even taken up rock climbing! I’m beginning to really love CU Boulder, and maybe someday, I will feel as home here as I did at OLM.