Welcome to “People of Durango,” a new column from the Independent. Our very first profile of the term is featuring Patrick Langlois, a non-traditional student here at Fort Lewis College.
Originally from New Orleans, LA, Langlois moved out to Grand Junction, CO in his early 30’s with a desire to continue his education and live in the mountains.
While hiking the Ice Lake trail in Silverton, CO, Langlois met an older, non-traditional student from Fort Lewis College who told him that he needed to come check out Durango and FLC itself.
After taking that advice, Langlois ended up camping in Durango for a week and taking a campus tour at FLC. He instantly decided that he would rather be here in Durango than in Grand Junction, so he made the switch.
Langlois is currently pursuing a math degree as a non-traditional student and is thinking about potentially becoming a teacher.
Coming back to school to finish his degree after a long time out of school was a difficult decision for Langlois, and he was worried about being a much older student in a group of traditionally college-aged people. However, the now 39-year-old, Langlois feels as though the current generation at FLC doesn’t tend to put too much emphasis on age and background, which he finds very welcoming.
In Langlois’ experience, FLC made it relatively easy for him to transfer his credits and get him all set up at the college.
In addition to the accessibility, Langlois says that he appreciates the small size of FLC and the strong Native culture present at the school, which he hadn’t experienced in his hometown of New Orleans.
According to FLC’s website, there are roughly 3,229 current students. Because of this, Langlois is able to develop close relationships with his professors, he said. This, in addition to what he perceives to be a kind and welcoming student population, makes him feel right at home.
In fact, it is the people that Langlois has met and the friends that he’s made here that makes him appreciate Durango the most, he said. He especially loves that no matter what awesome outdoor activity he wants to do, there is always someone that wants to do it with him.
Langlois has been in Durango for three years now, and he says that being outside and exploring never gets old.
“A place like Durango can be good for you,” he said. “It can be therapeutic.”
Being an avid runner, Langlois spends his time running all around Southwest Colorado. His favorite local spot to run is in Horse Gulch, which he prefers due to the proximity to campus and downtown, where he resides.
Langlois is looking forward to spending more time in the outdoor spaces of Durango with his friends, and while he’s not sure where life will take him next, he is open to and excited for whatever opportunity may come his way.