When people think of Iowa a lot of different things come to mind. We are a Big10 campus with over 20,000 undergraduates walking around and another 10,000 or so in the graduate programs. That’s 30,000 people walking around on what seems like a large campus. But while we aren’t a private school with a graduating class that is smaller than that at some high schools, the whole Big10 label isn’t as truthful as it may seem.
As a junior in high school I came to tour Iowa. It was my first college tour so you can imagine how excited I was. While I don’t remember much about the statistics they gave me, nor did I really care, I did remember two things. First, it was cold the rain was going sideways and I was convinced the wind was going to blow me away (just a normal day late fall day in Iowa really), but more importantly I remember my tour guide saying hi to at least 3 people on her tour. Every time it happened I was just a little confused. I knew that Iowa was a big school so I came up with scenarios about how this was possible. Either she was just saying hi to random people on campus pretending to know them or she paid her friends to meet her around the place.
Flash forward 2 years to my first week on campus, and I still thought about that day. I still wondered if I would ever see someone I knew on campus. Then it happened. A few days into classes, when I was no longer getting lost, I saw people I knew. Like not just one person, but lots. And it happened all the time. And it happened to everyone. That’s what makes Iowa’s campus so unique. On the surface we are just like every other Big10 school out there. Iowa has the numbers, it has the reputation and it definitely has the academics and extracurricular activities that a Big10 school would have but what we have that others may not is small campus feel. You can walk around campus surrounded by thousands of other people and not once feel like you are lost in the crowd. Our campus, which is really only a couple miles in circumference really isn’t that big at all. It is a community where you will all of a sudden know more people than you thought possible, and you’ll run into them on the streets or that local coffee shop downtown that you just discovered. And as time goes on it will become smaller and smaller, and it will feel more and more like home.
Yeah, Iowa is huge. I’m not going to lie and say 20,000 people is a small number. But the Iowa campus and the Iowa people don’t make it feel that way. And that truly is one of my favorite parts of coming to school here. We are given all the opportunities a Big10 school has to offer, with a small campus feel.
Until Next Time