Commonly Asked Questions

For almost a year now I’ve had the honor of being a university tour guide. That means I’m lucky enough to spend a few hours a week talking about how amazing the University of Iowa and Iowa City is. Because I spend a lot of time with potential students and their families I’ve been asked a lot of questions. Some quite random like – do people fall down the hill a lot in winter, others a little more common. Being able to answer these question in person is always great as it can ease the minds of nervous students and their parents. But for those who may not have traveled out for a visit yet I’ve decided to answer some of the most common questions.

  1. Would you say the academics at Iowa are hard?

This question can be quite hard to answer in a few sentences and it really depends on the student and what they choose to study. There are two things I always love to answer with though. Firstly, I think no matter who you are the transition from high school to college classes can be hard. That’s just the reality of being in a completely new environment with a completely different learning style so don’t worry if it takes a few exams or even a whole semester to figure out what works best for you. The second thing I always say is that if you pick a degree or path that you are passionate about it will never be impossible. Sure you will have classes that are hard and seem like they will never end, but if you enjoy what you are studying than you will get through them. I found that very quickly when I changed my major. Being a nurse I hated almost everything I studied and ended up really struggling, the minute I was in a major I loved I began to succeed. Sure the constant pile of papers to write and readings to analyze were hard but I enjoyed them so they never seemed as bad as even a chapter of reading for nursing.

  1. Do you feel safe on campus?

While I don’t always get asked this question, I think it is a very important one to address as I think it is a priority of a lot of parents when their children are looking at schools. I also believe that it is important to answer this question with 100% honesty. Yes, I do feel very safe on this campus. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that I have never been worried or been on high alert when I walk home late at night, but that’s not because I go to school at the University of Iowa that’s because I am a young female living in the world we live in today. I believe the University and local city have done an amazing job of trying to make the campus and city of Iowa as safe as possible. There are a lot of precautions in place like the three police forces that work and patrol the university and Night Ride which allows students to be driven by an off duty police officer after 10pm. Things like this do make the campus a very safe place to be.

  1. Do a lot of people have cars at Iowa?

Unlike the first two, this is a pretty easy question to answer. As a freshman, I’d say it’s about 50/50 chance that students will have a car. Because quite a few students are from Iowa or neighboring states they will sometimes bring a car from home, but if they are like me and out of states chances are a lot smaller. What I always like to point out with this is that you don’t need a car on campus. The University of Iowa is an amazing walking campus and is not even close to as large as it looks on a map. Most of my walks between classes are 5-8 minutes. And if you need to get somewhere further away we have things like our Cambus system and public Iowa City transit.

  1. What is military science?

Although most people won’t ever receive a minor in military science, this question is one I get asked quite a lot. Military science is a minor that I receive by completing my school’s Army ROTC program. I like to talk about this though, because combining it with a Communication Studies degree and Event Planning certificate shows just how diverse your studying can be at Iowa. You never feel like you have to be put into a box.

  1. Being from California, do you find the winters really rough?

A lot of the times this question turns into a dad joke, but still it is quite valid. Coming from Southern California, I’m not used to cold weather, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t adapt. Going into my third year I can officially say that I am used to Iowa winters. In fact I can say that I actually love them. While a solid 60 degrees every day was nice,  once you get the proper winter clothing – especially those hand warmers, you’ll adjust really quickly and soon fall in love with the winter wonderland that Iowa City becomes.

  1. Are there things to do for people who don’t like sports?

This question comes up a lot after we discuss the athletic facilities at Iowa. While sports can be seen as a large part of student life on campus, it isn’t the only thing students get involved in when they aren’t focusing on academics. If I wrote about everything you could do on and off campus, I would be writing pages so I will just focus on some of my favorite alternatives. While our athletics are amazing, the arts at Iowa are just as spectacular. Whether you are watching a fellow student perform for their end of year assignments or watching a professional performance like Mamma Mia! at the new Hancher Auditorium there is plenty to do. If you are wanting to experience life outside of the university I always recommend students head downtown to the PedMall. There are plenty of local shopping and food to try. Take it from someone who has eaten their way through Iowa City, you won’t run out of amazing options. Being in Iowa there is also so many outdoor activities to do. A lot of students will head down to MacBride Lake or the Coralville Reservoir to do some exploring outdoors. No matter what you enjoy doing in your free time, the University and surrounding areas will have something to offer.

  1. Is it better to live on the West side of the East side of campus?

While I may be a little biased when answering this question, as Burge Hall will always be home, I think I can answer this question pretty fairly. Although it can seem like the two sides of campus are vastly different and everyone always wants us tour guides to say one is better than the other that just isn’t the case. Sure they have some differences but nothing drastic. Firstly the East Side is only a few minutes closer to the center of campus so you really don’t have to worry about the “longer” walk. And while East Side is closer to downtown Iowa City, West Side is right next to all the action during football season, and the student wellness center – for those students who are always sick. As for dorm life, they are pretty much all the same. Both have a brand new dorm that you can reside in and both have amazing dining facilities. As a tour guide this is the point in the answer that I am obligated to tell you that there is one huge difference in the two marketplaces. East Side serves hard scoop ice cream while West Side serves soft serve. So if you really can’t make up your mind which side to live on, which ice cream do you prefer? And if you really can’t decide I’d say go with Burge because I had the most amazing time and we all know that it is secretly the best dorm out there – in my opinion.


If you have any other questions about life at the University of Iowa feel free to comment down below. I’ll be happy to answer them!


Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

A Thank You Letter

A year ago I wrote a “thank you” letter to my freshman year. I was on my way out of Iowa City heading home for summer break and I just had to put in words how amazing that year had been. Coming back for my second year at Iowa, I was worried it wouldn’t be able to top everything that happened while I called Burge my home. A year later I am sitting in my apartment getting ready to head home for yet another summer and I can honestly say that sophomore year was filled even more moments I will cherish for years to come. So here goes another love letter about another year I’m so thankful for.

Thank you for my studies. Although making the change was hard for me, and I had tons of people telling me I was crazy, becoming a communications major has allowed me to find new passions and actually enjoy going to classes – which I didn’t know could happen. If it wasn’t for the opportunities Iowa has given me I would have never made the switch and found a career path I’m actually excited about. Not only have I found a major that I love, but this year has helped me find a passion for event planning, and of course military science. There aren’t many places you can come up with a combination like that, but Iowa has allowed me too.

Thank you for ROTC. If you had told me before I came into college that I was going to get up every morning at 5:30 to workout and then choose to spend a weekend in the woods without real food or a shower I would have laughed in your face. Now I do it week in and week out, even crazier? Most mornings it brings a smile to my face. The people who I get to do all of it with are some of the most dedicated, hardworking and caring people I have ever met. The cadre I have been blessed to call my leaders have believed in me way more than I ever believed in myself. Hell I accomplished things in this program that I never, not even in my wildest dreams, thought I would have accomplished. It has taught me skills beyond just the army that I will be lucky to carry with me through the rest of my life. I could go on for hours about what this program has given me, but most of all I’ll say thank-you for the people I have because of this program. Sounds cheesy but they are my best friends and the ones I want to spend all of my time with, even if it is at Camp Dodge.

Thank you for letting me explore. When I first told people I was going to Iowa they asked why I would leave everything in California.  Funny thing is, coming to university here – which really could be considered the middle of nowhere – has allowed me to travel to upstate New York for Thanksgiving, small town Iowa for a weekend away, and 6 southern states for Spring Break. Never in my wildest dreams did I think coming to the middle of the country would allow me to see every other part of it.

Thank you for letting me share. Over the past year, I have been able to share my love for Iowa with so many other people. Becoming a tour guide has allowed me to walk around campus a few times a week, making awful jokes. But it has also allowed me to meet some of the funniest, most positive people on this campus. Being surrounded by people who love Iowa and are just as loud and crazy as me makes my job feel as far from a job as possible.

Finally, thank you for being Iowa. I don’t know how to put into words what this place has done for me in the past two years. I am now officially half way done with my college career, and continue to know that this has been the best decision I have ever made. Coming here allowed me to walk my own path, and figure out where I’m going. It has taught me to just be spontaneous and just enjoy where I am in the here and now. It has allowed me to get up every morning with a smile on my face and no other places has done that quite like Iowa has. So thanks for being the corn-obsessed, flat, Midwest nice, Hawkeye loving state that you are.


Here’s to two more years that I’m sure will be even more memorable than the last.

Until Next Year

Go Hawks!

Big Changes

If you knew me growing up, you know just how much the unknown scared me. I was the person that had a plan for anything and everything and I had a back-up plan just in case any issues would arise. My college plan was no different.

I got accepted to the University of Iowa and committed. I got accepted to the direct admit nursing program and committed. I moved into a Burge with a roommate that I picked out on the “dating site” and everything was going to be perfect. I was going to wear my scrubs around campus while running to clinical at the hospital. I was going to graduate with a nursing degree and travel the world saving people one day at a time. Flash forward to my sophomore year. I am a Communication Studies major with the plan of getting a certificate in Event Planning and a minor in Military Science. In the end that original plan that was color coordinated and written out on paper didn’t quite happen.

College is the first time in my life that I was completely able to be free. It was the first time I didn’t have a set plan for anything. In fact, it was the first time I got to explore a world that wasn’t science-related. Before college, everything I did was to work towards becoming a nurse. Then I moved to Iowa and all of a sudden I was introduced to a new world. I got to write in Rhetoric and create weird pieces of art in printmaking. I began to blog for admissions and found myself writing just for the hell of it. I was doing all of these things that I loved, and what scared me was that none of them happened to be nursing.

After completing my freshman year I went home and spent pretty much my entire summer deliberating on what the next step was. I talked to more people than I could count on my fingers and had more worries than I thought was possible. And then one day I just did it. I clicked that button and relinquished my position in the nursing program. And there I was with an entire new degree, parents who still weren’t 100% sure about what I was doing, and a whole bunch of people trying to tell me as nicely as possible that I was crazy. I changed almost all of my classes with no idea how to read a degree audit and spent the last few weeks of summer thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong.

Then I came to school, I started writing again, and began to attend classes. Instead of learning about the shape of molecules, I was blogging for my creativity class. Instead of dissecting a pig, I was getting to analyze 20th century poems. And then I realized that the scariest decision I had ever made was also the best one. That fear that once filled the pit in my stomach was gone. I was going to class with a huge grin on my face and I was coming home excited to complete homework assignments. I was actually just enjoying myself.  People still continued to tell me I was crazy and when I told them what I was doing they gave me some pretty judgmental looks, but it didn’t matter because I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

You see, my entire life I had been asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I think after a while I had formulated an idea in my mind because it was more accepted than saying “I don’t know”. So when I actually had to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life, I jumped, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I did what people expected me to do. I did what was “safe.”  And once I was in the downward spiral, it was a lot harder to get out. When you have everyone you know telling you that you would be an amazing nurse, and that they couldn’t see you doing anything else, turning around and changing your mind seems a whole lot scarier. I continued to feel that if I made a change to make me happy I would let people down. But then I realized something, college isn’t about being safe. It isn’t about making other people happy or proud of you. It isn’t bragging because you have the hardest undergraduate major. Screw all of it. College is four years of your life that you get to be completely selfish. It’s four years where you get to discover who you are and have no one to do it for but yourself. So now I sit here writing this four weeks into classes and I have absolutely no regrets. I am happy. In fact, I am so much happier than I was last year – and I didn’t even know that was possible.

So I sit here as a sophomore, who really has no plan for life telling you this: don’t be afraid to do something different. Don’t worry about what other people expect you to do. This is not about making others happy, or making more money than all your friends when you graduate. Be selfish, be spontaneous. Find out what makes you happy and then for heaven’s sake just go do it.


Until Next Time, Go Hawks!

Letter to my Freshman Year

Dear Freshman Year,

When I first came to Iowa I’m not going to lie you scared me. Being without my family so far away from home was something so new to me. 10 months later I want to say thank you.

Thank you for bringing me my best friends. Small dorm rooms and late nights have brought me friends that I will have for a lifetime. They are the people I want to spend every waking minute with. We never run out of things to talk about and continuously found ourselves on the floor of our halls laughing at the stupidest things. They are the people that know everything about me. They have become my Iowa family and I am forever grateful that we were brought together by Burge.


Thank you for teaching me to push myself. When I graduated high school I thought I had learned everything there was to know about success. Then I came to college and it hit hard. Countless all-nighters and tears on the phone with my mom later I have learned just how strong I really am. I have learned that college is hard, but putting in the time and effort will pay off.


Thank you for football. When high school ended so did my cheer career and anyone who knows me knows just how hard that was. But, because of Iowa my football withdrawals were short lived. I cannot describe the smile that I got on my face every time I was able to walk into Kinnick and be in my “happy place”. I cannot describe all the memories that I got to make in the 12-0 season that was my freshman year.


Thank you for sisterhood. Being a part of Alpha Chi Omega has brought me more than I could ever imagine. Lifelong friends who I know I will have by my side no matter what, a passion for equality and domestic violence awareness, a new love for the color purple, a beautiful castle as a home and too memories to mention. Alpha Chi brings a smile to my face every day and I am forever grateful for the countless jokes in our group chat to the crazy mental breakdowns when we have been trapped in the house for what seems like days for recruitment practice. These 150 girls have truly become my sisters and I am so excited for countless more hours and memories together.


Thank you for allowing me to grow as a person. When I came to college I was alone and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After spending a year in Iowa City I have become a person that I am becoming proud of. I have become an adult who has learned so much about what I want from life and where I am going. You have allowed me to become independent, you have taught me that it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them, and you have taught me that everything you want is on the other side of fear. I have gained so much knowledge during my year as a freshman and I can’t wait to learn even more over my next three years at Iowa.

Iowa 2

Finally, thank you for helping me to create so many memories that I will cherish forever. The people I have met, and the things I have done have been amazing and I cannot describe just how in love with Iowa I am. A year ago I accepted this school, deciding to go out of my comfort zone and create new experiences and I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have made. I can’t wait for my next three years here where I know countless memories will be made.

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Until Next Year

Go Hawks!