The Truth About Campus Tours

When I visited the University of Iowa in April of 2015 as a junior in high school, I was a little overwhelmed. There was a lot of information being thrown at me, and I was still trying to decide between two schools. However, at the end of the day, I knew the University of Iowa was a place I could call home.

Now that I’m almost done with my first semester here at Iowa, I thought it would be a good time to look back on my own campus tour and talk about what a campus tour can tell you about a school, and what it doesn’t.

A Campus Tour Can Tell You About:

1. The beauty of campus

When I visited campus, I had the option of taking a walking tour or a bus tour; I chose the latter, of course. This was a couple years ago, but I think the bus tour was about 15 to 20 minutes long. The bus drove through the main part of campus all the way to Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena. I remember thinking the campus was huge, but that it looked incredible at the same time. I saw students walking to and from classes, talking and laughing with one another, and enjoying themselves. It looked and felt like a place I could call home.

2. The opportunities you’ll have

There was an Exploring Majors Fair that included “representatives from more than 75 academic programs and student service departments.” It was at this fair that I learned about the Sport and Recreation Management major, which is currently one of my two majors. I talked to the representative about the different classes within the major, the field experience that must be completed, and the career paths others have taken. Afterwards I visited the Adler Journalism Building, spoke to a few professors, and toured The Daily Iowan. It was there that I decided my second major: Journalism and Mass Communication.

I also learned about a handful of student organizations and ways to get involved.

3. What residence and dining halls look like

I had the opportunity to explore Currier Hall and see what one of the dorm rooms looked like, and then we ate at Burge Dining Hall.

I remember thinking the residence hall looked old and the dorm room felt like a prison cell, but that’s exactly what I expected. I knew the room would be small and cramped. However, the two girls who lived in that dorm room did a great job of decorating it so it felt homey.

There were a lot of foods to choose from at Burge Dining Hall, and it made me excited for college. (Now, though, I’m starting to get tired of dining hall food.)

4. What college life is like (through the eyes of others, that is)

Towards the beginning of my visit, there was a Q&A session with a group of current students. They answered our questions and talked about their experiences at the University of Iowa. For the most part, I felt like they were being truthful. My favorite part was when one of the current students said, “The freshman 15 is a lie. It’s actually the freshman 45.”

A Campus Tour Can’t Tell You About:

1. Making the most of your time

During my visit, I learned about countless opportunities to shape myself into the person I want to be. But it’s up to me to make the most of my time and take advantage of those opportunities. So far, I’ve become a student videographer for the football team, I’ve joined KRUI and the Sport and Recreation Management Club, I’ve joined a Hawkeye Service Team, and I applied for the Fans First Practicum (field experience for my Sport and Recreation Management major).

And there’s still so much I want to do.

2. What dorm life is really like

Sometimes it’s good, but sometimes it’s not. It’s a good way to meet people and make friends because there are 30+ other people living just down the hall. It’s important to have a good group of friends in college because you’ll be facing a lot of ups and downs, and you’ll need a support system.

Unfortunately, dorm life has its downsides. People tend to get a little rowdy at three in the morning, which makes it difficult to sleep. The communal bathrooms are disgusting at times, and you might find a cockroach or two. And sometimes you’ll find “interesting” things in the hallways that you wished you’d never have to see.

You just have to keep reminding yourself that it’s only temporary.

3. Making friends

Making friends in college is way different from making friends in high school. In high school, it was easy to make friends, especially since I went to a small school.

But I’m not an outgoing person and I don’t have a lot in common with other people, which makes making friends in college a little complicated at times. Now I have to really push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to make friends.

4. The different types of seasons

If you’re from Iowa or a midwest state, this doesn’t really apply to you because you already know what the weather is like. However, if you’re from a warm location like California or Florida, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Iowa’s weather is bipolar. One day it’s 60 degrees and sunny and the next it’s 30 degrees and snowing. When you visit on one day of the year, you only get a feel of what it’s like being on campus during that specific season.

I visited in April and it was 40 degrees and incredibly windy. Thankfully, I brought a sweatshirt. But it can also get really hot and really cold. It might even rain.

Just make sure you’re prepared.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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