Even after moving in on Sunday, the sensation of change hadn’t quite struck me yet. Despite being in a new place, meeting new people, doing new things, the experience wasn’t unlike something I had already done before, it was just like any other overnight event, a vacation, really.
It wasn’t until Friday, the 17th of August, that I finally experienced my first day as a Hawkeye at the University of Iowa.
It started out the same as the other days had, I silenced my alarm clock (that dreaded ringing that I know has caused serious trauma for many students like myself) on my phone for the 6th time, and I climbed out of my lofted bed. It was around 9:00, and my plans for the day were to meet up with my girlfriend and go shopping for groceries with my sister. I showered, got dressed, and made my way over to Catlett hall to meet them. Along the way, I took note of the number of students on campus that had seemingly quadrupled overnight (looking back now, I guess it techinically did since it was move-in week), and for some odd reason, I felt more at ease knowing that I wouldn’t be as alone as I thought being a freshman on campus.
To be honest, I’m the type of person who is usually more introverted and tends to find security in a comfortable setting among familiar faces, but I do believe that in any period of adjustment, individuals like myself search for commonality to replace the familiarity that is now long gone seeing as how we moved into a new place.
Anyways, I made my way to my OnIowa small group that was schedule for 2:30, and I walked into a classroom full of complete strangers with the exception of my roommate. In total, there was around 20-30 people in the classroom, so our leaders had us to icebreakers. As we quickly learned, the classroom wasn’t full of strangers at all, they were all freshmen who were living in the same building, and on the same floor as myself! The law of commonality held true, and we all got along and bonded right away.
Long story short, I was able to make some great connections over the course of the next few hours; my classmates and I sat through a few lectures, and then we all walked back to our dorm to have dinner together. The greatest experience followed later that night.
The highlight of the night- no, the highlight of the week- was Kickoff at Kinnick. Every single freshman attending the University of Iowa this fall came together at the stadium to celebrate the beginning of our new journey as classmates. The experience was very surreal, and what I expected to be just another novelty to tell friends and family I did in my first week became much more. Being together with ALL of my classmates in one place with so much history, tradition, and happiness was a surreal experience that I will cherish throughout the rest of my life.
That memory is made even more precious knowing it was made alongside thousands of different people, yet in that moment, we were all Hawkeyes.