I don’t regret my choice in picking Iowa over a school in Milwaukee. To summarize, the reasons I chose Iowa can come down to:
- It was far enough away from home to miss home.
- A wide variety of majors. (I knew I wasn’t a thousand percent sure about my major and wow, was I right)
- It was big with a small feel. Iowa has ~30,000 people on campus. I definitely did not want something smaller than my high school—which held about 1,500 people per class.
- A different mindset
Being away from home can feel liberating and also awful at the same time. Being from the Chicagoland area, Iowa is far enough away but close enough to spend less than half a day driving home. It gave me the opportunity to miss home and also make the trip back in case homesickness hit me. Also, before you know it, it’ll be weird calling home ‘home’ or you’ll catch yourself saying “I’m going home” when you actually mean your dorm.
While the other school would have been closer to home, it was not what I wanted. Iowa carries a wide variety of majors and as a person who is very aware how likely I was to change my first major, I needed the options.
When you first come to Iowa, it will seem really big at first. There’s like a thousand students packed into Burge; the dining hall line can literally go all the way out the side entrance during lunch rush; and there’s a million faces you’ve never seen before. But that feeling goes away pretty quickly (well all of it goes away except that long lunch line. There’s no beating it unless you find some way to book it after class and be the first one there) and you start to recognize people in your clubs, classes, and daily walks to class. Even the unfamiliar faces start to feel familiar. I also feel that once I got more involved and started to know a chunk of campus, I felt like I almost knew at least half or more of campus (because someone always knows another someone, and down the line).
At Iowa, there are people coming from different backgrounds—mostly rooted in socio-cultural differences. There are people like myself, who come from big suburban high schools and towns that were a short trip from a big city like Chicago, and there are people who come from smaller towns that have less people than my high school class did. I like that Iowa brings together these different people and more often than not, you have something to learn from them and their differing perspective.
If I could do it all again, I think I would still pick Iowa.