Hello, Future Hawkeyes (and current Hawkeyes)! Interested in how many opportunities the University of Iowa has but are not sure if such a big school is right for you? Here are some of my highlight stories from my time at the University of Iowa that shows not only how big of a school this is, but also how small!
1.) A car ride with (not so many) strangers
A preface to this article is I am an out-of-state student and I only knew of one student coming to the University from my hometown prior to my time here. I visited them here a few times but did not remember their friends to who I was introduced while I was here. But that did not stop this first story and crazy encounter from happening!
Imagine this, you are new to the University of Iowa, are trying out new student organizations, and join a student organization in which you knew absolutely no one before joining… then you agree to spend two hours in a car with strangers on your way to a service trip with them. Crazy right? Welcome to college, there are a lot of bonding experiences like this one that you can easily find with student organizations, but that is a story for another time. Back to this car ride with strangers, of course, they knew each other from being in the organization in previous semesters, but I’m a newbie at this point, so I had to get to know them and they had to get to know me.
About ten minutes into the car ride, I was fielding the questions that you will be asked the most as a college student: What’s your major? Where are you from? Why did you choose to come here? At one point or another, something clicked in the brain of the girl in the passenger seat that I was talking to. She whipped around to face me as she said “I know you!”
Of course, everyone else in the car, including myself thought she was joking and meant that she now knows me, but that is most definitely not what she meant. She said that I was introduced to her years ago when I came to visit my friend that went here. Everything she said was right on the dot, but I just couldn’t remember her face if my life depended on it.
The moral of this story is, the school is big enough to forget a face you run into (like I did), but also small enough to remember it years later and build a connection!
2.) A coworker from home
No one I knew from my hometown came to the University of Iowa or has even really looked at the school. When I went home for the summer, one of my coworkers changed this. He said he was leaning towards going to St. Louis University, but the University of Iowa was also on his radar. I told him he should visit campus and explore the University of Iowa more before making up his mind.
One day as I was running between classes I got a text from this coworker saying that he was on campus for a tour and he may or may not run into me. I was ecstatic he was here touring the campus, but unfortunately, it was on my most busy class day so I didn’t think I would see him.
I had about a twenty-minute lunch break and decided to go to Burge dining hall. As I was looking around for a seat, I locked eyes with my coworker! What a small world. I wasn’t expecting to really see him at all but ended up running into him and getting to tell him some of the hit spots of campus that he should visit outside of his tour.
3.) Everyday run-ins
I can not emphasize how often you will run into your classmates and friends throughout the day as you just walk around. Between classes, studying, going to get food, you name it, chances are you will run into someone you know.
Whether you recognize them or not is what gives this place a big school, small-town feel. Sometimes you know exactly who someone is, and sometimes it’s just at the tip of your tongue.
I am the type of person who gives myself plenty of extra time to get to activities because of these unexpected run-ins. A lot of the time I spend catching up with people is from stopping to talk to them unexpectedly on the street.
Regardless, it is easy to not get lost in a crowd here if you don’t want to. Being outgoing and making friends with a variety of different interests and schedules can ensure you can always say hi to someone nearby!