Time for me to write a love letter. This letter goes out to the University of Iowa, the place I’ve been proud to call my home for the last four years and will continue to call home for the rest of my life.
As far as I can tell, whenever I brought up the University of Iowa (or the state of Iowa, for that matter) to people in my hometown before I left for college, there were only two responses. The first went something like “Iowa?! Bunch a corn fields and farmers out there, must be one heck of an awful place.” The second response mirrored “Iowa is fantastic! The people are unbelievably kind and it is such a tight knit community that you will feel right at home as soon as you arrive.”
I will assume that most others coming to this university from other states encountered similar exchanges. What I have come to realize is that based on which response was given, I could also tell something about the person I was talking to. And that was whether that person had ever been to the University of Iowa or done more than drive through the state itself. It became painfully apparent that the people who had negative things to say about Iowa were basing their statements on stereotypes rather than personal experience. On the other hand, those with positive remarks about this school had visited first hand and witnessed the true nature of this community.
Now, I don’t know about anybody else, but my Mother always taught me to dismiss stereotypes and let the true character of people and things reveal themselves through interaction instead of objective observation. I also don’t know if anybody else grew up listening to what their Mother’s taught them, but I did. As a result, I gladly accepted the chance to visit the University of Iowa, and I did so with an open mind that was free of prejudice. What I found was the most loyal, fair, and kind community of people I have ever encountered.
In my time at Iowa I have truly experienced a change in my position regarding my entire outlook on the human race (bit of a stretch, maybe, but still). Nothing against my hometown in Michigan, but it is simply different here. This state has taught me the most important quality in life is to be selfless and to care for each and every person you encounter. The willingness with which the people of this community surrender their free time in order to help one another is astounding. Before my time at this school, I can honestly admit it took a lot more effort for me to put the needs of others before my own. Now I truly understand the importance of friendship and that nothing in my life is bigger than what may be going on with somebody else. We are all in this life together, and we need to help each other.
There truly is an “Iowa way,” one that promotes dedication, leadership, and team work over individual achievements. The professors I have interacted with at this University have all showed a sincere interest in my personal ambitions, and have prompted me to believe some of my goals in life are in fact attainable. And the people of this community show great pride in this school, an amount of appreciation that is warmly received by its students.
After visiting this campus for the first time, I knew there was something special about this place. It made for an easy decision, and I would not trade my four years here for anything in the world. I have made an abundance of friendships that will last a lifetime and I could not be happier to share all of my experiences with them.
So if you’re somebody who thinks Iowa is nothing but boring corn fields, I have something to tell you: when all you do is repeat tired jokes based on ignorant stereotypes….. you’re boring.
P.S. - Iowa has the best clouds. I ♥ you, Iowa