There are so many choices.
That’s the thought that kept running through my head as I skimmed through various college pamphlets and websites toward the end of my junior year of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and seeing so many other people my age already certain of where they wanted to go – who they wanted to be – terrified me a little bit.
Then, one day on the way to school I stopped at a local coffee shop to grab something to drink before first period, and for some reason I couldn’t decide what I wanted to drink. I stared at the menu, which had everything – coffee, lattes, mochas, etc. – and yet, no matter how long I thought about my options, I couldn’t decide what drink I wanted. As I stood there, it suddenly occurred to me that if I was incapable of making a decision as insignificant, as truly meaningless, as to what kind of beverage to order, how could I possibly expect myself to make the right decision when it came to what college to attend?
And yet, two years later, here I am at IU.
Both of my brothers attended IU, and I knew that a lot of amazing opportunities awaited me, or really anyone, who decided to attend IU. I had been told about the university’s numerous clubs and organizations – about how they were a way to make friendships that lasted for the rest of one’s life, about how they could get one an internship and about how they could make the huge university that is IU feel small and close-knit. I had heard about the Jacobs school of music and the Kelley school of business, which consistently rank as one of the top music and business schools in the country, respectively.
Still, none of those accolades were enough to convince me.
I think it was the first time I walked down East 7th street that really did it. Prior to that walk, I had never really explored the area, never really taken it in, although I had visited once or twice. I remember looking at the IU auditorium and the corners of my lips turning up into a smile as I thought back to how I had seen Paul Simon perform there during one of the few times I had actually visited Bloomington. I glanced back at the cobbled sidewalk to the left of the building and saw what I simply viewed then as a statue of a man playing piano – my smile grew bigger upon seeing the flowers someone had placed in the statue’s hands and on top of his hat. I can’t quite describe it, but at that moment I felt something that I hadn’t felt when I had looked at other universities – I felt like this was a place where I could make memories.
So, I kept walking. I walked past the art museum, which caught my attention due to its odd, but pleasant architecture (I later learned that it lacks 90 degree angles, save for the connection between the floor and the wall), and then I passed the Indiana Memorial Union, which I thought – and still think – looked like a castle. The trees that surrounded me, lining each street perfectly, were covered with lush, green leaves, and I was overwhelmed by how truly beautiful the campus was. Eventually, all of my walking led me to Kirkwood, an area near campus filled with restaurants, clothing stores, coffee shops, used book stores, and more than a few record stores.
It was fantastic – that’s the only word to describe it. As I observed the various people walking around, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind being friends with some of these people – that they were far more like me than anyone I had ever met in high school. I remember thinking that IU was so diverse – I had never seen so many different types of people all enjoying themselves in one place – and that unlike many other colleges, IU was not lying when it said that it had something for everyone. It was right there, at that very moment, somewhere in the middle of Kirkwood, that I decided to attend IU.
Now, I’m almost halfway through my first semester at IU, and I know I made the right decision. The campus that once was so foreign to me has become a home of sorts – except I must say that I have far more opportunities here than I ever did at home. I have amazing professors, and although I am still not sure exactly what I want to do with my life, I have a sense of direction now. I am in the Kelley school of business, a school that never ceases to amaze me in some way each and every week, and I am working toward minors in Spanish and apparel merchandising – two subjects I never would have dreamed of thinking I could minor in back in high school.
I have grown in a way that I know I could not have at any other university. The individual schools, the professors, the clubs – yes, all of these things contribute to IU being the perfect university.
However, above all else, what I love about IU is that the instinct I had about it all those months ago was right – it’s the type of place where you can make memories.