Why I Call Bloomington "Home"

*I apologize in advance for the pursuant cliché ooey-gooeyness.

Don't get me wrong here, I love LA. I will forever and always be a Dodger die-hard/kale enthusiast/sand & saltwater beach freak at heart. And due to all of that, I was very hesitant about choosing IU, solely because I'd have to spend 9 months out of the year in Indiana...the Midwest...the "armpit of America." I just made that up. But I don't think I went through one introduction without being asked "why would you ever want to leave California?"and my point is that the geographic location of IU was a very real deterrent even considering all of what the rest of IU had to offer.

Today, I know that from now on, I have two homes - two places that will be part of who I am for the rest of my life. And here's why.

1. I have a family at school. One of the best parts of IU is that there's so many different kinds of people. There's an endless amount of personalities, cultures, beliefs, etc. For me, that meant I could choose exactly who I wanted to be friends with and I didn't have to deal with someone I wasn't a fan of because there were 8,000 others. I came from a pretty small high school, where everyone had known each other since kindergarten. You knew everyone and their business whether you wanted to or not. I chose my friends at IU based on what I wanted from my college experience, and that's why I love the people I have at school. My friend group is really a family. We've got a group chat that still makes my phone buzz like crazy every day even when we're on summer break, we go to meals with each other, get each other birthday presents and they're the first people I go to when I need support. My college experience/life in general would be a lot different if it weren't for my friends from freshman year. Shout out to all of y'all, I love you!

2. I don't just love IU, I love B-town. Yes IU is wonderful, really truly an amazing school. But there's more to IU than just campus. Bloomington and IU have this awesome thing going where one wouldn't be the same without the other. For a town in Indiana that I had never heard of in my life, Btown is incredibly cultural and diverse. There's always, ALWAYS something to do whether it's the Saturday Farmers' Market or SoMo playing at Dunkirk. Student organizations are always giving back to the B-town community: working with My Sister's Closet, the Boys & Girls Club and so many others. I know that some Kelley classes work directly with Bloomington businesses, helping them achieve their business goals. Conversely, Bloomington offers all of itself to Hoosier students. Everything is geared towards us, accommodating our wants and needs; it's really something special. There's a reason that Bloomington has been named one of the best college towns in America for years and years. Tour guides on campus will tell you, there's a reason that Sample Gates doesn't have physical gates that close...the relationship between Bloomington and IU is forever open (I'm so poetic #wow).

3. I'm finding myself in college. Wherever you lived up to this point, it has shaped who you are and what you believe in, and the same goes for whoever you lived with. That's what home is, and that's why I think everyone should also consider college as their home. As an out-of-stater, not only was I totally out of place when I first got to Bloomington, but I didn't know a soul. Like I said with my friends, I chose exactly who I wanted to spend time with in college. I didn't get it completely right at first, and I dropped a few people here and there over the course of my two semesters so far, but the ones that I've kept around, are making me a better person. Yes, we have a lot in common, but we've also got different upbringings, interests and beliefs. Our differences are eye-opening and have already changed a lot about who I am. College is the time to figure out who YOU are and what YOU want out of life. It's most people's first chance at real independence, no one's keeping tabs on you and telling you what to think or believe in. Be open to new experiences, join a club you would have never thought about being a part of, try something that might scare you a little. IU has so much stuff to offer, you'll find your place eventually! 

If you're reading this as an incoming Hoosier, I hope you find the same happiness in Bloomington as I have. And if you're reading this as someone considering IU, I strongly encourage you to come visit Bloomington and experience first hand what I'm talking about. You won't regret it. Thank God my dad made me come visit otherwise I don't think I'd be writing this post right now. 

Thanks for reading this overflow of love for my second home. I hope you make it yours too.

- Clara

Learn more about Btown here!

About The Author
Clara ChenFinance, Business Analytics, and International Business Triple Major, IU 2018

Hey you guys! My name is Clara, originally from suburbs of Los Angeles but Bloomington is my home as well! In addition to my daytime job of Kelley kid, I moonlight as a Hutton Honors student, IU tour guide, and all-around nice human being! Hobbies include: traveling less than I want, eating more than I should, and wearing IU gear 24/7. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at cgchen@indiana.edu