With the logistics out of the way, let me really tell you why I’ve fallen in love with Iowa.
My ethnocentric parents first thought that Iowa was like a death sentence. A place where the bad students are sent as punishment.
I had to convince them that, in reality, the University of Iowa is ranked as a top PhD program in Interpersonal Communication. There are a LOT of doctoral programs that specialize in this research niche. But there are only a small handful of programs which hold this much weight. In short, the best programs have the most prolific researchers who produce the most successful graduates. But the catch is to find a program that also boasts a warm (and safe) faculty-student climate.
Upon my admission to Iowa, the Graduate Director sent a very warm welcome email. This was soon followed by welcome/congratulations emails from current students in the same research track. The department also welcomed and encouraged me to visit and meet with professor/students and sit in on classes; for which they would provide a stipend to offset the costs. This was early February – so while I had already received one offer of admission from another program, I was still waiting to hear from a few others. Nonetheless, within 3 days of receiving those emails, my decision to join Iowa was made. Just like that.
Sim and I immediately began watching Canned Air sing “Going up to the country” and John Denver sing “Thank God I’m a country boy” on YouTube. We were ecstatic.
I learned only after making this decision that Iowa is a Big Ten school. How could I not know this before? I’ve done so much research on this school in the past 9 months that I could become a campus tour guide without missing a beat. Their football stadium is the same size as the Seattle Seahawks’ Qwest Stadium in Seattle! It holds 70,000 people.
And upon launching the healthcare bill, where did President Obama first stop? Yes, the University of Iowa.
But amidst the excitement, I have nothing but humility. You learn a lot in grad school. But you also learn how little you know. And how much your writing sucks. In a sense, it should be an exhausting, painful, and humbling experience – no matter who’s good hands you’re in. So come August I promise to be forthright with such experiences.