The University of Northern Iowa
The University of Northern Iowa - Comments and Student Experiences|
I had visited about a dozen universities and LACs all over the country before coming to visit UNI. This campus gives you the feel of an east coast LAC (okay, UNI lacks the Ivy covered walls, but the campus doesn't have that concrete jungle feel that you get at a lot of state schools either). The vibe is more close knit and low key than at a giant state school, which helps the LAC feel.
What really sold me were the amazing faculty and administration. This was the first school I visited where the admissions advisor had clearly done his homework and pointed me in the direction of scholarships and honors programming - I felt like he knew something about me. Administration has been great and I have had nothing but good experiences. My professors all know who I am - I am definitely not just a number here.
Greek life is not really a big thing here, but it is here if you want to get involved. Fraternities are the main party organizers, but for the most part these events are held away from campus at 18 and under bars. There are lots of house parties if you know people. Drinking is as big here as anywhere else, but being in a metropolis of 150,000, a car makes many other options available.
Classes are challenging but there is plenty of help available in the form of departmental tutors and open office hours. There are departmental interest clubs for every major with opportunities to get involved with students with similar career interesets. Basically, if you don't suceed here, it's your own fault.
Girls and guys are pretty good looking here. Football and Basketball games are well attended, and the Cedar Falls/Waterloo regional performing arts center is located on campus. The student board could do a better job bringing bands onto campus (or to the area), but it is not that long a drive to Ames or Iowa City if music is your thing.
UNI has well regarded Business/Accounting and Education programs. Friends in the Education department say that their student teaching matches have been good. The Big Four recruit Accounting majors on campus (they even partner with the Accounting Club on events, meet and greets, service projects, etc. during the year).
I was accepted to UW Madison, SUNY Binghamton, Bates, Kalamazoo, Carleton, U Rochester, Case, and others, but chose UNI because it privided the best of both worlds - large enough to provide good career building opportunities and focused professional development while offering a close knit and nurturing environment with opportunities to explore new ideas.
My first year at UNI was spent hustling in and around Russell Hall, making sure that Bob Washut was happy with the sounds of my sonic emanations. So, I was spoiled with immediate acceptance into a sort of music clique that included the members of Wind Symphony, Marching Band, and all 4 jazz bands. I was too narrow minded and naive to dig what was happening, but I still realized I was friggin blessed by the most high God.
The partying was just the right blend of drinking and smoking, including alot of hang time with real jazz celebrities from NYC and other major locales. I had chosen UNI because of the jazz scene, and I wasn't in any way disappointed. My freshman year found me nodding off on a couch while getting advice from jazz guys who were just hanging around because of Bob Washut. It's true, I was too wasted, and burnt all of my bridges over time, but, wow, what memories! And what an education. I would be sitting at a party and these cats would just bust me open about my voicings or my approach on a solo, in such a kindhearted and mellow way. It was too much! Then I would look over and there would be some professors from a different department just hanging out and partying!
Okay, then on to rehearsals, performances, featured spots at college jazz festivals, clinics with more jazz celebrities....I was a busy boy. The dorms were great too! Small town Iowa kids rock the earth with their deep heritage and German/Scandinavian drinking habits.
.....and the academics of UNI's English department and professors, who also wanted to hang and were totally accessible! Hey, yo, yo, keep this place a secret. I know it's changing, I've heard, Bob's also gone, but UNI is a hot spot. It just takes 10 years or so after it's all over to realize it. Once you've hung around enough big schools and met enough degree'd people with no first hand impetus ability, you will begin to appreciate the little village that sometimes makes you suffer for your degree.
Ok, the English department....wow.....I didn't get it at first, I didn't see that UNI was on fire baby! I was so naive, and so fascinated with being involved with a "real" department, I wanted to transfer to the University of Iowa, or the University of Colorado at Boulder. Only now, ten years after, am I so glad that I never left UNI. It was hellish living in Cedar Falls. There were times that I felt so lonely, and I really messed up and got crazy with the LSD, mushrooms, and daily massive amounts of weed. But I stuck it out and graduated in 4 years.
Oh, the alcohol too.....yeah. Oops. Hey, I'm clean now.
I've been reading reviews of schools for graduate school, and I just had to give a shout out to UNI. You are underappreciated, and laughed at by people from the east coast. They got nothing on you G! Trust me family!
You got it baby! UNI is the bomb. A friggin diamond in the rough. They can't take that away!
UNI also has alot of artists and people hanging out. It's easy to diss these local celebrities, but don't be like I was. Take advantage and tread lightly wherever you go. You are at a pinnacle at UNI. Don't fall off like I did! And don't transfer to a piece of garbage school because you want "the real thing". UNI is hot baby! On fire baby! Live it up and study up. Go see you professors all the time and ask alot of questions. Get involved with the English department and music departments through combos or poetry readings, anyway you can. If you go home on the weekend that's cool. There's alot of people in this world, alot of people yo, with no place to go home to on the weekend, so love that. Peace and blessings from our most High God, praise the Lord. God bless you.....you gotta work for that paper yo.
Oh, yeah and about my job history....it's my fault totally. I was drinking and drugging too much for a few years, and trying to live on the east coast too hard. It could've been easy, but it wasn't. Now things are leveled out.
I will say one thing though: Get out of Iowa once you finish your degree. Your talents and character will be greatly underappreciated inside of Iowa. It's a case of 'not knowing what we got'. UNI is like the last of a dying breed, same with the Cedar Falls area; an endangered species of community. What you get at UNI is worthless in Iowa in my opinion. You need to get out of the midwest for it to shine. And isn't that the point of getting an education in the first place? To move on to new frontiers? To make your ancestors start rolling in Heaven? Go help the areas that need you like inner cities and stuff. Iowa needs help with the poor too. The meth thing is out of control. But I personally can't take Iowa. So help out in the midwest too with your skills and talents. UNI really nurtures that community thing. You just don't realize it for such a long time. Hey, if you can tolerate living in Iowa after graduation, without drinking, at all, more power to you. Iowa needs you too. Teachers expand your minds at college too. Don't just get your degree and get out. Hang out with some artsy people and enjoy the scene. Eat some acid once or twice. Avoid the booze, and that goes for everyone, avoid that effin alcohol.
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