Laursen: 550 words of gratitude for Iowa

Opinions editor Lucee Laursen reflects on her time at the UI ahead of graduation.


The Old Capitol is seen on July 16, 2015.

Lucee Laursen, Opinions Editor

The impractical number of one-way streets and Cactus Cantinas are just two of the many qualities that I will remember when I think about my time in Iowa City. As hundreds of students prepare to graduate this weekend, I am confident that each of us will uniquely remember our stint at the University of Iowa.

A person’s years at college are extremely valuable. Students should receive 120 semester hours worth of trial-and-error-based simulations that will improve their likelihood of success in the dubbed “real world.”

The UI excels at providing this for its students. Throughout my three and a half years here, I have received numerous opportunities. Yes, this was in part because of my own hard work, but I absolutely would not have gotten to complete undergraduate research, work at the College of Law, or intern in Washington without the assistance of my professors, mentors, and advisers. A campus full of diligent people is what I have found to be most impactful.

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The UI is a microcosm for what an ideal society should look like. People who work hard are rewarded with opportunities to grow, fail, and try again. The UI campus is riddled with these, from student organizations to the very paper I find myself writing in currently; the UI goes above and beyond expectations to ensure that every student who wants to succeed, does.

None of this is to say that everything at the UI is perfect. To the state Board of Regents’ and President Bruce Harreld’s dismay, it seems that our campus has a constant stream of problems and issues that demand immediate attention. And though I know this is not uncommon on college campuses, the UI allows its students to participate in solving issues that face them.

As many UI students know, Fraternity and Sorority Life is going through a time of redefining what our community will look like on this campus. Every step of the way, the members have been notified about what is going on and which students from our community are involved in the various committees working to improve Fraternity/Sorority Life at the university. This is not an abnormal practice here; rather, it is an expectation. I have watched my peers become leaders in every facet of life on campus, and I have never been more appreciative.

The UI has allowed me to pivot from one career ambition to another with ease. I have enhanced my understanding of who I am and where I fit into this world, and it is all thanks to the thousands of people I have met during my time here.

When asked why I applied to the UI, I seldom tell people the true story: My mom wanted my car insurance to go down. All I had to do was to get an acceptance letter from a university. I saw that the UI had a 48-hour admissions decision, so I applied; two days later I was a Hawkeye!

Boy, am I glad that my deal-seeking mother forced me to apply to the UI. Three and a half years, hundreds of friends made, 14 organizations joined, and one degree later, I am proud to call Iowa City my college home.