STORY BY JESSICA LYNK
Iowa. The Hawkeye state, the land of the corn, the state filled with farmers or whatever else it is called. Most students can relate to relatives, friends or even themselves having strong opinions about what Iowa is actually like.
When students pick where to go to college, the Iowa stereotype comes into play.
“What I heard about Iowa, and sort of the Midwest in general, was that everyone was super nice and that it was a little bit different from where I’d grown up,” Rebecca Christopoulos, a first-year politics major, said.
Students from the surrounding Midwest states can appreciate what Iowa has to offer.
“Being from Wisconsin, I never really saw myself as someone who would fit in if I went to school in states like California or Florida. I also really like the type of people that reside in the Midwest, which made looking at schools much easier,” Tim Stoiber, a first year marketing major, said.
Christopoulos grew up in San Francisco, but experienced Iowa before coming to Drake.
“I wasn’t sure if I should expect a super farmland type deal because my mom is from the Quad cities, so that is basically what it is like there,” Christopoulos said. “I have been really surprised that it was not what I expected.”
Christopoulos’ hometown friends poke fun at her for attending school in Iowa.
“A lot of the stereotypes I hear are like ‘How’s the corn?’ ‘Do you basically just live in the middle of nowhere?’” Christopoulos said.
Stoiber received the same feedback.
“Based on their reactions, it’s like they thought I was going to school on a farm,” Stoiber said. None of my friends, or admittedly myself, knew anything about Iowa before I came to Drake.”
On the other hand, students who grew up in Iowa, still hear this feedback.
“I usually hear things like, ‘Do you live on a farm?’ ‘Are you home-schooled?’ ‘Do you have, like 10 people in your high school?’ or ‘Can you drive a tractor?’ One time someone asked if I had a pet pig,” first-year undeclared major Hannah Van Zee said.
Van Zee has found that people from larger cities are the ones who tent to play into the stereotypes surrounding Iowa.
“When you meet people from bigger cities or the coasts, they always assume you’re a home-schooled farm hick,” Van Zee said.
Van Zee does see an advantage to this thinking though.
“You think people from Iowa, and you think small town Christina Aguilera getting off a bus to follow her singing dreams in the big city. If people expect you to be small town from the start, they kind of underestimate you,” Van Zee said. “Iowans from small towns are knowledgeable and cultured too. People don’t see it coming.”
After coming to Drake, students’ view Iowa in a more positive light.
“I was really surprised by how nice of a city Des Moines is. I was also impressed with the reputation this city is gaining in the business community,” Stoiber said. “I will definitely never view Iowa in the way that I used to again.”