STORY BY MARISSA DEPINO
I felt surreal as my parents left me standing in my dorm at the beginning of my freshman year.
Only hours before, I had been in the car lugging all my belongings with me to school. The moment I was left alone I could almost immediately feel both the excitement rise in my chest and the quiet sense of fear and dread slowly creeping towards me.
But that fear was quickly washed away, along with my worries as I took on freshman year.
Looking back upon my freshman days brings back many memories. But along with those memories there is also a sense of desire. A desire to go back with the knowledge I have now. A desire to be able to take full advantage of the many experiences and opportunities
that Drake University and the Des Moines community has.
If I could go back in time and talk to freshman-year me, I would tell myself to speak up and take risks.
I would tell myself to not be afraid of fitting in or worry about “what if this happened” or “what if that happened.” These what-ifs can consume you and take away from the true college experience of putting yourself out there to discover the true you.
One of these risks is to become actively involved in the Drake community, whether this is through a sorority or fraternity, a non-profit organization, a sport or a club. I can’t stress this enough, get involved!
The key word is to be involved, but don’t overdo it. I struggled with juggling too many activities
at once during my freshman year. This is crucial not to do, or you will easily miss out on other events happening around campus or those events that occur in the Des Moines community.
And Des Moines is a community worth exploring. As a freshman I didn’t get off campus often enough to see it. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to open my eyes to it and its culture. There are countless places to look into in Des Moines.
If you’re into politics, take a tour of the capitol building. The beautiful architecture will surely leave an impression.
Looking for a place to hang out with friends? Then take an adventure to the Pappa John Sculpture Park and the Gray’s Lake Park. The sculpture park has many interesting sculptures
unique to the Des Moines area, while the park provides a nice escape from campus life to enjoy the sounds of nature.
Meanwhile, the Wells Fargo Arena is the perfect place to catch a show.
Most of all don’t be afraid to try new foods.
I made a huge mistake my freshman year and only ate at restaurants I recognized from home. There is an abundance of restaurants all over Des Moines serving a large variety of options. There is something for everyone here. And if the restaurants aren’t enough for you, take a look at the farmers’ market.
Here at Drake and the Des Moines community there is a limitless amount of opportunities. Being a first-year here is an experience you will never forget.