I have to admit, I pretty much hated you for a solid two years. (Well, longer than that, actually.) I disliked your overused school colors, your confusing campus, the huge, intimidating 36,000+ student population, the fact that you were so far from home (ironic for me to say, I KNOW) and everything else you stood for. Overall, you could probably call it an irrational opinion, but we'll just overlook that.
Basically, whenever I thought of you, the only thing that came to mind was "THAT PLACE LITERALLY TERRIFIES ME AND DISGUSTS ME AT THE SAME TIME AND I AM NEVER, EVER GOING THERE FOR COLLEGE."
Again, I'm not 100% sure why I thought those things in the first place, but we'll overlook it. Anyways, now that I've been an Iowa State student for going on three semesters (WOW, THAT'S LONGER THAN I'VE BEEN AT ANY OTHER COLLEGE!), I figured it was time for me to write about it.
I just want to say a few things to the university that taught me so much about myself. I'd also like to share a few thoughts about the world around me and how it has changed over the past year.
Thanks for the chance to learn about feminism AND change campus culture for the better, Iowa State.
Junior year of college was my most empowering year thus far because I became a proud feminist after taking a women's and gender studies course. My entire life changed because of that one class.
I learned that women are downright amazing and far too unappreciated in our society. I realized that all women, including myself, are worth it. We are strong, and we demand to be noticed and treated humanely.
Now, when I see something, I say something. And I say it LOUDLY.
I encourage my friends to respect both genders and acknowledge additional gender identities, ALWAYS ask for consent, and become aware of the pure unfairness of the patriarchy that our society is structured around. I strongly oppose rape culture whenever it pops up (unwanted, obviously) in my daily life.
And I'm not afraid to call people out when they are acting in misogynistic or ignorant ways. Thanks to you, I'm breaking down gender norms EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Thank you for the amazing Christian community on campus and the opportunity to freely worship God EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
During junior year, I became much closer to God and really enjoyed going to weekly worship nights. I really learned the power of worship last year. Plus, there is a huge Christian presence (including multiple faith-based student organizations and clubs) at Iowa State, and I just love that so much.
Last year was a year of disappointment, growth, and so many blessed. Even though my time on campus was frequently unpleasant and stressful, I experienced many situations over the months that reassured me that God is with me, and that He is crafting my life according to His will.
So, thank you for being the backdrop of God's many blessings last year. And thank you for showing me that I am strong enough to attend a college with a student population of 36,000+. Thank you for the knowledge that I learned last year.
I'm not saying you're the greatest thing in the world, but I guess you weren't so bad after all. It's been fun, but let's be honest: I can't wait to graduate.
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