Hey there, me again.
I hope you all had an enjoyable July! As the start of the fall semester and my SOAR date approach, I’ve been reflecting a bit on why I chose to come to Madison. To me, the reasons are clear; but for many of my neighbors and friends, my choice is apparently hard to comprehend. For your enjoyment, here’s a list of real questions people have asked me after they heard that I picked Wisconsin:
“Why SO far away?” It’s 617 miles. People… I’m not going to Australia.
“You do know that it’s cold there, right?” Wait, for real?
“Do you have a good winter coat?” I have a couple sweatshirts??
“Is it because you like cheese?” Yes. That’s exactly why I’m going into deep financial debt…
“What do they have that Penn State/Pitt doesn’t?” (Read below)
“You’re not going to become a Packers fan, are you?” Badgers, yes. Packers, no.
I can assure you, I did not choose to attend this school because of the “great beer and cheese selection” that the state has to offer. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that is what Pennsylvanians associate Wisconsin with- that and Aaron Rodgers.
Anyway, the whole college search started when I was beginning my junior year. I created a list of campuses to visit (as one does after five weeks of prodding from their parents). At this point, I had already toured a handful of schools near my hometown, but none of them seemed to “click.”
It’s a big decision, as you all know! I was determined to find a campus that already felt like home. My parents both met at and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, which is about a twenty minute drive from my house. My grandmother also worked at the Pitt News office for many years. I grew up on that campus. I could lead you around better than some of their freshman tour guides probably could. I love it, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough for me. I wanted something different, and that feeling is what led me to the University of Wisconsin’s website one December night in 2015.
The University of Wisconsin first popped up on my radar after a visit to the U.S. News and World Report websites, of all places. You know that extremely overused idiom, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” Well, I try to live my life with an open mind and an accepting attitude like the saying suggests. However, when I clicked onto the homepage of the UW-Madison site, I thought to myself, “This school is different,” which is an odd thing to think after one glance at a website! Yet, in this digital age, I think that’s a pretty big compliment. (Props to the people who run the websites and social media accounts for the school! Especially the Twitter account.)
That was just the start, though. I did my research and found that the school ranks in the top 10 for the Top Public National Universities, according to U.S. News and World Report. It also boasts a high freshman retention rate, has 232 Undergraduate majors and certificates to choose from, and has over 800 organizations. One visit to the campus in March of 2016, and I was in love.
On campus, everyone I met was friendly and extremely helpful. The city is filled with restaurants, museums, stores, and attractions. Also, Library Mall is already one of my favorite places, complete with all of the food trucks that you could ever hope for. The campus is positioned between a city and lake; and because of this, you get the best of both worlds. Only a short ten minute walk from the hustle and bustle of the city, and you’re on the Lakeshore Path.
There’s a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a city or nature person; a book or movie person; introvert or extrovert; sports fan or theatergoer: the University of Wisconsin and the city of Madison have something to offer you. Most of you probably already know this, but it always makes me feel good to realize I chose such a great school. With a student population of over 43,000; you’re also bound to find some friends that suit you as well. That’s something I’m excited to put to the test myself this fall. If you see me on campus, don’t be afraid to say ‘hi!’
Bye for now. Hope this last full month of summer treats you well!