Let me paint you a picture of a scenario that was all too real for me at one point. You walk into Maucker Union or Rod Library, you don’t know anyone and you try not to be noticed. You’re new to the university, and you’re really shy and nervous to branch out.
Ever since I transferred to University of Northern Iowa, I struggled to find my place. I transferred to UNI in the middle of my sophomore year, and I just remember feeling so lost. I didn’t have a ton of friends, I wasn’t involved in any organizations, and I went home every single weekend. When I didn’t go home over the weekend, I would feel down on myself and look for excuses to go home the next weekend. I eventually became involved in a couple organizations, but I still couldn’t find the right fit. I wasn’t really connected to the university, and I was counting down the days until I graduated.
It wasn’t until when a good friend of mine recommended joining UNI Dance Marathon that it was even on my radar. I was skeptical because I had never been very involved on campus before, and this made me hesitant. But I figured since it’s my senior year; I should try to make it memorable and leave an impact on the community I would soon be leaving behind. I love the idea of giving back to the community, plus I love to support children, so why not join UNI Dance Marathon in which I can do both? So I jumped in.
Let’s fast-forward to now. I’m the Assistant Director of Design, I’m more involved than ever before, and I’m the busiest, yet happiest, that I have ever been. I’ve never been so fulfilled ever in my life, especially within my college career. Almost every week there is a different event or giveback to raise money and awareness for children facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Along with that, I get to make graphic designs and help lead a team of designers to create graphics that brand our organization, promote our events and promote the cause surrounding it.
More often than not I find myself thinking, just wondering why it took me so long to join UNI Dance Marathon. I’m constantly proving to myself how capable I am of raising money and awareness for children facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries. I’ve heard this saying many times before, and here I am now saying it to others, but JOIN NOW. You will wish you joined sooner, just like I did.
Let me paint you a new picture. Now when I walk into Maucker Union or Rod Library, I see my friends. I look for people to talk to. I have friends who I know I will miss when I graduate, which is something I’ve never had at UNI before. I’m not as shy as I once was, but now I’m more outgoing and try to be there for people who may be struggling in the same place I used to be in.
Nowadays, the only time I really struggle (if you can even call this a struggle) is when I want to be in two places at once. I don’t want to miss out on a single thing. I wish I wasn’t graduating this year so I had more time to be a part of UNI Dance Marathon, and make an even bigger difference in the lives of the children and families we support.
University of Northern Iowa may have 250+ organizations, but UNI Dance Marathon is the one that makes me feel at home. Nothing is more important than raising money to support the children at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, but making forever-friends and finding my place in the process is a great thing, too.