Guest blogger: Folatomi Alli-Balogun, IBY2
“Is this it?” I thought to myself as the taxi pulled up to the Segal Visitor Center. Feelings of excitement mixed with slight trepidation overcame me, as I looked at the vast expanse of Northwestern University. I sent in my Early Decision application a few days before and although I was excited to visit my first choice college, the thought of not enjoying my overnight visit gnawed at me. I took a huge risk and entered a binding contract which mandated that I attend this school if I am admitted.
At first, I was slightly intimidated by the idea of visiting a college, let alone one as big and prestigious as Northwestern. I was in awe of the ease with which people went about their day-to-day activities, without reveling in the greatness of the university. Everyone seemed so normal. From the moment I stepped on campus, I longed to be a wildcat. After a brief introduction ceremony, I was introduced to my host, Sydney. Sydney is a freshman at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science as well as a fellow New Yorker. She is also interested in Mechanical Engineering, and it was a delight to be shown around the school by someone who had similar interests to me.
I was fortunate enough to receive a personalized tour of the school, which included the famous Northwestern Arch, The ‘Rock’, and the beach on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. The modern buildings blend with the older ones to create a mesh of two worlds that blend perfectly with nature. I met a lot of students who were not only excited to meet a new prospie (prospective student), but made sure I felt comfortable in their midst. Because it is a school filled with so many intelligent people, I expected the air of competitiveness to be as thick as the Evanston snow in February. However to my pleasant surprise, it was the opposite. I got to see first hand, how Northwestern University values not just cooperation, but interdisciplinary cooperation. There is a lot of emphasis placed on grooming students to become well rounded in any field they pursue. From the amazing facilities in the technological institute, to the Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Norris Student Center, it is clear that Northwestern is a place that allows a student to achieve anything he/she wants to.
The student residences also clearly foster the connectedness between students of all disciplines. I stayed in a themed residence, the ‘green house’ that focuses on environmental sustainability. It constitutes of about eighty students from all over the world who major in a wide range of subjects and connect through their common love for the environment. Despite the diversity, they have been able to form a tight bond. Best of all, I fit right into the mix. I met people, had stimulating discussions, and expanded my mindset in such a short period of time.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the two lectures I attended. Despite the fact that I had little knowledge in the subject areas being taught, I was easily able to understand them. I was amazed by how much the faculty cared about their students.
The town lovely town of Evanston is also part of the appeal of Northwestern. Its proximity to a city as big as Chicago is exciting but also allows it to keep its unique charm. It avoids the fast pace of a big city, but is close enough to one that students at Northwestern can enjoy the best of both worlds.
As I pulled away from the Segal Visitor Center where it all began, I reflected upon my experience at Northwestern University, and said to myself: ‘I’ll be back’.
Folatomi Alli-Balogun is an IBY2 student attending EF Academy New York, originally from Nigeria.