So, my baby graduated from college, marking the end of a parenting era for us. Four up, four down. Four Hawkeyes. When I tell people that all of our kids attended the University of Iowa, they naturally wonder if my husband and I had also attended. And…no we hadn’t. We actually both went to Loyola University of Chicago. Iowa just sort of…happened.
Number one son began his college studies at Illinois State University but decided he wanted a Big Ten experience and after some deliberation decided Iowa City was the place for him. Then number two son came along. His first year was spent at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. SAU proved to be a bit too small for our little guy with big dreams and so Iowa City welcomed another member of the family, as he followed his big brother forty minutes further west. Illinois State and St. Ambrose still hold a special place in my heart, but I know both boys ended up where they needed to be.
Son number three was a different story altogether. He was planning to study music and the first decision he (we) had to make was what kind of school would be best for him. That is, would a conservatory better serve him or a music school within a larger university? After much thought, he decided he wanted to have a wider college experience and the opportunity to attend football games, so he (we) opted for the latter. His schools of choice: the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, CCM (College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati) and Northern Illinois University. That’s right – Iowa didn’t even make the list. He was determined to break the mold and go his own way. His brothers were incensed. You’re not even going to APPLY??they asked, incredulously. No, he decided Iowa wasn’t the place for him after joining us for a Family Weekend and witnessing the bad behavior displayed by students and parents alike. He was a straight arrow and serious student and that environment did not appeal to him. Afterward, my husband and I explained that, while we, too, were appalled by some of the behavior we’d seen, the fact was that he would find the “party” mentality at any school, but it didn’t have to define him or his college experience. So, after a bit more urging, he gave in and applied to Iowa. Since his application was on the late side, so was his audition – he was added well after the published deadline. And surprise of all surprises, that particular audition had proven to be so different from every other school that, upon emerging from the depths of the PercussionLand studio, my third son announced that if he was admitted to the University of Iowa School of Music, then THAT’S where he was going to go. Period. And so he did. I remember asking the professor when he thought we might hear about a decision and was told that his recommendations had already been submitted. I thought, What the hell? Why are we even here, then? But the prof made it very clear that he wanted my little boy. And boy did he get him. After graduation, he received his Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (only because his professor insisted he go elsewhere for different college experience) only to head straight back to the familiar river town of Iowa City to continue his studies. For the guy who never wanted to go to school there, it seems Iowa City can’t get rid of him now.
Coming in at number four was my little drummer girl, who also planned to pursue music in college and managed to BLOW everyone away at EVERY SINGLE AUDITION. Seriously, I could include excerpts from some of the faculty at those schools, but I won’t. So, you’re welcome. Just take my word for it, she was amazing. But now the tough decision…where to go, where to go. She actually had schools competing with scholarship offers, each besting the last. It was CRAZY. Finally, Iowa came in with an offer that she (we) couldn’t refuse and with her entrance into the percussion studio, made university history as the first set of siblings to study together in the same studio.
So, yeah, that’s how they all ended up at Iowa. But now my daughter has thrown a curveball at Mom and Dad about her thoughts for the future. I’ll tell you about that next time…