My experience so far has been unique, empowering, and truly magical. Going to college in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cornfields, in a small town of less than 10,000 people is in stark contrast with who I am, or who I thought I was before I fell in love with this place.
On my way here from Mumbai, I didn't think I would ever belong at Grinnell because of its geographic isolation and rural setting. The college transition in itself is extremely transformative, but mine felt particularly drastic: going from 20 million people to 10,000, from the city skyline to a town where the tallest building is four storeys high, from the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city to, well, the middle of nowhere..
Never in my life have I been this happy while admitting that I was wrong. So, so wrong. Everything that I thought would make me feel out of place has truly helped me belong here. The small population has allowed me to foster meaningful and caring relationships, from friends to mentors. This network of support extends beyond college students and faculty, and into the town itself, where working at the pre-school, middle school, and high school has helped me meet a lot more new people. The college has also connected every international student with a host family, and I have had such a wholesome and wonderful experience with mine; my host 'sister' is seven years old and I've had so much fun bonding and goofing around with her!
The isolation of Grinnell means there's a lot to do on campus itself- within the first few weeks, I had countless opportunities to explore what I'm passionate about. I got involved in Mock Trial, a Prison Teaching Programme, South Asian Student Organisation, and the All Campus Events Committee. I've found a community and family in everything I partake in, and it's made my experience so rewarding and fulfilling.
Academically, the rigour is unmatched and classes can be very challenging, but the faculty is incredibly supportive and the small class size means every single one of us is made to feel like no matter how tough it gets, we can do it.
Grinnell has already given me so much to be grateful for, and I cannot wait to see what I discover in the next four years!
Shubhika Devrani (OIS Class of 2019)