The following is North alumnus Michael Maa’s response to our questions about his college decision process, the student life and culture at Indiana University Bloomington, and more.
Maa graduated from North in 2019. He is a part of IU’s class of 2023.
I chose IU ultimately because of the people, the culture, and the extent of opportunities here. The people I’ve met since I’ve been here are quite literally my best friends and genuinely some of the best people with whom I’ve ever interacted.
Here at Indiana, we also have what we call a “culture of care” that frankly, I didn’t really find at other schools. Everyone wants the best for each other and to see them succeed.
You hear stories of people at other competitive universities ripping out textbook pages simply so other students won’t be able to find answers, and I’ve never heard of anything like that here. I think part of it can definitely be attributed to the classic Midwestern, and more specifically, Indiana hospitality.
I mean, ultimately, in my opinion, I personally would not want to attend a university that has such a detrimental cutthroat environment, and in the two times I visited IU before committing (once the summer after junior year and again during February of senior year), everyone on campus was genuinely so amiable and welcoming.
The feeling I got just from interacting with current students, not only back then as a high school senior, but also even now as a current student here at IU, the people here are fantastic. Everyone’s extremely transparent about what they’re doing and happy to inform you of new opportunities that arise.
Photo Credit: indiana.edu
I’ve actually had a bunch of friends message me about opportunities they had heard about in which they had no interest, but simply told me about because they knew I would be interested, and I think moments like those perfectly encapsulate the culture here at IU.
I also came here for the amount of opportunities. My first year of college isn’t even over yet, but I’m already so heavily involved in so many things, all of which I attribute to the environment of a big state school.
I know that when I was deciding where to commit, I was extremely nervous. Part of me knew that IU was right for me, but I think there’s always apprehension that comes with such a major, arguably life-changing, decision. But literally since day one, I’ve loved it here. I get really emotional thinking about it because I truly do love everyone I’ve met and they’ve definitely shaped my college experience these past few months.
At the end of the day, choosing IU was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m really fortunate to have found the right place for me.
Honestly, I don’t really get homesick too often. Occasionally, from time to time, I’ll miss some of the old high school memories, but I always find solace in the fact that I’m creating new memories with new people that are just as remarkable.
Photo Credit: kelley.iu.edu
Funnily enough, I would say the thing I miss most about home is being able to drive. To all the current high schoolers and especially to the seniors, cherish every moment you have with your car: all the times you can just grab your keys, drive anywhere you want, and just BOP to some music.
My favorite part of being here at IU has for sure been the newfound freedom. In high school, you still have some level of freedom, but once you get to college, that amount skyrockets And quite honestly, it can either be a really great thing or a really dangerous thing. Unlike high school, here in college, you’re not in class for seven consecutive hours, so it really is up to you to find ways to fill up that time.
Ultimately, for me, coming to college has been extremely liberating, and I’m really grateful that things worked out so well for me.
On the other hand, the hardest part would definitely be the work-life balance. And as cliché as that sounds, it definitely rings true for me. It’s pretty difficult to be able to keep up with schoolwork, friends, fun, and sleep with such short days, but once you find a balance and a routine (which does take a little bit of time), it’s really rewarding and gratifying.