All it took was 30 days for me to be swept off my feet. Grinnell took my breath away from day one, and as I walked dazedly around campus, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. From the beaming smiles of everyone I passed, to the crisp and refreshingly unpolluted Iowa air, to my awesome Nepali roommate, everything finally seemed comfortable.

However, it wasn’t until mid-September that I realized just how at home I felt at Grinnell, and just how much I loved this place. I felt completely refreshed by being around these amazing Grinnellians, engaging in their random bouts of fun, just because. Here is a brief look at nine signs I was falling in love with Grinnell College:

  1. One rainy night, my friend Sarah ran into our room and commanded us to put on our dirtiest clothes, most of which need to be laundered, that instant. We agreed, needing a study break, and proceeded downstairs and outside, where it was pouring. As we walked down the loggia, we passed more people and invited them to join us. The result? A magnificent mud fight with 15 girls in the freezing cold rain, followed by loud and off-key rain-related songs — I’m amazed we didn’t get pneumonia, but I’m not going to forget that night anytime soon.
  2. I learned how to climb a tree at 10 o’clock at night. A few friends and I were passing a giant tree, and I mentioned how I’d never actually climbed a tree. It took me 15 and I clung to it for another half an hour. Finally, I moved up a branch or two, still very freaked out. The next day I tried climbing a smaller tree on my own. Satisfied with the height I had reached and with the bright sunshine, I took my books and sat in a tree and studied there for an hour and a half.
  3. I made my very first s’more over a bonfire. That night, I also learned also how to burn eight marshmallows in a row.
  4. I went stargazing from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m., lying on Mac Field talking about politics, Eastern philosophy, and the merits and demerits of dining hall food. We fell asleep in a random lounge that night, too tired to walk up three floors to our room.
  5. One night when the observatory was open, I saw Saturn. Also that night, my friends and I rolled down a grassy hill in the dark. Got bruised. Did it again the night Barack Obama got elected.
  6. I organized a midweek Mulan sing-along study break on a Wednesday afternoon, inviting everyone I saw that day — my efforts resulted in plenty of loud singing to “Be A Man.”
  7. My favorite floor-bonding study break: finger-painting. Lots of paint, chips and dip, rolls of white paper, and a wide variety of artistic abilities. A wide variety.
  8. Staying up until 4:30 a.m. the night before my sociology midsem, highly caffeinated and eating cup noodles, pondering the meaning of life with my roommate.
  9. One evening, I came out of a rehearsal of my a capella group, only to stumble upon DAG practice. DAG, the medieval foam sword– fighting club, is a well-recognized campus organization and pretty hard to miss. Until then, I’d always been a little too intimidated to try out the whole jabbing-people-with-swords thing, but that night, stumbling upon this practice outside Bucksbaum, my friends and I ignored the teeming piles of homework that awaited us and played DAG for an hour in the dark.

Grinnell is where everything makes sense, where your strangest dreams come to fruition, and where you discover that others share your secret love for mixing hummus with chocolate sauce. My fellow Grinnellians led me to fall in love with this haven of liberal arts splendor. This kind of unconditional love is one for the record books.

Sunanda Vaidheesh '12 is undeclared and from Mumbai, India.

Sunanda Vaidheesh '12...

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