Experiencing College Culture Shock

Coming from Chicago, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I moved to Decorah. I didn't realize culture shock was an actual feeling until I came to Luther.

The drive here was so peaceful and quiet, which was not what I was used to, and the smell of the air was even different. I remember the first night being on campus, I was able to see a sky full of stars and I freaked out. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and how I was able to experience such a sight. I was so shocked that I had called my mom and had to tell her how different it was here.

Back in Chicago, I live in a Hispanic-dominated neighborhood where everyone usually focuses on their own personal business, so making an adjustment to living in such a close-knit community was amazing but strange at the same time. I was welcomed by so many people who were so cheerful and genuine that it completely took me off guard. I was not used to living in an area where people would like to have a simple conversation about the weather or my interests. I was genuinely confused on how I should feel mainly because I did not know how to deal with such a change.

I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to do so. I didn’t know how to engage myself in different activities and conversations since I had initially believed that I would be misunderstood. I wanted to come to Luther to experience a change, and once I had remembered that and pushed myself to join outside activities and such, I felt at ease with the transition. I was able to not only make new friends, but view the campus in a new light.

I learned how to appreciate the beautiful scenery and the different types of opportunities that are provided for me. I found my place on this campus and have enjoyed my time here so much.

Being here not only made me appreciate Decorah and Luther, but it also made me acknowledge the good things about where I come from as well. I was able to learn new cultures and traditions from different individuals and have the opportunity to explore more of Iowa. I have grown so much from being here the past three years, and I will forever be grateful for that.

Luther allowed me to understand that change can be good for you as long as you’re willing to give it a shot! My time here is coming to an end, but I have built so many memories and relationships on this wonderful campus that I will forever take with me.

I appreciate the culture shock that I have experienced because it has helped me understand the different steps I will continue to take in life, and how to grow from each new experience I encounter.

Angelique Rivera '20 now fully appreciates a starry night.

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