Walking across the campus on a brisk September morning, as swarms of students scatter in every direction, I spotted a girl standing at an intersection of the sidewalk, talking to various people that came her direction. As I approached the young female, I heard her say to another passerby, “It’s okay, I will ask her.” This statement slowed down my walking as if anticipating that “her” was me. It was. She turned to me and asked “Do you know where Forker is?”
She was a freshman. I knew exactly where it was and offered to take her there myself. As we walked and chatted, it dawned on me that she was starting her first semester on this adventure at Iowa State and I am starting my last. We were the beginning and the end of the cycle of the college experience. It had not completely sunk in that this is my last semester and come this December I will no longer call this campus my home.
Just prior to encountering the lost freshman, I was studying the Art on Campus sculpture Escalieta I by Manuel Neri, located at the Gerdin Business Building. This wonderful stone sculpture has the rough outline of a woman reminisce of the Greek era goddesses. Its determining details have not been completed, as if waiting to be finished and developed. Just like the freshman coming into the year ready to finish developing who they want to be or are supposed to be.
One leg of the woman is slightly forward, as if she is taking the step into the next chapter of her life. Freshmen come here to take the first step of getting the specialized training into the career path that will shape them into who they will become. Through the next few years they will be molded and formed into complete human beings, just as a statue is being chiseled and formed into a complete work of art.
The face of the woman is very rough, only the mouth is fully developed. As freshman we do not know or understand who we are. We are still searching and learning about what makes us… well us. What qualities are important, what beliefs we believe and what features give us our identity. Those are things, if you are lucky, we learn in college. As women, it is also a time to understand and accept our gender and sexuality. The goddess figure has a beautiful physique; however, the breasts are not fully refined, touching on this topic. As we grow into ourselves we need to understand gender stereotypes and how they impact our self image and how to overcome them or use them to our advantage.
As I reflect on my journey here at Iowa State, I start visualizing what would my sculpture look like now. Would it be refined and finished? Would it still have the rough, details of a freshman sculpture?
I have learned so much during my many years at Iowa State. I have experienced great things that have molded who I am and who I want to be. Some of these experiences were through classes and teachers or mentors. Through them, I have discovered a new passion and have had the opportunity to explore and gain experience in my field. I now see a path that I want to take and have the tools to do so.By Emily Van Nostrand