I admit, I was a little bit overwhelmed to be hosting a prospective student, a high school senior trying to figure out if Northwestern was worth her precious ED... I mean, as a freshman, I hardly know the school myself!
On the day I was hosting her, I had only been on campus for a 22 short days. Besides, I never had that ‘a-ha’ moment when you immediately fall in love with your school upon first stepping on the campus. Besides, I literally didn’t decide to come to Northwestern until the week before college decisions were due. Talk about stressful.
That’s why I was determined to show her all the ways I have come to love Northwestern so far, or at least the best parts that I know of.
So, the journey began...
8 Things I Did With My Prospie:
1. Showed her my home away from home.
Thanks to my privilege living in the Grand Allison Hotel, my prospie got to have a glimpse of the loveliness that is possible with Northwestern housing and be shielded from the dorms with dirty laundry piling up in the corners, mold infestations, cramped closets, or showers with hair-clogged drains. Right before she arrived, my roomie and I went through a painstaking process of putting away our clothes, actually making our beds and frantically vacuuming the numerous crumbs off the carpet. We wanted her to believe that we had our lives together enough to have a pristine, hip, and Pinterest-worthy dorm room.
2. Ate an average dinner in Allison.
It was a Monday, and I forgot about Plexican burrito night, so we went downstairs to eat. I definitely talked up that Allison had the best dining hall wayyyy too much. She frantically looked around for more options that looked somewhat desirable but ultimately had to settle for pizza and salad. She said that she had Lou Malnati’s for lunch so this was an unfortunate step down. I made sure that my friends would all meet us there for dinner so that she could hear different perspectives, while also showing off that I had actually made friends already.
3. Ventured into Evanston for a treat.
We walked around for a little bit so she could get the lay of the land, as well as enjoy a local custard favorite, Andy’s. I think the James Brownie Funky Jackhammer totally won her over because she swallowed the whole thing faster than I did despite the slight chill outside. If I’ve learned anything since my start at Northwestern, it’s that Andy’s creamy deliciousness can turn anyone’s bad day around. Interestingly, many prospies only know of Northwestern as a school by Chicago, but have no idea that it’s actually situated in Evanston. This cozy small town really impressed my prospie as the perfect college town with cute shops and restaurants to keep her busy over weekends if she were to come here.
4. Stopped at CVS a.k.a. college variety store.
I realize this was probably not an Evanston highlight like Cheesie’s or La Mach, but I didn’t know what was open or where else to take her. So the best activity I could think of was for her to witness me shopping for college essentials, a.k.a. tissues to overcome the freshman plague as well as Goldfish, cereal, Milanos and peanut butter to continue my very necessary snacking habits between classes. She was very intrigued by my newfound independence as embodied in doing grocery shopping on my own. And she was successfully convinced that college midterms require a never-ending supply of food, regardless of how lacking in nutritional value the snacks may be.
5. Hung out (while I studied).
We sat in the dorm while I attempted to catch up on 70 pages of Russian Lit reading. I sat there at my desk, flipping through multiple pages every few minutes to see how much more I had left while she politely kept busy. While she might have sensed that I wasn’t a good example of being on top of my work, she would get to realize sooner or later that top-notch procrastination and loads of reading are the two common facets of college life, especially at Nerdwestern.
As I was mired in my work, she watched Seth Meyers’ commencement speech for a good laugh and a taste of the excellence of our alumni - one of NU’s favorite ways to rope in prospective students. When she finished, and I still had to work, I couldn’t resist and handed her the latest copy of NBN to peruse and enjoy (shameless plug, I know). This was definitely not the fun night she expected, but she kept reassuring me she was fine relaxing.
6. Went to bed.
She slept on the floor in a sleeping bag (definitely not the comfiest spot) because the cot I ordered on School Dude never came. Once I had caught up on reading, I let her fall asleep and then turned on my bed light to finish my homework. She didn’t have to know I was up for an extra hour.
7. Toured our campus.
I showed her the very best parts: Shepard’s new basement with study rooms and hanging egg chairs, SPAC (in particular Peeled because their acai bowls are Snapchat story goals), Deering Library (because “C’mon doesn’t this resemble Hogwarts?”) and the Lakefill on (luckily) a gorgeous, sunny day. She asked me how the winters were, and since I’ve never been through one, I just said, “Oh, they are definitely not a big deal if you have layers.”
8. Went to class.
The next day, she got to shadow me and sit through two lectures, Russian Lit followed by Intro to Psych. What better way to finish her time at NU than to get into the classroom for two hours and 40 minutes straight and also learn how to bust your butt and weave your way along Sheridan to switch classes in 10 minutes?
After a long day-and-a-half of Northwestern life, she offered her overall impression and said that Northwestern was the perfect balance between extracurriculars and social life while still putting academics first and foremost. She liked this since she wasn’t much of a partier. I said, “That’s great!” and nervously laughed.
She was here on a Monday night when everyone is realizing how much work they have to do, rather than a Thursday night living it up at the Deuce or a Friday night crammed inside a hot, overcrowded frat house trashed with red solo cups. Shhh, she doesn’t need to know.