After an active four years, IU senior sees ‘a scrapbook’ of college life everywhere on campus

Longtime IU Communications intern Alex Kimbrell says goodbye in a final blog for the IU Newsroom:

It was only five short years ago that I sat shotgun next to my grandfather, driving from my hometown of Columbus, Ind., to check out a college called Indiana University.

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Alex Kimbrell outside Ernie Pyle Hall. | Photo provided by Alex Kimbrell

As we arrived in Bloomington, we began cruising through the IU campus in search of the admissions office and a simple campus map. When we finally got one in our eager hands, it was time to explore. We visited every inch of campus and walked through every limestone building we could find. By the end of that impromptu tour, I knew I had just found my future home.

As I look at one of those campus maps today, it’s full of much more than buildings and streets; it’s full of memories. I’m talking about those 8 a.m. walks to class in a chilly snowfall, those summer strolls to the Rose Well House, and all of those late-night adventures on Kirkwood Avenue. When I look at an IU campus map, I feel like I’m looking at a scrapbook of my entire college experience.

No matter which college I chose, I always told myself to soak up each and every moment. Freshman year I decided to join Greek life, where I instantly found a community of brothers and friends that I would have all four years of college. That same year I also landed a position on the IU social media team. Nothing would prepare me for the immense amount of experiences I would have at this internship, including covering seven commencements, four Little 500 races, homecoming parades and Welcome Weeks.

Here at IU, I have accomplished far beyond what I set out to, and far beyond what I ever imagined. One of the largest ways I got involved was joining the FYE Orientation Team, where I served as orientation leader and later student coordinator. Through the orientation team, I was able to make an impact on over 14,000 incoming students and their loved ones. Those two summers showed me that it takes one person to make a difference in someone’s life, and lucky for me I would soon have another similar experience — one that would take me around the world.

The summer before senior year, I was able to spend 10 days in China and India participating in the IU2U program, assisting incoming international students on their transition to IU. Being my first time abroad, this experience was profoundly eye-opening and forever changed my outlook on life.

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Kimbrell at the Taj Mahal during an IU2U trip. | Photo provided by Alex Kimbrell

Our group had dinner with international students, visited cultural landmarks in the area and helped resolve any worries and concerns that students may have had before coming to IU. During that trip, I realized how much students in the U.S. and international students have in common, with many of the questions from students and parents revolving around similar topics: safety, campus life and transportation. This trip was a little ways from the IU campus, but it remains one of my favorite college experiences.

As I look back at the my past four years at IU, I can’t help but think about all of the memories I’ve made on this campus and the experiences that I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget the feeling of walking through the Sample Gates, or the feeling of turning in my last final for the semester. I’ll never forget the feeling of being in the crowd at Little 500, or the feeling of dipping my feet into the Showalter Fountain on a humid, summer day. I’ll never forget the feeling of standing in the middle of Assembly Hall as I welcome an entire class of incoming students to their new home. However, nothing will beat the feeling of receiving my degree in front of my family and thousands of my peers, at an institution so dear to my heart and one that has had an irreversible impact on my life.

I’ll never forget my time as a Hoosier.

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