Freshman Rica Amy Iwai: Adjusting to college life

All freshmen in college can easily relate to many situations and circumstances of those around each other, whether it is problems in the dorms, an Interdisciplinary Studies course or simply eating a meal in the school cafeteria.

Perhaps these things might also include homesickness, stressful cramming for an exam or even just the every day routine of being an independent college student and living on your own.

Freshman Rica Amy Iwai is experiencing college for the first time, and she seems to be adjusting to the change very well.

Iwai is from Los Angeles, California and is majoring in dance. After applying to a lot of schools back home, the main reason she chose to attend Mercyhurst is because she wanted a change.

“A college in a small city was what I was looking for. When I saw the pictures of the campus online and all of the welcome messages, it made me want to visit the school. Even though its 3,000 miles away from home, it feels like a nice community where I could find my second home,” Iwai said.

Another perk for Iwai choosing Mercyhurst is its outstanding dance department.

“I was also looking for a school that has a great dance program. I found that the department here at Mercyhurst encourages the student to pursue their goals as a dancer,” she said.

Since being on campus, Iwai says that the community has definitely made her feel welcome.

She said she was surprised to find that since “it’s such a small campus, you get to know people really well and see them all the time. You bond with your friends since they’re always around you. Mercyhurst is definitely a family-oriented community.”

Being far away from home is an issue for almost all freshmen in college, especially when their home is across the country.

Iwai says that she keeps herself busy to avoid feeling homesick. She is involved in a lot of school clubs and organizations including the Dance Club, Relay for Life, Liturgical Dance and TOMS Mercyhurst Campus Club. These help to keep her mind off of the distance from home.

Even though she’s very involved on campus, being from California definitely has an impact on how she’s adjusted to Erie.

“The weather for sure is a huge difference. Everything is less crazy here, more calm. Also, simply the vibe of the people here in Erie is different too. “ said Iwai.

Mercyhurst athletics is known for its hockey, which is also something that is very different for Iwai.

“The big sport back home is definitely not hockey. I’m a surfer, so that is huge for me. Football, baseball and surfing would have to be the main sports in L.A.”

After her four years at Mercyhurst, Iwai’s future plans involve hopefully “getting paid to dance hip-hop for a dance company or being in the commercial business.”

Mercyhurst will undoubtedly prepare her for her future.