Finding a sense of belonging

As a campus tour guide from Longmont, CO, Ella Aizeki’25 is passionate about Beloit — and about telling people just how much she loves Beloit. She answers a few burning questions about her many interests, her favorite things about college life, and finding a sense of belonging as a first-year.

What brought you to Beloit?

I was looking for small liberal arts colleges. My mom and I were looking at so many different college search websites, and I can’t even remember which one Beloit came on, but my mom was like, “Ella, this one’s for you!” What really drew me to the school was watching the YouTube videos of students. It felt so personal. Being able to see conversations between students and see their dorms, I just felt like, “Look at these cool people, who are funny and quirky like me!”

How do you spend your time on campus?

Ella Aizeki?25 Ella Aizeki’25I’m working as a tour guide and I’m in Bits & Pieces [Beloit’s a cappella group]. I’m also the director of finance and ritual chair for Delta Sigma Nu [formerly the national sorority Alpha Sigma Tau]. I’m trying to do all my classes. I’m taking computer science, which I love. I was so nervous to take it, but now I think I might major in computer science. I’m also taking Cultural Approaches to Math, which is so fun. I’m taking Sex, Race, and Power, and an intro to literature, which has a focus on intimacy, with Michael Dango.

I wanted to throw myself into different disciplines and learn about different things so I would find out what I want to major in. I love that the classes are so fun here. There are different ways we can approach science and math or different focuses to literature.

What is Greek life like for you?

It’s so interesting. I’ve also taken on a lot of responsibilities, so that’s been a lot, especially in creating this new organization. I’m feeling like I’m getting a lot of new skills [to use] in the adult world, like learning about bank accounts and budgeting and talking to people to connect different ideas. It’s been a little intimidating and a lot on my plate, but overall it’s been a positive experience. Everyone is so cool and so smart and kind and everyone wants to help each other. A couple of days ago, we got to make wax collages together, and it was such a fun time to make art and bond with everyone.

How do you feel about being one of the youngest tour guides on staff?

Ella explores downtown Beloit aboard a Sinnissippi Cruiser bike. Ella explores downtown Beloit aboard a Sinnissippi Cruiser bike.

It’s been exciting. I was definitely nervous at first because I don’t have all the information about every major and every building on campus, but I think it’s really cool that they hire first-years because I am so excited to join all these new things, which I think is an important perspective for new students. I just applied last year, so I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.

It’s a lot of energy and can be emotionally exhausting if I’m having a hard day, but I felt that actually it can be super helpful. It puts me in a happy mood because I love connecting with people, and even if I don’t feel like doing it, putting myself in that mode of being excited lifts my spirits and puts me in a different place. It reminds me of why I like telling people why I like Beloit. I also loved doing theatre in high school, and this is an opportunity to perform a little bit for people.

Are you hoping to get back into theatre?

It’s such a big time commitment, and I really want to get involved in a bunch of little things and see what else I like before I take up all my time with that. But I have a very large love for musicals, so maybe next year’s musical I’ll audition for and sacrifice some hours to do something I love. It’s so, so fun to be in a musical.

Is there anything else that you’re aspiring to do at Beloit?

I’ve always wanted to be a part of a student film. Or take a music production class and learn how to make music.

What are your favorite campus spots?

Ella and her friends enjoy hanging out in her split double room in Bushnell. Ella and her friends enjoy hanging out in her split double room in Bushnell.

My roommate just moved out, and at first I was dreading even being in my room because her space is gone. Now, I’ve rearranged my bed and stuff, so I’m really loving having this cozy space in my room. I love Bushnell because it’s an all-female space and it’s such a nice community. A lot of times, I’ll just leave my door open and be working at my desk when people stop by and say hey. That’s what I love about Bush [floor] four. I love change too, so I definitely need a fresh start next year — just don’t know where yet.

Besides that, I love the upstairs of Pearsons and I love that I get to do a cappella there once a week. And I love the mail center! I love antique mailboxes and getting packages.

What do you miss from home when you’re here? What do you miss from here when you’re home?

Ella Aizeki?25 hiking in Colorado with her dog. Ella Aizeki’25 hiking in Colorado with her dog.I miss the mountains and hiking. I didn’t know that I love hiking until I was about to leave. I was like, “What should I do in Colorado before I can’t be here?” Then I went hiking with my dog and I loved it. As soon as I knew I was going to lose it, I realized how beautiful it was. I live 15 minutes away from the wilderness, so I miss that.

Here, I love living so close to my friends and being able to do whatever, whenever. I can go to the gym before class and walk five minutes and be there. I love eating with my friends every day. I love having traditions — having movie nights with my friends every Sunday, getting warm cookies every Wednesday. I’m a sucker for traditions. I love having my schedule and my routine, so I miss that when I’m back home.

I also miss my pets so much. I got to meet this person’s cat today and it was the best experience ever. I’ll have to show you a picture!

What makes you happy?

Taking a walk in Horace White Park with friend Dani Coon?25. Taking a walk in Horace White Park with friend Dani Coon’25.

So many things! Singing with other people makes me so happy. Laughing. Sharing my space, sharing my food — I love having people over and being able to give them something, like, “I have grapes in my fridge, guys, let’s eat them!” Also dressing up. Getting fancy and going to an event. Or just for myself — putting on a nice outfit and doing my hair and makeup.

And Zumba! I go to the Zumba class [in the Powerhouse] every week. And I’m in Todd Reading Buddies [a volunteer program run through nearby Todd Elementary], which has been really fun and makes me happy too. I work at a preschool back home, so that’s a nice way to connect with kids here.

Where have you found your people?

My friends have shifted since I got here, and I think they’ll continue to shift my whole time here. My core friend group met at the beginning of New Student Days, the first week. It was at this “open the halls” event. Surprisingly, not a lot of people opened their doors, and I was so disappointed. But the people who did open their doors — they are my friends.

Meg Kulikowski’21
March 01, 2022

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