Nine Misconceptions About BIG

Post by Senior, London VanHorbeck

Today we’ll be looking at 9 misconceptions that traditional students have about Iowa BIG. Why 9? Because I’m efficient.

1.) “Do you have real adults helping?”

Yes, everything at Iowa BIG is motivated, support, or funded by a real corporation, nonprofit, or government department.

2) “You don’t actually do any real work.”/ “You just do whatever you want.”

We do tend to get to do whatever we want, but what we want is more often than not a viable project. A student wants to be involved in something like Humans of New York? Let’s start the Humans of CR project!

3) “Iowa BIG is for super smart/rich/white kids”

This one’s a struggle, because while we do have people who fit these labels, we also have a lot that don’t. The problem with this misconception is that people think it’s only these people, when that’s not what anyone wants. There is no outright restriction, there may be a perceived social restriction. The thing is, anyone can succeed in BIG, no matter what status they have in life.  

4) “BIG kids don’t/can’t do sports”

Curling. We have tee-shirts.

We also have tons of student athletes that manage their projects and sports.

5) “BIG is only for people interested in business”

There are business projects. There are art projects. There are science projects. There’s this project, Newsroom (wink wink writing blogs), that isn’t really a business at all.

6) “Kids don’t take it seriously”

I have to outright say no to this one. Students may not take some projects seriously, which is more of an individual problem, and maybe a problem of students not knowing each other’s projects. But every student has to take at least one project at BIG seriously, otherwise they wouldn’t be here.

7) “It’s geared towards more creative people”

The traditionally “creative” people come up with projects, they bring a brilliant and out there idea to BIG that other people can draw inspiration from. Less creative people are needed just as much, along with people who just don’t have an idea. People who can’t make art can still appreciate art, and can support artists by helping them with the skills they don’t have.

Every student brings something extraordinary to their projects, every skill can be useful in one way or another. So you don’t have to be creative to ‘make it’ at BIG, you just have to be willing to apply whatever skills you have.

8) “Only a small percentage of kids do what they need to do and make it valuable. ”

This statement is flip-flopped. Whether or not a student is actively working on something, BIG can be valuable. It teaches students what they’re really interested in, and how much of the not interesting stuff they’re willing to go through to get to the fun part. And that much is still valuable.

9) “Fake School”

Iowa BIG is real. It has a website.