Joe Biden Visits Drake

So this week, Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, came to Drake University. The occasion was filled with majesty, grandeur, and a thriving political and economic discourse. Okay, so full disclosure: I was not there. But I heard it was great.

Sorry to disappoint everyone as I know you were counting on my firsthand political take and detailed economic analysis of the Vice President’s message. But I do have an excuse as I was in class and at work during VP’s appearance. Ah, yet another example of how the American political system keeps the working class down. Just kidding!…Well, kind of.

The point is that I saw the Vice President’s secret service SUVs, network news crews, and a whole bunch of important people in suits roaming around campus this week, and honestly, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I know that sounds disrespectful, but what I mean is that over my four years at Drake, I’ve gotten to see some pretty important people here on campus and in Des Moines. I’m talking about individuals like Michelle Obama, Jimmy Carter, and, Diane Sawyer hanging out on campus. I met Rashida Jones and Adam Scott and heard Tim Gunn speak. And the night before President Obama got elected for his second term, I went downtown to hear him speak and listen to the Boss play. (That’s Bruce Springsteen, for you youths out there.)

What I’m saying is, we’re kind of a big deal. And though I’m used to the rotating cast of politicians, celebrities, and world leaders rolling through campus, I’m never gonna stop appreciating just how cool it is.

The Beauty of Ignorance

It’s rather unquestioned at this point that college is the source of knowledge. It’s the place one goes to discover themselves through newfound information, and the beacon of intellectual achievement. The college experience is the rare landscape where academic exploration is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. To put it simply: “Girls (and boys) go to college to get more knowledge.”

But contrary to this perception, my college experience at Drake hasn’t been so much the discovery of knowledge, but more so the discovery of ignorance. My ignorance. Because I was a precocious (okay, annoying) kid, I believed if I just completed a checklist of reading materials, I would know it all. I would be educated. It’s taken me maybe my whole educational career to realize that I could read every book in the Western cannon and still have so, so much more to read. No matter how much I learn, there will only be a boatload more that I don’t know. And though I initially saw this ignorance as a hurdle to overcome, as a problem to be fixed, I’ve come to revel in it. The fact is, ignorance can be a beautiful thing.

I’m not saying we should all strive for stupidity or give up learning new things. Actually, quite the opposite. Becoming aware of how much I don’t know is the best thing that could’ve happened to me academically. In my last semester of college, I now know that a checklist of courses isn’t going to complete my knowledge. Thus, I’m free to learn and explore as much as I possibly can. I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me, and perhaps especially ones that emphasize my ignorance and challenge my abilities. So I’m taking classes this semester about African colonialism, Renaissance women, and European nationalism. In short, things I know nothing about. But, I’m learning, I’m working hard. And at the end of the semester, I’ll know a little more than I did before. I’m embracing the ignorance, even as I strive to eradicate it.

Doughnut Tour of Des Moines

This weekend, some of the best athletes in the nation have reached the pinnacle of their profession. After years of training and studying, injury and sacrifice, they’re playing in the Superbowl, the peak of American athleticism. Meanwhile, I too have achieved greatness this weekend. Like my comrades in the NFL, I’ve trained for years, and was able to showcase my skills in the best possible way: A Donut Tour of Des Moines. I know. Pretty impressive, right?

The thing is, I was craving a doughnut, but wasn’t quite sure where to go. So, like any good American, I just decided to eat all the donuts, to experience all that Des Moines had to offer in the field. I grabbed my roommate and we set off on a noble quest for fried dough. We decided to eat one doughnut at each place, and to keep going around the city until either time and/or sickness stopped us. And though we didn’t make it very far, we did experience some great, delicious, and unique doughnuts in the city of Des Moines.

They look pretty good, right?

They look pretty good, right?

Donut Hut

The first stop on our journey was also probably the best. A family-owned shop filled with homemade doughnuts, you really can’t beat the fun, community vibe of the Donut Hut. I had a Cookie Dough Donut and it may have been the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten. Seriously. It was good. The owners were really lovely, friendly people, and just made it an awesome experience. But honestly, even if they were terrible people, it would be worth it for those fresh homemade doughnuts.

Donut King

Our second stop on the grand tour took us to the Donut King. Majestic, right? Despite the royal name, Donut King was actually a really adorable, down-to-earth place. It’s set up like an old school diner with a long bar, swivel stools, and an old-fashioned cash register. Oh, and the doughnuts? They were pretty great too. My red velvet concoction was definitely worth the trip to West Des Moines.

Mahalo Mini Donuts

Our third, and sadly last, stop brought a little fun and diversity to the Des Moines doughnut experience. Not only does Mahalo serve batches of mini donuts, but they have island-inspired flavors and toppings like coconut, blueberry, and s’mores. Through the setting inside Jordan Creek Mall isn’t as charming as the other two shops, the donuts themselves were actually really good and fresh.

By this point, we were pretty full, I’m not going to lie to you. Although we had grand ambitions to survey the entire Des Moines doughnut market, alas, this was not the time. Nonetheless, we found some great new doughnut spots, and got a dose of inspiration for Doughnut Tour II, coming soon.