Nancy Cornel was 12 when she encountered her first shark in the water, her worst nightmare. She was swimming in the salty water when she felt its rough skin rub up against her. Images of her becoming the shark’s dinner flashed through her mind. Although Nancy as scared out her mind she knew she had to stay calm. At twelve she had the resolve to calmly swim back to land where most people would probably flip out and die of panic. Maybe it was Nancy’s fear of sharks that brought her from sunny California to blustery cold Iowa.
Nancy’s life in California was full of rich Mexican culture, something very different than Morningside’s campus. When Nancy arrived in Iowa she experienced a massive culture shock, “I was not surrounded around Spanish speaking families, or anything Hispanic like it was back home,” said Nancy. There was a period of adjustment for her coming from a Spanish speaking home to a very white Midwestern college.
Everyone asks Nancy, out of anywhere in the country she could have gone for school, why did she pick to come to Iowa? And really, her first choice was to not leave California, but her visit to Morningside College changed her mind. “I really like the small-town vibe and the class ratio,” said Coronel, and also the good financial aid didn’t hurt either.
Nancy has a personality very unique to her. She’s hard to get to know her, but once you do it’s amazing to be her friend. She’s goofy, crazy, spontaneous, and not afraid to confront any situation- a quality that is very rare among Midwesterners. She’s told stories of getting in fights to protect her family from people’s cruel words, most people know not to mess with this tough So-Cal girl.
One thing that Nancy really doesn’t let on is how homesick she gets. She expresses the difficulty being away from her family during the holidays. Her grandmother taught her how to cook when she was very young, so whenever she does feel homesick she cooks. The flavors of the spicy Mexican food that she grew up on, like Chile Rellenos, Tacos al Pastor, and Tosadas brings her right back to her home in Orange County. Although it is really easy for her to get home sick here “The one thing that reminds me of home is the family vibe of Morningside,” said Nancy.