20 Things I’ve Learned From My Time Here at Iowa State

I sat down with a friend recently to catch up and we started to reminisce about freshman year. It made me realize how many things I’ve learned over my time at Iowa State and how much I have changed. So here are just 20 things I’ve learned since coming to Iowa State.

1. CyRide, CyRide, CyRide
I’ve learned that is truly a blessing on those freezing cold winter days. I’ve also learned to accept the fact that I will never learn all the routes or any other route besides Orange 23.

2. Professors are you best friend
In the beginning of freshman year, I was too petrified to even go talk to a professor. They were somewhat intimidating and as a freshman, I decided communication through email was safest. I finally bit the bullet and went to talk to one of my professors about studying for an exam because I was completely clueless. Getting to talk with them about the class, my goals for the class and the future, and a bit about themselves really made the class more personal. Professors can really help you better understand a concept or even become a mentor for future endeavors. So don’t be afraid to talk to them, they are there to help!

3. The best time to eat when in a hurry at the MU or dining centers is at the oddest times
I learned this one right away freshman year, but if you want to eat within a certain amount of time or even find a table, you have to eat at odd times. Right when the dining center opens or in the middle of the hour while everyone is at class are the two best times. If you are in a hurry, choose these times. If you are not in a hurry, feel free to eat whenever you please!

4. It’s ok to eat alone in the dining center, in fact, it’s almost better
Not having to worry about finding a time when someone else can eat or finding enough time to eat was more relieving than one could imagine. I was able to get in and out between classes and not have to worry about finding a big table or scarfing down food as fast as I could between conversation.

5. The friends you made freshman year won’t necessarily be your friends by the time you graduate
I’ve already witnessed this. There is a handful of friends that I had freshman year from classes and clubs that I rarely talk to anymore. People change, get busy, transfer, graduate, it’s all just part of college and that’s ok. You will find people that will be a more permanent fixture in your life. I’ve also made many new friends since freshman year, and some of them I can’t imagine my life without.

6. Join a club that really interests you
I can’t stress this enough. Joining a club provides so much more than just an extra activity to put on your resume. It opens you up to new experiences and opportunities. Through clubs, I’ve gotten to go on trips where I’ve learned new things and met professionals in my field of study. It was even on a club trip that it finally came to me what I wanted to do in the future. I have met many friends through clubs and had many wonderful opportunities.

7. Find something that you are really passionate about
This could be an activity, a hobby, or just about anything. What ever it is, just go out and do it. Having something that you enjoy and look forward to doing breaks up the tediousness of classes and coursework. It doesn’t even have to be related to your major. I absolutely love educating the public about agriculture and whenever I have a chance to help with an education event, I’m there. I’m also really passionate about Food at First, which is a food pantry and free meal program right here in Ames. It’s a wonderful experience and you always leave full and happy.

8. Find that study spot that clicks and don’t let go
I found my magic study spot where I can get tons of homework and studying done in good time. (No, I’m not sharing!) When you find that spot, treasure it. It makes life easier when you can get work done without being distracted or looking up and realizing you only got two problems done in two hours.

9. Please, take a fun class that isn’t required for your major or minor
I finally took a fun class instead of fitting in one more required class. A friend convinced me to take a social dance class and I love it! I’ve met tons of fun people and get to laugh and have fun two hours a week for a grade! So find that fun class that has interested you. Bowling, ice skating, film appreciation, whatever it may be, just add it to your schedule!

10. Giving back always makes you feel better
I’ve done a lot of volunteer work since coming to Iowa State and I think that’s only one reason why Iowa State is so great. There are so many ways to give back to the community such as CyServe Day and many more opportunities all around Ames and the surrounding communities. Volunteering does way more for you than just adding something to your resume. It gives you boost and that amazing “feel good” feeling. You can learn many skills through volunteering that can benefit you for a life time!

11. You are an individual
In high school, it’s easy to want to be like everyone else and just blend in and be accepted. When you get to college, you can just be you. Find out who you want to be, form your own opinions, make your own decisions. It’s terrifying and liberating at the same time. Who cares if that person gives you a weird look because you look like you just rolled out of bed to get to class (to be honest you probably did) and who cares that someone disagrees with your opinion on that one topic. It’s all part of life and being an individual. Don’t let things like that get to you or affect you unless you want them to. The only one who decides who you are is you.

12. All it takes is five seconds of insane courage
In these past three years, I have put myself out there for so many different experiences than I’ve ever done in my life. I’m a naturally shy person and walking into new situations is absolutely terrifying at times. But all it takes is those five seconds of being strong and fearless and walking into that room at the first club meeting or talking to that person who could someday be your best friend. So many things have come and can come out of those quick and insane five seconds.

13.  Relationships take effort and balance
Whether it’s romantic or friendly, relationships take time and effort. I’m the type of person to fall off the face of the earth from time to time. I get busy with classes and clubs and don’t have the time to respond to texts or meet up for catch ups or lunch dates. I’ve learned to better communicate with friends that, “this week is just crazy, we can talk more next week!” Also, I’ve learned to balance out relationships. You can’t always do something or ask for something. You need to take turns and not be too “pushy”. When one friend drives to an event, you offer to drive to the next. If a friend helps you out in a class, show thanks by maybe baking them some monster cookies.

14. It’s always ok to have some me time
There will be a time where you get to the point of just wanting to be alone and relax for a bit, and that is ok! Being around people all day and trying to balance a social life with course work and possibly a job and extracurriculars is exhausting! Take some time out of your hectic life to just relax and recharge. Watch a movie, go for a run, get your nails done, treat yourself to some goodies, just go do something you enjoy and that recharges you.

15. There’s no other feeling like being in the crowd at a football or basketball game
The adrenaline, the camaraderie, the excitement, the school spirit, it all just seems to surreal in the moment. There is nothing like cheering on our team with your fellow Cyclones. Jack Trice is impressive all in itself and we all know that Hilton Magic is real. There are some people that go their whole time here at Iowa State with out attending at least one game. Please, PLEASE, go to at least one! You’ll have the time of your life and you won’t regret it!

16. Never turn down anything free
Free swag, free food, coupons, what ever it may be, don’t turn it down. Stuff that you get for free is always better than something you buy. So go ahead, like that page on Facebook, text that phrase to that specific number, stand in line, and enjoy the freeness.

17. It’s always ok to call home
There are just some days and situations where you need to call mom or dad. When you’re sick and need some comfort, when something broke and you don’t know how to fix it, or you just need a pick me up are all very solid reasons. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who gets you that you can work out frustrations with. And admit it, you always feel better when you hang up the phone.

18. Living in a learning community freshman year was the best decision of my life
If you are a regular follower of my posts, you will know how much I LOVED my learning community and how much I recommend being a part of one. They made the transition to college so much easier! All of us being in the same major and yet living “together” made classes and homework a breeze and kept life interesting.

19. The best cure for sickness is soup, sleep, and a phone call to mom
Most of the time your body has just been completely worn down and just needs to reenergize. Don’t push yourself to hard by going to class. Email your professor and they usually understand if you miss a required attendance or exam (p.s. a doctor’s note really helps!). Also, mom knows the cure to everything. Don’t google your symptoms cause who knows what you’ll find. Save yourself 10 minutes and just call mom.

20. There are some things more important than working on course work
So your friends want to go out for half priced appetizers? Go. Some floormates want to go to AfterDark? Go. A club you’re in is going on a weekend trip. GO. Sacrificing a few minutes, hours, a day or two of course work to make some amazing memories is worth the trade. Don’t do this all the time! Still dedicate time to your studies, but if it means that your lab report gets done on Friday instead of Thursday, go for it.

These just barely skim the surface of everything I’ve learned here at Iowa State. There is so much more I could share like how central campus is the best place to be on a sunny day or how a study buddy always makes a course easier but if I continued, this list would go on and on. So with that, see ya later Cyclones!

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