Finally Through the Finish Line – Wow!

Time flies. After what it feels forever, my adventure at Iowa State has come to an end. I’m still speechless.

How do I feel, you ask? Let the picture below describe all the mixed feelings.

It feels both like yesterday and forever ago that I came to Iowa State as a clueless, terrified freshman yet eager to learn, meet friends and make a difference.

If you have followed me throughout the years, you’ll realize I have conquered my mission to get the most out of my undergraduate time with some of the best people I’ll ever meet. I learned how to be the best version of myself and to overcome all challenges coming my way with the help and support of the extended family I made here.

It almost feels like yesterday when I got ready to walk the stage(s). Firstly, I went to my college (Computer Electrical and Software Engineering) reception in the morning, where I saw lots of familiar faces. Now, if you are like me and happen to not have a plan at the moment, you could say that you are “keeping your options open” and cause the occasional laughter. It’s okay, though – I’m certainly excited for whatever comes next. Moreover, the university commencement was held at Jack Trice with over 5,000 graduating Cyclones, where we were seated by our respective colleges. I was blown away and happy for everyone in that stadium, and it was a privilege to receive my diploma cover by such an influential mind.

Now, if you are a Cyclone still at school or are about to become one, I would love to leave you with some of the most valuable lessons I have learned through all these years.

Appreciate your on-campus involvement to the fullest. It is where you’ll learn the most about how you function as a leader. You will eventually find your home in one or more student organizations that will help you develop your personal skills as well as help you apply your in-class knowledge.

Study groups are important. Finding those random people at the beginning of the semester could change the outcome of many, many stressful nights. Don’t be afraid to reach out – the worst you can get is a no, but you could be talking to people who want to succeed in the class as you do.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. Oh, the amount of troubles that can be avoided if you directly come with any issues to them first. Somehow, professors seem intimidating, but once you spend an office hour chatting – either about your class development, or any other problems – you will realize that they can and want to help you succeed.

Be open to any kind of opportunities. Most of them come from student involvement, but there are also the opportunities that seek you – they will all provide you with much necessary experience for the future. Don’t be afraid to try new things, it is the time to do it!

Embrace every relationship. Professional relationships, friendships, bad relationships, etc. – everyone you meet during your college years will play a very specific role in your personal growth. Each of them, even if very small, will teach you a lesson. Welcome them.

Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask. Of course, the worst answer you can get is a “no” but I have learned a very valuable lesson regarding this: what is the cost of not doing something? What is the cost of not asking for more? What is the cost of not asking for clarification? What is the cost of not asking for help? These are things that really make you value the chance to speak up. Additionally, you aren’t left with the nail-biting “what if.”

Be thankful and appreciative. “Thank you” have been some of the words that have plagued my vocabulary, but it is hard to not thank others. I wouldn’t have completed this adventure without the help of so many people. My college experience wouldn’t have been the same without the people I met. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all the obstacles I overcame – yes, be thankful for the difficult times as well. Let people know the impact they have had in your life, appreciation goes long ways. Really, thank you if you have been a part of mine.

Time really does fly. The real world approaches, and these are the perfect years to get ready for them. Make memories, embrace the stressful times you’ll overcome towards fulfilling your dreams. Get the most out of your years as a Cyclone and college student – I certainly enjoyed my adventure at Iowa State and “caught” a degree in the process. I cannot thank you enough, Iowa State.

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