10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Move-In Day

As the start of a fresh, new school year looms near, I can’t help but reflect on what it was like for me starting classes at Iowa State. I kept wondering about what would it be like? Would I make any friends? Am I going to be able to handle the course load? Will I get lost? I bet you are wondering those same things to. To give you a lending hand, I wrote about the 10 things I wish I had known coming into freshman year:

1. You will eventually figure out how to get anywhere on campus
I was terrified that I was going to be late for my first class, so naturally I spent the whole day before the first day of classes mapping out my routes to each class. I was the typical freshman walking around with the map or MyState App praying I didn’t get lost. Two weeks later, I didn’t even need the map. By my second semester, I knew campus like the back of my hand. You will figure it out eventually, too.

2. You will get bored of dining center food, but there are ways to shake it up
I got bored of the dining center food by week three. I loved Seasons, but after eating the same options for 21 days, I needed something different. Luckily, I had friends willing to adventure with me to try out different dining centers and cafes. I quickly discovered Conversations (affectionately known as Convos) and I fell in love. Their late night meal bundles were my favorite! I don’t live on campus anymore, but you will occasionally find me in Convos late at night enjoying a quesadilla or pretzel cheese burger.

3. You will make mistakes and that is OK!
You will walk into the wrong class. You will get locked out of your dorm room. You will forget to do a homework assignment. You will get on the wrong bus. You will make mistakes! You will feel embarrassed, but realize we all have done it! We get it and it happens. Just move on, but learn from it! You’ll never walk into the wrong class again (at least for that semester) and you’ll be a better person because of it (whether you think it or not).

4. We are all here for you
No matter what you need, Iowa State has your back. Any service you may need, Iowa State basically has it. Counseling services, Student Health Center, rec centers, advising, tutoring, and oh, so much more. Not only do you get all of Iowa State’s services, but also the support of the student body. From your CA, to your floor-mates, to your peers, we are all here for you to motivate, support, and have fun with you.

5. Just get involved in a club! Don’t second guess it, just do it!
Your adviser will tell you this, your DIS leader will tell you this, even your CA will tell you this. And just to emphasize how important this is, JOIN A CLUB! With over 800 different clubs on campus, you are going to find at least one that you are excited and passionate about. Not only do they look great on your resume, but you will meet amazing people and have great opportunities to grow as a professional and as a person. A win win!

6. You don’t need to pack all that stuff!
Washing dishes in the dorms is not worth it. Buy disposable plates, silverware, and cups. You don’t need to pack every sweatshirt you own, you will only wear the same three and end up buying two more at the bookstore. You are never going to hang all those lights, pictures, and canvases up. Pick your favorites and stick with those. More will come throughout the year, trust me. Your dorm room is only so big! Really think about what you want and what you need.

7. Frankly, my dear, you will need to be more organized
Your planner will be your life! As one of my freshman friends said, “I didn’t realize that my planner became my best friend! Like, I lost it one day and I nearly cried! That’s how important it is to me!” Whether you were organized in high school or not, you are going to have to step up your planner game. Between classes, clubs, work, a social life, and family, you will have events and deadlines to keep track of. Having a centralized place to keep track of everything is going to be a major key to your success.

8. It is always OK to call home
Don’t know if the blues can be mixed with the purples on laundry day? Call mom. Your car got a flat and you have no idea what to do? Call dad. You have a stuffy nose and not sure what to take to make it go away? Call mom. Got your first A on a paper? Call dad. Had a rough day and just need to vent? Phone home. They are your support system, no matter how close or far they are. I always felt embarrassed to call them when I was walking around campus until I heard others (many others) doing the same. The reality: who cares? Go ahead and call home, even if it’s just to have a nice chat.

9. You are going to change in so many ways
And hopefully towards the better! College is where you really find yourself. With so many new experience and influences around you, you will change! Your sense of style and clothing choices will change as you see other things that catch your eye as people walk across campus. Your interests will start to mature and definitely change from what they were in high school. Your personality may even change as you find new friends and join clubs! Mine sure has! You may gain the freshman 15, you may lose weight. I can’t tell you how exactly you will change because everyone is different but I know I am definitely not the same person I was on move-in day freshman year. I love where I am at today and that really couldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Iowa State.

10. You will have the time of your life
You will make memories and friendships that will last you a lifetime. I was terrified to move away from home to a place I didn’t know and where I knew no one. I can’t tell you how many times I questioned myself on my decision to make the leap from small town South Dakota to a big university in Iowa. Looking back, it was the best decision I have ever made. I have met friends through living in the residence halls, being involved in clubs, and connecting with peers during class that I can’t imagine ever living with out. I have gotten to experience things that I would not have gotten to anywhere else. I’ve gotten to witness Hilton Magic in person and the thrill of a Cyclone touchdown in Jack Trice. I’ve gotten to go on club trips and network with peers and professionals all over the nation and even in other countries. Your time here at Iowa State will be anything but dull. You may question it at times, but I guarantee you, you will have the time of your life.

Do you have anything else you are wondering about? Feel free to reach out and ask! 🙂

See you soon fellow Cyclones!

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