Wrapping Up My ISU Adventure

I came to Iowa State in August of 2016. I was nervous, anxious but also excited to start this new part of my early adult life. I started as a design major, then an advertising major and then settled on journalism and mass communication.

I started out at the Willow residence hall with a roommate that I got matched up with through Iowa State. She and I got along great, and we are still friends to this day! I also started working at ISU Dining, specifically at Seasons Marketplace, which helped me make new friends right from the start of college!

At the beginning, it was hard to make friends. I had a tight-knit group of friends in high school, so starting over was a big challenge for me. I spent much of the first semester eating alone, studying alone and spending time alone as I tried to figure everything out. And honestly, I see it as a very rewarding experience. I became comfortable in myself, and I made more friends naturally as time passed. I also got a second job at the end of my freshman year as a writer!

To anyone who is worried about making new friends, I promise you that it will be okay as long as you are patient and kind to yourself! You never know what will happen in life, so having an open and positive attitude will make a world of a difference. 

The most important takeaway from my freshman year at Iowa State: You need to learn how to step out of your comfort zone, and also how to be comfortable with yourself.

Summer, 2017.

My sophomore year was when I really got used to being a university student. By that point I had moved into my first apartment, gotten a handle of how assignments and projects work in college and knew my way around the Iowa State campus.

I started getting involved in student organizations, which I think every college student should do (or any sort of organization/group for that matter). They helped me feel like I had a family here in Ames, and being involved in community-based work is always empowering. 

It was also during this year that I finally learned the importance of time management. Balancing classes, homework, group projects, a job, social life, student organization work, family commitments, relationships, personal time and sleep is a struggle! I quickly became a huge fan of Google Calendar and creating lists.

By the second semester of sophomore year, I had finished most of my general education courses and began to move into upper-level journalism classes. At the end of the year, I landed my first internship!

My biggest lesson learned in my sophomore year: Learn how to manage your time. Life comes at you fast. Learn how to embrace new opportunities while remembering your own responsibilities and try to look at everything as a learning experience.

IMPAACT retreat, April 2018.

Junior year was my biggest year for personal growth. There were a lot of ups, but there were also a lot of downs. I took on a lot of leadership positions, and quite frankly, I took on more tasks than I could handle. I wore myself out quickly and experienced true burnout.

I think a lot of college students and young adults, in general, are eventually going to reach the point of burnout. It sucks! If or when it happens, remember to be kind to yourself and take a look at the ways that you can prevent it from happening again. I think it is extremely important to create a safe space for yourself with people you can talk to as well as carving out time for yourself every day. Find something that you enjoy doing that is just for you, whether it’s reading a book or playing a video game or watching a show or learning something new… literally anything!

The most important lesson I learned from my junior year: Put your own wellbeing first and learn to say no. Don’t take on more than you can because not only is that harmful to you, but it also causes issues to the people around you.

Thanksgiving potluck, November 2018. 

My senior year, which was also my fourth and final year, was a year for career development. I decided to focus my time on more intense journalism classes, polishing up my portfolio and getting ready for the next chapter of my life. Investing in myself was an important decision that I had to make, but I’m glad I did. 

Of course, things changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and universities switching to online learning only in the second semester. It has been difficult, but I have been trying to stay as positive as I can. 

I’ve learned so much during my time at Iowa State, about the world, about others and about myself. Aside from my education, I met so many new people who are very different from me and got to experience so much. You’ll never run out of things to do or learn, really. 

The biggest lesson I learned in my senior year: You are only at the beginning of your journey, and there is so much more to come. And it is all exciting!

And just like that, I will graduate and be on the next part of my adventure.

Liberty and Justice Dinner, 2019.

Good luck.

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