by Adam

It never hurts to ask: Succeeding your First Year

An incoming Cyclone, Irvin, reached out to us, wondering what we would recommend to have a successful first year here at Iowa State. Awesome question, Irvin! In fact, that’s what I believe will lead you to have a successful first year: remaining curious and open to new opportunities.

When you commence your collegiate career, you’ll find numerous opportunities, decisions, and, hopefully, challenges. One of the greatest things in coming to college is that you need not have a definite plan. In fact, I would argue that it’s better to stay open and adventurous. A freedom from determined-commitment applies to both what you want to study and the actives and organizations you join to enhance your college experience. Now is a beautiful time to investigate and exercise your interests, beliefs, and understanding of who you are.

My mother taught me her mother’s mantra, it never hurts to ask. Embracing this sentiment, I encourage you to take courses that spark your interest (regardless of if they’re “in your major”), dabble in intriguing organizations (and by “dabble” I mean show up get to know fellow students in the organization at least once, don’t merely sign up for the club emails), and explore classes, clubs, and events that you wouldn’t traditionally consider. Especially in doing the latter, you just might discover something, meet someone, or seize and opportunity that you otherwise would have missed.

A case in point (because why should you take this advice without evidence that it works?): over the course of my college career thus far, I’ve swam with the Triathlon Club, attended a Water Ski Club competition, toured myriad fraternities in the Greek Community, took a journalism and mass communication class, raised funds to participate in Dance Marathon, analyzed congressional transcripts on Supreme Court nominees for a political science professor, and showed up to a business club meeting horribly under dressed (my friend and I didn’t realize it was a suit-and-tie gathering and I decided to lounge that day in sweatpants). While I didn’t pursue every one of these opportunities beyond my first interaction, by exploring these different classes and organizations, I learned more about what curriculum and which carriers interest me, the activities I prioritize, and the kind of people with whom I want to spend time.

In addition to embracing the mantra, I implore you to also apply “it never hurts to ask” quite literally. If you have a question, ask! Instead of making assumptions about the requirements of an assignment, commitment to an organization, preference of a roommate, details of an event, or whatever it may be that you’re unsure of, ask! Although at times this may be daunting, the result (an answer to your question or resolution to your hesitation) is worth the fear of inquiring.

We’re excited to welcome you on campus! Conquer your first year with: it never hurts to ask.

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