We shared some FHP students’ reflections on their first weeks as Cyclones here. Our seniors have a lot of feelings too! What is it like for them to start the end of their Cyclone careers?
It is definitely bittersweet being nearly finished at Iowa State. I remember on my first day of Freshman year, I walked into my first class — Calc 3 (at 9am, which I thought was a late start time). I was excited but very overwhelmed about learning calculus in the third dimension. Little did I know the girl I sat next to in that class would become one of my very best friends and my roommate junior and senior year!
This year, six majors later, I headed to my 10am (which I now consider quite early) to learn more about politics and not think about anything even remotely similar to Calc 3. Syllabus week doesn’t include many introductions or fun facts anymore, because in my major we all basically know each other already. While I am excited to graduate, it is bittersweet looking back on how fast the time has gone by!
Abby Mankins, Political Science and Environmental Studies
As a freshman I remember an overwhelming sense of excitement and nervous energy about the opportunities available, classes, making friends, finding a routine, etc. Now as a senior I feel a fair amount of sadness that my college career is coming to a close. Some of it bittersweet as I look back on all the amazing things that have been included in the last four years, and some of it regretful as I think about missed opportunities or situations handled poorly. There’s also the surprisingly large sense of dread as I now try to figure out what I’m going to do with my life, but that is also laced somewhat with that same excitement from four years ago as a new chapter of life begins.
Trace Tuthill, Agricultural Engineering
On my last day of senior year, I still made freshman year mistakes; I went to the wrong building, could not find the right classroom, and waved to someone who I thought I knew but did not. Nevertheless, the first week of school was a great one, especially with sweet friends by my side. I have learned that surrounding myself with people who encourage me to be the best version of myself has been the best way to make the most of my short four years at Iowa State.
Alyssa Dougherty, Dietetics and Global Resource Systems
My last first week was actually full of a lot of firsts because I moved into the residence halls for the first time (Woot Helser Hall!). Being from Ames, I lived at home and off-campus freshman-junior year commuting to campus every morning to save money. I decided to move on to campus with some friends my last year before graduating to get the residence hall experience before that opportunity would be gone. It’s been sweet to wake up and take a run around campus before class, not have a commute to class, and be surrounded by housemates (mostly freshman) who are excited about all the things they’ll do in their four years at Iowa State. Also, the dining centers are lit!
Even with a lot of firsts, it’s been bittersweet. I cherish every time the campanile plays at noon remembering back to the end of my junior year when “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” played and I teared up thinking about all the memories and friendships that will stay with me long past graduation.
I remember my first class freshman year was an 8am Chem 167 lecture in Gilman. It was the huge old lecture hall that was filled with tons of people I didn’t know – it was intimidating. As a freshman, I was so excited to get involved on campus and was overwhelmed by all the possibilities out there. Last week it was fun to come to each class and find so many friends from semesters before to catch up with and it was refreshing to work out schedules with various organizations one more time. In many ways, it felt like coming home. The connections I’ve made and the familiarity to everything at Iowa State is going to make it difficult to say goodbye. I’m so thankful for the adventure at Iowa State that I’ve been given.
Justin Wigdahl, Horticulture
Apparently being a senior doesn’t mean that things go smoothly during the first week. On Monday I forgot to set an alarm, woke up late, and had to rush to campus to make it on time. Then I wandered around Bessey Hall trying to find my second class, looking like a lost freshman. I was late to class a couple times, and managed to fall behind on my to-do list from the start. And of course, while all my classmates only have 12 credits or start class at 11, I have five 8 ams and 19 credits this semester. Am I actually still a freshman?
Hannah Van Roekel, Athletic Training
My last first day of classes came with the daunting but exciting realization that my life is going change drastically in less than a year! I made the conscious decision to tackle my classes this semester with the motto “stress less and enjoy more.” These last two semesters are going to fly by, so why not try to make the most of every minute sitting in lab and lecture? I am so going to miss the people I have met during my time here, but I try not to think about that too much; I still have some time!
Brianna Wilder, Biology
When I first arrived at Iowa State, I was very nervous about my place since I knew no one at this university. Additionally, I had never lived on my own before, so this was a very new experience.
However, after three years at ISU, my first week is very different. I feel very comfortable here now, and I know so many great people! In a typical day, I almost always see people that I know, especially Honors students. It is definitely bittersweet to leave, but I am very thankful for the opportunities that I have received at ISU. It was a great experience overall, and I will treasure it as I move forward to the next phase of my life.
Luke Schoeberle, Computer Engineering and Math
This week I got to experience my 5th (!!) first day of college. I remember freshman year, I was so nervous I walked the route from my dorm to the lecture hall in Sukup for Calc 1, days before so I knew where I was going. I showed up over 15 minutes early on the first day. This year, Monday morning I was so comfortable with campus I started walking to my class and realized I never even checked what building my class was in. I quickly checked my phone and still made it to class on time.
The last first week has brought on so many bittersweet feelings. It feels like just yesterday I was moving in to Helser Hall, but yet I reflect back and realize I have had so many changes and exciting experiences during the last four years. Time really does fly by! I am going to miss so many things about Iowa State, our beautiful campus, football games, run club activities and many more. But, most of all I’m going to miss the people I met while participating in run club, working as a community adviser and studying in Black 1012. The people at Iowa State are truly what make this place feel like home.
Holly Schmitz, Mechanical Engineering
Starting senior year is an exciting time. I remember my first week as a freshman, I met my best friends that have taken me on an amazing journey through the years. It’s sad to know that this is the last year we will all be together but we are living it up to the fullest and soaking in all the fun ISU has to offer. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and will always be a cyclone at heart.
Amanda Heiderscheit, Genetics
My last first day definitely went a lot different than my first one. I have early classes again this semester (ugh) and I set my alarm for 6 so I could wake up and workout before my 9 am. I ended up waking up at 8:49 so I threw on some clothes, my glasses, and a messy bun and got in my car, drove to campus, and made it to English 302H like 2 minutes late. Pretty impressive, right? I also ended up being late to my other class at 11 because I procrastinated and didn’t get my lab books so I had to power walk from Gilman to the MU to get my books and back up to Science 1. Good thing I had to put on a lab coat because I was a sweaty mess when I got there. Looking back, I was much more organized my first day as a freshman, but I was also running late and showing up right on time a lot then too. Some things never change🤷🏽♀️
Katie Tupper, Kinesiology and Health
My first day of freshman year, I was nervous and unsure of myself. I didn’t know if I would get good grades, meet new people, and adjust to college, but after my first day of senior year those fears couldn’t be farther from how my college experience went. My freshman year I would wake up an hour before all my classes, make coffee, shower, brush my teeth and get ready for the day. Now, you’d find me in bed 20 minutes before my classes begin. I can make coffee, brush my teeth, and get dressed in record time to get out the door and arrive 1 to 2 minutes before my classes begin. Now that my classes aren’t filled to the brim with 300 students, I don’t have to journey across a narrow row by toppling over backpacks, coffee cups, legs, and MacBooks to find an open seat. I’ve made memories and friends that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I hope to make more. Stress still comes around with exams, vet school applications, Honors Projects, and everything else that comes with college but this is meant to be the best time of your life. Don’t let stress hold you back from making some of the best memories of your life.
Evan Schwarz, Animal Science
On my first day freshman year, which seems like yesterday, I showed up to my first class 45 minutes early to make sure I got there in time. Total freshman move. On my last first day as a senior, I got a little better and only showed up 15 minutes early. I spent the day catching up with friends and finishing unpacking. I finally moved out of Lorch-Russell and live off campus, which means I have to cook my own meals. Time really flew by, but I can’t wait for what the year has to bring!
Paige Boor, Mechanical Engineering
The first week of my senior year was, like all the others, hectic. The influx of emails began on Monday and requests to sign up to represent clubs became more urgent. As I put my name down on too many Sheets sign-ups, I was a little sad thinking about how this is my last year getting to be a student handing out flyers and answering questions for incoming students. That’s what I’ve loved about Iowa State but what I’m thankful for: becoming a person who enjoys outreach and helping others. Because of all my clubs and leadership roles, I was able to realize that I don’t want to sit behind a desk for my entire life. I want to help others and act as a resource.
My very first day of freshman year, I dropped my phone outside of Parks Library and it shattered. My very first day. Despite starting poorly, I made it through that week. And that semester. And the whole year! And now I’m a senior, with worse things having happened than a shattered phone, preparing to graduate with two degrees (with Honors!) and go on to graduate school. Don’t let a bad first day or week stop you from succeeding – push harder and farther until you get that medal.
Emily Hammer, Management and Marketing
The biggest difference between my first day of classes as a Cyclone and my last first day of classes was nerves. I don’t remember my very first class freshman year, but I do remember breaking down into tears after my first Spanish class that week – and this time, I started the week by meeting with my current Spanish professor about contracting his course for Honors instead. Having been here for four years now, I’m pretty comfortable with where everything is on campus, what I need to do to prepare for my classes, and where to get my daily 3-5 cups of coffee (a back-to-school necessity). Fifth time might be the charm when it comes to a low-stress start to the semester!
Ellie Conrad, Global Resource Systems and Agriculture & Society
I graduate in less than 250 days and I’m still not sure about my majors, but I also don’t know what I would change to. If the adults are right, it won’t really matter anyway.
I didn’t have senioritis that much in high school, but the first week of senior year made it very clear to me that I am going to get absolutely plowed by college senioritis. Only when it comes to homework though, because I already pre-miss everything else about ISU and Ames.
Being a senior is great because there are a bajillion people I adore or am awkward acquaintances with walking around on campus and I love running into a lot of people I know as I’m walking from class to class. That is a huge change from freshman year when I didn’t know anyone and my ratio of eating alone to eating with people was roughly 7:1. I’ll miss Iowa State for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is definitely the people.
Hannah Sams, Marketing and Management
After a semester studying “abroad” in Wyoming, I’m excited to end my 9-month sabbatical and finish the final lap as a Cyclone! Despite 15 “first days” already, the feeling of not knowing “how-to student” persists, and I spend the first week or so every fall overcoming my chronic imposter syndrome. By the second week, I usually find a comfortable stride of class, work, and self-care, but it’s always a struggle finding the train tracks right off the bat.
Some feelings never change: fear manifested in physical form in the syllabi of a few classes (and/or their professors), the moistness that forms when you fast-walk across campus, and the goosebumps rising on my arms hearing the band rehearse for game day.
If I had the opportunity to find freshman-year-me around campus, I’d affirm him that all the stresses of the first week are valid (as they are every week), but never stop trying to take it all in: the good, the bad, the copious amounts of free food on campus. Remember that you get to choose your adventure each and every day at ISU.
Blake Lineweaver, Agronomy and International Agriculture
My first few weeks of classes as a freshman were littered with uncertainty. All I wanted to do was be prepared, but you learn to roll with the punches. I wanted to be as involved as possible, so I started signing-up for around 8 different clubs; however, you eventually fall into a few clubs where you feel the most comfortable and have the most fun. Now, my first week may not have lots of homework, but my leadership positions have kept me plenty busy. My schedule has definitely gotten much more cluttered since Freshman year. Do not take it for granted! I have finally started to understand time management after 3 years, which is an essential skill in college. I am going to miss the friendships I made with my classmates because I was able to see some of the same people in my Civil Engineering classes everyday. Pretty soon that won’t happen anymore… Make the most out of the time here and create last memories because I know I am going to miss it when they force me to leave this wonderful place.
Sam Schreck, Civil Engineering
Now that my last first week of undergrad is over, it’s crazy to look back and think about how much has changed since by first first week 4 years ago. The first week of my freshman year I got to my classes 30 minutes early, walked around campus while constantly checking the MyState app’s map for where I was going, never wanted to eat lunch alone, had no idea what clubs to join, and consistently got lost in the basement of Gilman every week for Chemistry recitation. Now as a senior, I get to class just in time to sit down, know where the buildings are or can figure it out from a glance at the map as I’m on my way to campus, don’t mind eating alone at all (sometimes it’s nice to just relax for a bit), and joined a handful of awesome clubs. While a lot has changed, I do think I will forever be destined to get lost in the basement of Gilman whenever I have to go down there!
As my time at Iowa State is coming to an end, I know that I will be experiencing a lot of last firsts and will be reminiscing on all the wonderful things that have happened during my time here. The years have really flown by, but I am so thankful for all of the incredible people I’ve met and memories I’ve gotten to make. I can’t wait to make many more during my last semester!
Courtney Smyth, Mechanical Engineering
The start of my senior year is exciting! My classes are all great (so far) and I have a few cool projects going this semester. It’s funny to think about my first week where I was a little chem major excited to work in a lab by myself avoiding people at all costs as I have a new found passion for (human) population studies. I started my week google mapping my classes and relearning the bus system (some things never change- in my defense I’m in a new section of campus every semester). I’m going to miss running into everyone at the library or at my favorite coffee shops!
Sara Ronnkvist, Statistics
I remember my first college course very vividly: HIST 221 in the Molecular Biology auditorium. I was 30 minutes early to class, had my textbooks, and was eager to learn. I think I wrote down every word my professor said that day.
Fast forward to senior year, I was definitely eager to learn on Monday morning but was neither early nor prepared considering I didn’t have any textbooks or even notebooks until later this week. I am a little sad that my time at this wonderful university will be coming to an end come May but am thankful for the people I have met and the knowledge I have gained over the past few years.
Emma Chizek, Supply Chain Management and International Business
My first day of senior year was the best first day of class I think I have had. I decided I wanted to try something, new so I went to kick boxing class in the morning. I then got to see all of my friends that I had made in animal science and get to share the feeling of relief for submitting my veterinary school application. The whole semester is going to be a waiting game of finding out what is going to happen next year. It is so surreal to me that I have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian my entire life and this was my first last day of undergrad before I get to hopefully move on to my last stretch of schooling. My advice for freshman would be to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can. You don’t believe it when people tell you college is going to go fast until you are a senior and you realize it didn’t just go fast, it flew by before your eyes.
Allison Wallace, Animal Science
I was a transfer student to Iowa State so my first week of my first semester was not my first rodeo. I had taken a year off from school in order to complete my Initial Entry Training for the Army and I was going from going to school in North Dakota back to my home state in Iowa. Coming to Iowa State, I only knew a handful of other people in the area. I was nervous about making new friends and finding a community to belong to. Over the last three years I’ve developed strong and lasting relationships with many of my peers, and have found a home with them: my brothers and sisters in arms in the ROTC program; within my field of study, computer science; and through the many extracurricular activities offered at Iowa State. As I start my last semester I find myself in a position not all that different from when I started. A large portion of my friends have spread across the country as they explore the next adventure in their lives, and there are few left here in Ames. Instead of being nervous as I was on my first day here in Ames, I am excited for the opportunity to develop new friendships over my last semester. Your adventure here at Iowa State is up to you to control, and the finish is just as important as the start.
Calvin Kranig, Computer Science
My last first day of college was pretty different from freshman year! This year my first and only class on Monday is at 2:10pm. I didn’t read the syllabus, buy textbooks or run around walking my schedule and finding my exact classroom the day before. I casually rolled up a few minutes before class started, sweating significantly less than I would have been 3 years ago. So, overall, I would say I have grown!
Jess Hayes, Management
I gotta say, it’s really weird to think that graduation is right around the corner. Seems like my time on Starbuck was just the other day! I’m really thankful that I’ve had the chance to take advantage of so many opportunities here. From off-road racing with the SAE Baja team out in California to going overseas to study at TU Delft in the Netherlands, I’ve really gotten to do it all and I have no idea how I managed to fit it all in!
One of my favorite memories from early freshman year comes from the end of Destination Iowa State. After an awesome weekend of running around campus and getting to know my DIS group, my team managed to get front row seats to the hypnotist. I didn’t know it would happen at the time but that same group would become some of my best friends in college! As we waited for the hypnotist to begin, music was playing over Hilton’s sound system and my group was developing a strategy to get one of our members hypnotised. All of a sudden, our DIS leader, David, sprung up and began dancing as we all cheered him on. This earned him the nickname “Dancemaster David”, and every year since then my DIS group and I have fielded an intramural curling team named “Dancemaster David’s Super Duper Curling Crew” in his honor. Now that all of us have either graduated or are about to I suppose this will be the last curling crew, but I don’t think any of my group will ever forget our time in DIS or curling!
Sam Vande Loo, Mechanical Engineering
Looking back on my first year at Iowa State, I like to think not much has changed but in reality I’ve learned so much! From learning how to wake up with JUST enough time to make it to class to neutering a cat for the first time at my senior internship, I have loved being a student so much, I decided to do four more years! I will be applying to vet school for fall of 2020 and can’t wait for my last undergraduate semesters as a cyclone!
Megan Conry, Animal Science
Going to my last first day of class felt a bit like remembering how to ride a bike. I was definitely a lot less nervous than on my first day, and I got lost way fewer times. However, I did have a class this semester in a building I had never been to before, so I guess you’re never done learning!
My very first college class my freshman year was in a learning community with a bunch of other industrial engineers. My first class of my “last first day” this year was with almost all those same people. We’re older, wiser, and we never have to take another calc class again. I feel bonded with these people as we’ve supported each other through our degree, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.
I’m excited to finish my degree and look towards the future. I have had so many amazing opportunities through Iowa State that I am so grateful for, and now I’m just looking forward to enjoying many more “lasts” with all the people I’ve met since my first day.
Jaclyn Stiller, Industrial Engineering
As a homeschooled student, the first day of school has never been a big deal for me. Except the First Day of College: after my parents left, I sat on my desk chair, under the sloping roof of Harwood House, by myself, and wondered how I was going to tackle this huge scary adventure called College. Since then, I have followed my dreams, made inseparable friends, and failed a time or twenty. Looking back at my 2020 Resume from FHP, baby-freshman-me had a few things right: I really did edit engineering papers, learn CSS, and stick with Tech Comm, Design, and Com Sci. I didn’t photograph the Fashion Show or become a CA, but (even better) I launched a rocket at NASA and landed an internship at Workiva. And I found a home at Iowa State.
Four years later, on the Last First Day, I’m wondering how to tackle the huge scary adventure called Adult Life. Engaged to my best friend and co-Harwood-alum, praying for a full-time job offer, and planning the rest of my life – I’ve come so far and moved so fast that my emotions are still catching up. I don’t want to think about saying goodbye. So, I’m going to enjoy my last semester to the fullest! Thank you, ISU and Honors, for being the best time of my life so far!
Sarah Kreutner, Technical Communication