*Last* First Days As A Cyclone

We featured first year students’ reflections on their first weeks as Cyclones here and here.  Now it’s time to hear from our seniors…what is it like for them to start the end of their Cyclone careers?


Honors is one of the best communities I could have gotten involved with on campus. As an FHP student, I remember being incredibly excited and simultaneously terrified to begin my college journey. But that’s always the hardest part for me (and for many students, I believe)—just getting started. Once I dove in, I’ve never regretted any of it. Each new year presents its own challenges, but I have found that the previous year has prepared me exceptionally well for what I am about to face, and Honors has a lot to do with that. Not only did I meet amazing people, work with incredible professors, and take some really interesting classes, but was also able to combine many things I love into one final project thanks to Honors. After graduation, I will embark on another new beginning by entering the work force, which is just as scary as being an undergraduate freshman. But I know I’m ready because my years as a Cyclone have been educational, productive, fruitful, and fulfilling. I will cherish the people, the places, the moments of inspiration I encountered on this beautiful campus, and I will always and forever bleed red and gold.

Annamarie B.,
English (with minors in Technical Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication, and Performing Arts)


BelleganteComparison photos: Annamarie’s student ID picture taken as a freshman and an employee photo taken this summer at an internship


So my first last week as a Cyclone, I was actually a Mountain Lion! I’m on National Student Exchange at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs! I must say, stepping onto campus for the first time felt like I was a freshman again. Luckily, because I’m a senior, my class sizes have shrank considerably, and I was able to avoid the blunders of freshman year such as walking in late or carrying a map around campus. I already miss how easy it is to get around in Ames. In Colorado Springs, I commute about an hour every day! I definitely take our public transport for granted. I miss my friends a little too, but the people in Colorado are friendly and are interested in my story.
In addition to school this week, I climbed my first ever mountain. The top of Pike’s Peak is gorgeous! It is at an altitude of 14, 110 ft. and took myself and a friend 6.5 hours to climb. I also ran in one of the biggest running clubs in the nation, and sampled several different Colorado microbrews.

Samantha S.,

Stearns 1Samantha at the summit

Stearns 2The view from the top!


I recall my first few weeks at Iowa State mildly – I came from San Diego, knowing not a single soul, having visited the state of Iowa a single time, etc. – but I remember the rush of adrenaline that fueled me making lots of friends, attending class, enjoying open spaces that are not existent where I grew up (yes, I do enjoy the openness of corn fields). This final year started out strikingly and astonishingly dissimilar. I finished my summer internship the Friday before classes began, and was I behind on preparing for the upcoming semester (which is still a work-in-progress the second week in). As a senior, I feel confident in the fact that I did and am doing better in all aspects of academics and extra-/co-curriculars in college than in high school; my GPA is far greater after barely making the cutoff to get into FHP, I have had many interesting and enjoyable teaching and research experiences that will hopefully have prepared and destined me for graduate school, involved in many leadership roles (HSB Intramural Chair, Micro Club ASM and VEISHEA co-Chair, CALS Student Council Micro Club co-Representative, Iowa State Bacon Expo Entertainment Chair, both Genetics and Microbiology peer mentors). My family is still confused, but all is well. Many thanks to the Cyclones.

Garrett S.,


My last “first week” has been bittersweet. Iowa State has been my home for the past 3 1/2 years, so it is sad for me to see this adventure coming to an end. I am also very excited to move forward in the next chapter of my life, but I’ve really enjoyed getting to reconnect with all of my friends at school in this first week back. Probably the biggest change from my first week of class as a freshman to my first week of class as a senior is how many people I know. Over the course of my education I have been fortunate to build awesome relationships with students and faculty. When I was a freshman, I walked into my first classes very timidly because I didn’t know anyone. Now, as I walk into class, my professors, who know me on a personal level, ask me how my internship this summer went. My fellow classmates, who are now my friends, want to hear all about my summer adventures. After I graduate, I am going to miss my daily interactions with all of these amazing people the most.
On a side note, I checked an item off my Iowa State bucket list when I met Fred Hoiberg in my last first week!

Amy S.,
Apparel, Merchandising, and Design



My last first week was crazy! It is difficult to believe that I have been at ISU for 3+ years already. Other than still loving my favorite spot on campus and maintaining relationships with a few of the same friends not much has remained static since arriving to college. I have a new major, new post-graduation plans, and new perceptions of the world. Though all these changes are positive, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed with these dynamic years. I am looking forward to this year though, and I am sure more change will be coming my way!

Sarah V.,
Animal Ecology

Van TolSarah’s favorite spot on campus

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