10 Things You Must Know as a Freshman at Iowa State

by Stephen Todey

1. Go to class. Most likely, for the first time in your life, this is the most freedom you have ever had. You can, more or less, do what you want. Just be sure to remember why you are here. At the end of the day, you’re paying thousands and thousands of dollars to take class. Don’t waste your money by skipping class.

2. Don’t wear your DIS stuff around campus. This is absolute truth. Wearing that red cinch bag you got at DIS, the lanyard or the white t-shirt screams “I AM A FRESHMAN.” Trust me, you don’t want that.

3. Eat at Convos (Conversations) for breakfast (or really any meal). While this is a point of contention with some, Convos is by far the best dining center on campus, and really in all of existence. They have a full coffee bar, awesome breakfast food you can get “to go”, crepe day, falafel, breadbowls, and loads of other food that is better than Seasons or UDCC. They even have Blue Bunny Ice Cream, which everyone knows is better than soft serve. (DISCLAIMER: I haven’t actually eaten in Convos for something like 2 years (or any dining center for that matter), so everything I just said may be entirely wrong.)

4. Go to SI (Supplemental Instruction). Not sure how you’re going to do in Physics, Calculus or Chemistry or a whole bunch of other courses? Well you’re in luck! Iowa State offers free help sessions called SI where an upper classmen who has done well in the class (and is attending one of the lectures of the class) offers a review sessions 2-3 times a week. A full list of courses is here https://apps-dso.sws.iastate.edu/si/.

5. Know where you’re going. There are campus maps online, including maps of building with room locations. If you haven’t found all your classes yet and don’t know they all are, be sure to look it up *before* you leave for class. Not much is worse than walking in late super sweaty to the first day of class because you got lost and had to sprint across campus because you mixed up Coover and Carver.

6. Study in Jischke. First, there is air conditioning in there. So that is awesome. But more importantly, tons of Honors students study in there, so if you need help with something, there’s a good chance someone in there is either going to know how to help or will be able to tell you where to get help. And if you’re into friends and all that, you can probably make some in Jischke as well.

7. Get involved. This is one of the most important ones. Joining a club, intramural sports team, academic group or whatever you choose to get involved in will give you something else to do. While classes are great and all, no one wants to only spend time studying. You need to take breaks for your sanity, and getting involved in something can really help. Also, there are other side effects like new friends, academic benefits and resume/job benefits. Really you can’t go wrong getting involved.

8. Get enough sleep. You’re going to have way more to do than you’ve ever had to do before. You’re going to start hanging out with your new friends way later than ever before. There is about a 100 billion percent chance you’re going to get sick by the end of the semester. Don’t make it worse by not sleeping. You don’t want to be falling asleep in class because you stayed up until 4am the night before playing Madden 15.

9. Talk to your professors. Having trouble with a class? Talk to your professor. While they may seem to be scary people with superhuman intelligence, many of them love teaching and genuinely want you to do well. I have never had a professor refuse to meet with me to talk about the class. Additionally, it’s never too early to start thinking about internships, summer jobs or research opportunities, and professors can be a great resource.

10. Don’t eat everything in the dining center. There is a lot of food to try in the dining center, and a lot of it is extremely high in calories. The whole “Freshman 15” is unfortunately sort of a thing for a lot of people. Eating a bunch of fries, desserts, burgers, chicken strips and pizza is not going to help you out. Just be cognizant of how much you are eating.


Lastly, have fun. While you are here to learn, classes are not the only thing to do at Iowa State, and they should not be the only thing you do. Remember to enjoy your time at Iowa State!


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