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?
Starting my last semester at Iowa State has me reflecting back on my previous years here, all the way back to my freshman year. I remember my very first class on my very first day at Iowa State…because I went to the wrong classroom! Not only that, I sat through the entire 50 minute lecture, as I thought it was too late to leave once I realized my mistake. Over the semesters, I have a lot more confidence, and am proud to say I have never sat through the wrong lecture since!
Sierra Lucht, Computer Engineering
My “last first day” of school was wonderful! I went for a run around our beautiful campus, grabbed a coffee at the Memorial Union and then headed to class. I loved the first day of courses, especially my Honors Seminar, Global Borders and You. It feels like yesterday that I walked to my first class at Iowa State, Journalism and Mass Communication 101. I was nervous on my first day, but my professor was kind and welcoming to us during class. Now, I am so excited to be a senior, but it is also bittersweet. ISU has shaped me into a stronger leader and a more compassionate individual. I am challenged each day by Iowa State’s faculty, staff and students to become a better version of myself than I was the day before. As I walked on campus for my last first day, I felt so thankful for the many leadership opportunities, academic and lifelong friendships Iowa State has provided me throughout my years at ISU. I hope everyone has a great year! Go Cyclones!
Brooke Almasi, Public Relations
On the first day of class as an undecided freshman, I remember being overwhelmed by the ‘largeness’ of everything: my Calc III lecture, the sheer size of the campus, the numerous people with whom I’d shared names, majors, and hometowns. Over the past few years, though, I’ve happily found my niche in the smaller, more specialized classes for my major, the clubs and activities I’ve been a part of, and, above all, the relationships I’ve formed with friends and professors that will stay with me even after graduation. As a senior, it’s astounding to look back at all I’ve done at Iowa State thus far, including things that I had hoped to do coming in (like studying abroad) and a lot of things that I would have never imagined myself doing (like stand-up comedy!).
Rachel Reyes, English
The last first day starts the same as any other semester – welcome to campus, syllabus review, that one professor who starts lecturing within the first five minutes of class – but at some point I realized that I will only have this experience one more time. My next job won’t be an internship, but a real-person, real-responsibility, real-life career. My friends won’t be across town, but across the country or the world. My commute won’t be a walk across this beautiful campus, but a drive to the plant where I work. But I know that Iowa State has prepared me for the real world, that the friends I’ve made here will last for life, and that Ames will always feel like home. So on the last first day, I was grateful for this incredible place that made me excited to come back for a fifth year and has given me the greatest adventures of my life!
Natalie Hanson, Biological Systems Engineering
Is it bittersweet to be nearly finished? Yes, very much. On the one hand, it is extremely exciting to be exploring opportunities after college and to be so close to the next big adventure. I’m excited to apply everything I’ve learned at ISU and take on new challenges. On the other hand, I’m going to miss campus like crazy. There’s no place quite like Iowa State, and I love that I get to learn so much every day here.
How was your “last first day” of class different from your first day back when you were a freshman? As a freshman, the first day of class was both terrifying and exciting. I prepared relentlessly, reviewed every syllabus, planned my route from class to class, and even carried my textbooks. Now, as a senior, I skipped the first day of classes to go see the total solar eclipse.
Do you remember the first class you ever went to? The first class I ever attended was Chemistry 167 in Troxel Hall. There were nearly a dozen other freshman in my residence hall going to the same class, so we traveled together as a herd and picked a nice back corner of the lecture hall to sit in because it was scary at the front.
How have your “first weeks” changed over the years? Each first week has been an adventure in its own way. Freshman year, everything was new and exciting. Sophomore year I felt like a pro, and then went to the wrong class. Junior year I studied abroad, then returned as a Community Adviser in a new building. Senior Year #1 I commuted from off campus for the first time, and started my concurrent MBA classes (which made me feel like a freshman again). And now, Senior Year #2, I felt comfortable enough to miss the first day entirely and go check “total solar eclipse” off the bucket list. Yes, I get two senior years as a concurrent graduate student, and yes, it’s the best.
What are you going to miss about Iowa State? I love the atmosphere here. There is so much adventure in the air and endless opportunities. I’ve never missed a single ClubFest, so I’m certainly going to miss joining random clubs and seeing all they have to offer. I really think Cyclones are a special group of people, and I’m going to miss being around them every day.
Ryan Gallus, Computer Engineering
In a way not much has changed since I was starting my first week as a freshman: I’m still walking to class listening to Taylor Swift’s new song. (My freshman year she just released “Shake It Off” and now “Look What You Made Me Do” is the soundtrack to my last first week of class.) But, just like Taylor’s new music, senior year feels very different from freshman year. I feel more confident, I no longer get lost on my way to class, and I finally understand how to ride CyRide!
Paige Vaden, Kinesiology & Health
The first week as a super senior has involved 3D printing joints, casting resin and concrete to model table tops, writing 3000 words of architectural theory, and reading ~100 pages of philosophy. Luckily I love all of this stuff so it has been easy for me to manage and navigate all of the pitfalls of taking 22 credits.
Ian Dillon, Architecture
As I began my last first week of school, it was weird to think that it was the beginning of the end! College has gone by so quickly, but I am so pleased with the experiences that I have had!
My most fond memory of my first day at ISU was getting lost on campus. Despite having plenty of screenshots of Google maps and the MyState app on my phone, I still got lost after my third class. I have not gotten lost since, so there is hope out there, young Cyclones.
I’m really going to miss the community of Ames, the long waits outside in the freezing cold for basketball games (hahahaha just kidding), Honors (whaddup E2 & A2), Dance Marathon, and El Azteca.
Katlyn Hardecopf, Finance
My first day as a freshman and my last first day as a senior both included my older sister, who is a graduate student at Iowa State. The night of my first day as a freshman, she reassured me that everything was going to be okay and, eventually, college wouldn’t seem as scary and overwhelming as it did that night. On my last first day, after classes and work, my sister and I drove to Des Moines together to see one of my favorite artists, Gegory Alan Isakov, perform. The fun night we had on my last first day proved her right: I made it to my last semester and, now, college definitely isn’t so scary or overwhelming, which made it okay to put off color coding my planner and studying my syllabi for another night and go see an amazing concert.
Rebecca Ray, Financial Counseling and Planning
- It is really bittersweet to be almost done with college. I have loved my three (soon to be four) years here, and I love who I have become in that time. I have met my best friends here, and the memories will last a lifetime. That being said, I am excited to start a new chapter in my life, and hopefully I will be going to veterinary school in the fall!
- My last first day went pretty well, but so did my first first day. I am just lucky I had friends in both of those classes!
- The first class I ever went to was ANS 114- I walked with my now best friend (more like a sister) from Barton Anders to Kildee, and we may have taken the wrong route to get there, but at least we left 30 minutes early!
- My first weeks through the years have not changed a whole lot in terms of routine, but I have noticed that I am much more comfortable with the flow and pace of college as time has gone on, and I am not as frazzled and unorganized. I also have gotten very very good at picking out “interesting facts” about myself for icebreakers!
- I am going to miss so many things about Iowa State, I don’t even know where to begin. I think the biggest thing will be the friends I have made here. We have played Crumpets (shout-out to Anders House!) until we were covered in mud, studied for exams until ungodly hours of the morning (some of the time yelling at our textbooks), celebrated good grades and job opportunities, and cried when we left each other for the summer. I can only hope that we stay in touch, and that our amazing friendship continues. I don’t know where or what I would be without them!
Colette Manley, Animal Science
My first class freshman year was Anatomy 255 at 8am with Dr. K, I woke up 2 hours early and got to class 45 minutes early and sat in the very front row! Haha, I met my best friend Emma that day though, she’s now in her Masters program in Iowa City. I haven’t taken an 8am since Dr.K’s Anatomy; except this semester it just so happens for my last semester of college I get the joy’s of 8am’s one last time. This time I woke up 25 minutes before class and strolled in at 7:59am. I took a window seat in the back and felt a tinge of saddest about my last first day, I’ve been waiting for this moment since August 2014, and now that it’s here I feel like my time at ISU was a blink of an eye. I love Iowa State and I will always be forever true.
Carlee Cutler, Kinesiology & Health
My last “first day of classes” as an undergraduate was busy with club meetings, homework, schedule planning, and more! My senior year is echoing my freshman year, but it’s far better. To explain, I will tell a story about a small portion of my college experience. I have been very involved in musical ensembles during my time in college. As a freshman, I auditioned for band during my first week on campus. I dressed up for the occasion, and was neither very prepared nor very confidant. I wanted to double major in music and kinesiology, and I soon dropped the second major in music. This came with many tears and frustrations. Could I enjoy music without the major? Why did I miss flute lessons so much? Would I be able to achieve my dream of teaching flute lessons someday? During every semester, I continued in music by playing in the Flute Ensemble, a group comprised of select flutists at Iowa State. This fall, for the second time in my college career, I auditioned for band, and this time I knew what I wanted: to play in the Iowa State Wind Ensemble, tour with them in Europe next summer, and positively contribute my talents to this musical community. I had prepared well by taking lessons with my flute professor over the summer, and practiced the audition with numerous friends. My audition during this last first week of school was far from perfect, but the hard work paid off! I will be playing with the Wind Ensemble during these last two semesters, and I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to be involved!
Jenna Petersen, Kinesiology & Health
It’s hard to believe that I just went through my last first week of school! I can remember back to freshman year how stressed I was to make it to my first 8 AM on time. Now, I’ve definitely perfected the five minute morning routine to narrowly make it to the bus. What I’ve learned the last three years is that college is about the memories you make. It’s not about spending your nights studying and doing homework. Get out and join clubs and organizations! Grill out just because you can! Go to that party because you worked hard and deserve a break! Enjoy spending time with the people around you and take advantage of all the opportunities ISU offers students. What I’m going to miss most is being surrounded by friends. When we all graduate, we are going to move all over the place, and can’t hang out all weekend. We are starting our next adventure, and I can’t wait!
Renee Layoun, Business Economics/Math
On my first day as a Cyclone, I was terrified. Too many classes, too many people, too much new! And despite the protests of my new neighbors in Barton Anders—my new dorm—that it would be great, that it would be fun, that we would all become best friends: I was scared, and little, and a freshman.
I’m now entering my last semester. This summer, I went to the wedding of two Barton Anders kids, and the whole dorm was there to hug and laugh and cheer them on. I’m starting capstone classes, loving all the projects and opportunities that have opened up for me through ISU. I’m preparing my Honors Project for presentation at an international conference, and I am rooming with one of the first people I met when I started as a Cyclone. My life is full. And no, not scary at all.
Of course, new things become old, and old things brush away. In December I start the terror all over again: new jobs, new horizons, new lives to live. But this time, I’m not terrified. ISU has shown me I can handle it. And sometimes, a little terror can open the door to a whole lot of goodness.
Allison Kirstukas, Apparel, Merchandising, and Design