Ways to Get in the Halloween Spirit (And Take a Study Break)

by Allison Steinebrey

With a chill in the air and leaves covering the ground, you know it’s fall. But this isn’t a normal fall week: Halloween is finally here! It’s time to take a break from textbooks and celebrate Halloween with these fun activities.

  1. Decorate pumpkins: Halloween doesn’t feel complete without pumpkins. There are so many different options from small or large to orange or white. Each pumpkin has tremendous potential and you need to pick out the right one for the design you want to do. You can carve your pumpkin into a classic jack-o-lantern or pick a fun design like your favorite animal. Or if you want to keep it simple, you can paint your pumpkin a cool pattern like I did this year.
  2. Do Halloween crafts: Crafts are a great way to relax and be creative. I recommend Pinterest for Halloween-inspired craft ideas, but you can also go to a craft store to buy a craft kit. The bonus of making a craft is you can display it on your desk which adds Halloween spirit to your room. This Halloween, I made a blue beaded spider which I keep it on my desk.
  3. Watch Halloween movies: Movies are a great way to get in the mood for Halloween. You can get cozy with blankets and you don’t have to go outside in the cold. Picking the right movie to watch is an important decision. You need to decide if you are in mood for a classic, scary movie like A Nightmare on Elm Street or if you are nostalgic for a movie from your childhood like Hocus Pocus.
  4. Wear a costume: You’re never too old to dress up for Halloween. There are plenty of simple, clever costume ideas you can do with supplies you already have. Or you could go to a thrift store and buy a few items to complete a specific costume idea. Either way, getting dressed up is an important part of Halloween and it’s fun to walk around all day in a costume.

These Personality-Based Study Spaces At Parks Library Will Blow Your Mind

by Megan Rogers

Walking into Parks Library can be kind of intimidating, especially when you haven’t yet secured a personal study spot that you feel comfortable studying at. To help you find the right place to study, I created a Buzzfeed-esque analysis of four different personality types and the general area in Parks Library that would appeal to each of them!

  1. Lone Wolf: If you prefer studying alone, the tiers at Parks Library is the place for you. Not a lot of students think to study in the tiers, so you won’t have to deal with crowded rooms and general human interaction. The tiers are almost always super-quiet, and there are plenty of nooks and single-person desks to hide away and study at.
  2. Social Butterfly: The most social floor at Parks Library is definitely 3rd. The 3rd floor consists of one big, open room with a bunch of long tables, connected tables: the ideal spot for big study groups to gather. It is also thought to be the most chatter-friendly zone in the library, so you don’t have to worry about being shushed for talking with your friends.
  3. Efficiency Master: Room 198 is the best place to study if you’re really looking to get stuff done. This large, open study space is located on the east side of Parks Library’s first floor, and is a popular spot for group project meetings and tutoring sessions. To promote ultimate productivity levels, this room has big tables with built-in outlets, whiteboard easels, and HDMI-accessible monitors on the walls. However, plan your study sessions wisely – Room 198 is sometimes closed for classes during the daytime.
  4. Hipster Bookworm: If you like a relaxed, coffee shop-esque aesthetic while you study, you should check out the Fireplace Reading Room. Although there isn’t a lot of table-space to work with, the comfy couches and bookshelf-covered walls create perfect book-reading vibes. It’s also conveniently located next-door to Bookends Café, so you don’t have to go far for a coffee break!

Homecoming Traditions

by Lauren Suhi

Iowa State is entering its 105th year of homecoming, and it’s a week full of fun, celebration and competition. Each year, the theme includes a “CY” pun, and this year’s theme is “Sound the CYren.” Here’s a brief overview of some of my favorite traditions:

1. Food on Campus
This is probably my all-time favorite event. For only $5 you can purchase a food button, which gives you access to food served on central campus all week. You can enjoy some good Hickory Park, Fazoli’s, or Papa John’s while gearing up to cheer on the Cyclones.

2. Yell Like Hell
Do you enjoy screaming about ISU traditions at the top of your lungs? Then you should check you Yell Like Hell, a skit put on by students. The top teams get “painted,” literally, and the final three perform at the Friday night Pep Rally! You can catch yours truly at minute 1:27:21 in this youtube link! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2wQc0tWdk4

3. Mass Campanile-ing
Now everyone knows that you’re not a true Iowa Stater until you’ve been kissed under the campanile. On Friday of Homecoming week, hundreds of students come to partake in the tradition at midnight. There’s also a sweet fireworks display and pancakes!

4. Cardinal Court
Every year, a group of awesome people get nominated for Cardinal Court, a group that gets selected based off of academic achievement, community involvement, and overall character. Here’s the group this year! Wait, do I see some honors students?

5. Homecoming Dance
Another old tradition is the homecoming dance held every year on the Friday before the week begins. It’s a great way to get your dance shoes on and celebrate a decades-old tradition in the MU. Here’s an old picture from a homecoming of the past!

6. Painting Victory Lane
To cheer on our Cyclones at the football game, multiple groups on campus get together and paint the road that leads up to Jack Trice Stadium. We’re hoping for a win this year against TCU!

7. Parade
This is a renewed tradition at Iowa State! The parade features many people from around Ames and campus. Plenty of free candy and ISU spirit!

8. Displays
Greek chapters put on mini skits and construct some serious sets in their front yards for ExCYtement in the Streets on Friday of the week. They’re super fun and creative to see, along with sales of hot chocolate and cider throughout Greekland. If you’re interested, check out the link below the picture that shows what it all looks like!

9. Banners
On central campus, there are tons of banners set up around the sidewalks between Curtiss and Beardshear Halls. Here’s a killer one from this year’s homecoming!

And remember, these are only some of the homecoming events this week! So, get your Homecoming button, red and gold spirit on, and GO CYCLONES!

Here’s a the schedule of events this week!

An Honors Fall

by Hannah Astarita

Hey, my name is Hannah Astarita, and I am a junior in event management. Remember my last blog post where I said I was going to do a half marathon? Well it happened. And it sucked. But it was also awesome at the same time. It was super cold…and windy…and long, but the atmosphere made up for it. I loved people watching all the variety of the runners and the supportive fans. I ran with my sister the whole time, and apparently we run the same (see pictures below).

I also went with a couple of my friends who were much faster than me, but it’s okay…I’m just glad I finished without stopping. I also have to give a shout out to fellow honors friend, Madeline Keane, who ran the full marathon! I am amazed by her, and you should be too. Anyways, I just hope I can walk tomorrow…but that’s enough of me complaining…time for an update on some honors stuff.

I am on the UHP committee which stands for Upper-Division Honors Program Committee. Our main purpose is to keep honors students involved, especially those in UHP because we all know how hard it is once you are done with FHP. Our first event of the year was last week and it was such a success. There was free pizza, Grandma Mojos Moonshine Revival improv group, and a lot of happy people. This was a super fun time, and HSB holds all kinds of events like this. Ice skating is always such a classic event, but there are so many more unique events this year that I want to check out and you should too! https://www.honors.iastate.edu/hsb/

I currently live in Freddy with some friends I made in Harwood. It seems like everyone leaves Harwood in packs because we were all so close and we couldn’t leave each other. We like to do all kinds of things together whether it be broomball, dinners, trips to the apple orchard, game nights, or whatever else we come up with. I would just like to point out that if you go to the Center Grove Apple Orchard, you definitely need to do the jumping pillow because you can never be old to bounce around! We also went to the traditional Harwood bonfire in September and got to reminisce about the old days.

My other fun fall adventure has been going to Reiman Gardens. It was required for one of my classes, but it was actually such a nice escape. I want to go again sometime soon since it is super cute, and students can get in for free. There’s a Halloween event coming up soon called Spirits of the Gardens and I think I’ll go to that. If anyone has a good costume recommendation, you should let me know because I am not creative at all.

Fall is my favorite time of the year and it is such a perfect week out that I’m going to go enjoy it while I can. I hope everyone made it through midterms and has a great rest of the semester!

5 Tips to Staying Full on an Empty Wallet

by Madeline Keane

Here’s a post for hungry students who have no money – hopefully a few people can relate!

1. Shop at Aldi: This is my favorite grocery store, hands-down. When you go, bring a quarter to unlock a cart. Fear not, you get the quarter back when you return your cart to the front of the store. Aldi is wonderful for someone who struggles with decision making, like me, because there are less choices of each item. This is also how they keep prices so low! They have great deals on everything from produce to poultry! Instead of bagging groceries in plastic bags, Aldi takes a green initiative and asks customers to bring their own reusable bags (or buy them there).

2. Coupons: In today’s day and age, digital coupons are the way to go! Check out the Pocket Points App which gives you points for staying off your phone during class. The points can be redeemed for great deals at local restaurants like Hy-Vee, Tropical Smoothie, and Fuzzy’s. You can also find deals for money off online orders on Columbia and Levi brands! The Hooked app also has lots of deals on food from local restaurants. Like the Facebook pages of your favorite restaurants to keep up to date on their weekly deals.

3. Get a job with ISU dining: Having a job on campus not only earns you money and experience for a resume, but for each 3-hour shift, employees are allowed a free meal! Since freshman year, I have wanted to work at Froots. This semester I had the opportunity to pursue the job, and I have really been enjoying the perk of bringing home a smoothie at the end of each shift.

4. Meal Prep: Tasty videos on Facebook and posts on Pinterest will provide you all sorts of easy meals to make ahead of time. Time spent cooking dinner every night can add up, and time is money! Eating out on the regular is both unhealthy and expensive, so pack up some lunches and prep some dinners on Sunday so you’re ready for the week. My favorite dish to meal prep is burrito bowls.

5. Walk past Parks at noon: Organizations often dish out cookies or pizza to grab your attention. Not only can you get free food, you can learn all about what’s going on around campus. The tent signs often advertise free food options too. Be on the lookout for Homecoming buttons which will be sold soon and be your pass to yummy lunches on central campus all week long!

Choose Your Adventure: Career Fair Advice

Honors Ambassadors weigh in with (conflicting) advice for the upcoming career fairs. Which approach do you favor?

Evan Wieczorek, Senior in Aerospace Engineering

If i had to give advice for the career fair in one word, the word would be preparation. Showing up to the career fair confident and ready to ask questions is the difference between landing and not landing that dream job or internship. Career services offers amazing resources from free resume reviews and by holding mock interviews that can help you prepare. I know that Cyhire always helps me prepare for the career fair with their career fair maps and list of employers attending the career fair. They even have some jobs that have applications right in the Cyhire website! At the end of the day, the connections that you’ll make at the career fair might be the ones that help kick start a career in a field that you are passionate about!


Carter Francis, Senior in Materials Engineering

How I learned to stop worrying, and start loving the bomb… I mean Career Fair…
I have a friend who loves the career fair, simply because she likes getting all the free stuff they have to offer. She collects different stress balls from companies and free pens and flash drives or “pop coozies.” And I made fun of her for it. But historically she has done far better than I have at the career fair AND she got a bunch of free stuff.
So that is my advice…  go for the free stuff. As I am freaking out trying to make a good impression, she is walking up to a random company simply because they have a pig stress ball that she hasn’t collected yet. So stop freaking out and just put yourself out there. Maybe you walk up to a table cause they have a really cool bag that you want, or cause their poster looks cool. The point of the career fair is to just go and talk to someone.
For those of us who can’t just take a breath and not care about the career fair: the Scheman building has a very cool museum upstairs that is a good place to take a break

*Last* First Days as a Cyclone, 2017

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