Cline: A guide to common sense for freshmen

Darrin Cline

Alright freshmen, you’ve had your

chance. We have given you plenty of time. One semester to learn the

ropes and even a few weeks grace to get back into the swing of


It is the job of upperclassmen to

show you the way and offer guidance to wayward youngsters. There

are a few nuggets of knowledge you will not learn until you are

older, but there are some intolerable mistakes that should have

been weeded out by this semester.

1. Pedestrians do not always have

the right away. Driving along Beach Avenue is the absolute worst

traffic jam in Ames. However, it can occur with only one vehicle.

Any trip to Lied Recreation via Lincoln Way is wrought with

freshmen dodging car bumpers like deer on a gravel road. Instead of

patiently waiting for cars to pass, you choose to walk across with

disregard for everyone else. It’s as if we should implement

kindergarten rules where you must have a walking buddy so no one

gets lost. But kindergartners at least stop, look and listen. There

is nothing good enough to eat at Seasons that requires you to dart

in front of oncoming traffic and risk harm to yourself or the


2. CyRide is not that difficult.

Efficient, eco-friendly and jammed with stupidity. I could spend

all day ranting on the idiocy I witness on CyRide. However, there

are three habits that especially perturb. In two years of riding

the bus daily, I have yet to see the red route buses not stop at

State Gym or Kildee Hall. Nonetheless, some individuals feel the

need to pull the cord — repeatedly. Additionally, learn the concept

of “enter the front, exit the back.” The doors are positioned that

way to alleviate the traffic and crowding more efficiently.

Strangely, this seems to happen most often near the freshman dorms.

Lastly, the school bus is not a place for your phone conversation.

Your conversation is probably very important, and we all care what

you have to say. But be courteous to all parties involved, and wait

until you have stepped outside.

3. Campus is not that big. I can

still remember my first few visits to Iowa State as a high school

student. Iowa State seemed monstrous, the collection of

inconspicuous brick buildings blending together. And then I visited

friends in Iowa City. It was obvious which city was training

engineers. Iowa State is a rather small and easily laid out campus.

A walk from Hamilton Hall to State Gym takes less than ten minutes.

We are blessed with a beautiful and simple campus. Take time to

enjoy it and venture around to figure out locations prior to your

classes, instead of looking like a lost puppy the first week of the


4. In a 300-person lecture hall, no

one cares if you are first to arrive. There’s a chance that many

come from a small town or school where you were the “big fish in a

small pond.” For most, the roles have been reversed. I may be a

senior, but a healthy number of my classes have been in large

lecture halls. There are days that I will arrive 15 minutes early,

but I can be certain a gaggle of freshmen have been seated much

longer. Be all that you can be, do the work to get good grades, but

the trivial sucking up and over-achieving that worked in high

school goes largely unnoticed by professors.

5. Forget your high school ego.

Participating in high school activities is something to be proud

of, even more so if you were a success. However, the fact that you

were an All-State shortstop or placed seventh at state in wrestling

does not make you better than everybody else. Reminiscing about

great achievements is something we all do and provides some common

ground when making new friends. Being a braggart, however, will

spurn people. Do not rest on past laurels; strive to achieve more

with your future.

We upperclassmen may make fun of you

for your lanyards or draw-string bags, but those are forgivable

offenses. Leaving the comfort of home and adapting to college is

tough, but using your brain shouldn’t be. Enjoy your adventure, but

enjoy it with some common sense.