And You Thought This Was About Class: the Sporadic Advice of a Sage Elder

Tyler Lage

When I arrived at Iowa State as a freshman in search of an identity, I was fortunate enough to have a guide to show me the ins and outs of the place. Looking back, I am more grateful each time, as I recall my experience.

It is out of this gratitude, then, that I take a look back at my career in order to pass on my knowledge of those things worthwhile and those things worth little.

Getting Started

The single most important decision of college was not my own, it was made for me. My mentor here was already an important personality on the residence hall floor, so I became involved by proxy. To be clear, there is no decision you can make regarding your time in college that will have more impact.

Become involved in the community in your place of residence. When people are up in the middle of the night playing a no-holds-barred game of “Super Smash Bros,” go show them those skills you learned in your basement during all those long nights alone with Samus — you have prepared most of your teen life for this moment.

When your community adviser abdicates the use of the majority of his clothes to break up the monotony of Dead Week, make certain the end result is to impress your sister floor, then fall in line. Go to Memorial Union bingo. Smoke hookah. Keep your door open. Know this: Other people are as afraid of you as you are of them.

After you have embraced your local community, it is important to branch out. Your college experience can be enriched significantly by participating in university activities.

Events such as football, volleyball and basketball games are tremendous productions that offer much more than the sport on display. Clubs and professional organizations are also enjoyable, as they offer the opportunity to unite with people who have common interests. Be sure to check out the options at ClubFest, Sept. 8, in the Memorial Union.

Planning for the Future

Freshman year also brings with it the opportunity to determine the direction of your college career. Opportunities such as study abroad programs and internships should be considered as early as possible in order to allow for the most flexibility.

Study abroad is a time-honored tradition in college. It can open new horizons for aspiring linguists, sports fans and consumers of adult beverages. Also, classroom learning can be done. Programs can be tailored to fit a variety of budgets, academic needs and travel desires.

“Learning about your relationship with yourself and your relationship with other people,” is most valued by students, according to Julie Yankey, program coordinator for ISUAbroad.

Whether it is the job opportunity of a lifetime or just an opportunity for you to organize your burgeoning iTunes collection while being paid, internships offer students unique opportunities.

Many ISU departments have internship or undergraduate assistant opportunities in-house, and many also have connections with outside companies to supply interns. The career fair sponsored by your major is the best place to gather information concerning such opportunities.

Learning to Lead

The ability to lead, organize and facilitate people and organizations is important wherever your life leads you. To that end, your time at Iowa State will be rife with opportunities to develop your skills.

From the staggering number of student organizations looking to harness new talent, to the Department of Residence looking to utilize you as a Benedict Arnold-esque inside man against your fellow devious students, the list of entities willing to reward your precious time and sweat with fair monetary compensation, or pizza, and a T-shirt is endless.

Become a community adviser. Sign up for a Veishea committee. Beat the tar out of people with foam swords in front of the library. Whatever you do, get involved.