Tetmeyer: Advice: Lost


Columnist Grant Tetmeyer gives advice for new students attending Iowa State this fall. 

Grant Tetmeyer

For those approaching the beginning of the last step of their academic journey, at least for most, the transition is both exciting and scary. What will college be like? How will classes work? Where can I get a fake ID? What are the parties like? Can I get into parties? Will I find friends to go with me? Will I even find friends? 

As I am someone begrudgingly heading toward the finalization of their regular academic trudge, one might look to someone like me for advice. If that is why you opened this article, then I am so, so sorry. I have no wisdom; I have no profound thoughts on how to break into the very exclusive and demanding microcosm of society known as Iowa State University.

I have been run through the wringer of unregulated drinking before an 8 a.m. class, studying through the night into the wee hours of the morning to pass an ungodly test, maintaining a scheduled and fragile social life and working every bit of time I can to make an extra bit of currency to be exchanged at Jeff’s Pizza or Taco Bell in an effort to save a buck while acquiring a bit of sustenance. 

With such a wide range of experiences, you may ask how I can’t be of any help to an incoming member of this isolated and exposed society. Someone who worked as an editor for two publications, has had theatrical productions performed, had photographs published and been a part of a number of clubs and events must have some useful information floating around in his cerebrospinal fluid. But unfortunately, I do not.  

I have nothing to offer academically unless you are a journalism and/or a performing arts major. And even then, I’m not much help because I took an unorthodox path to where I am at today that would be applicable to a very small percentage of people on campus, let alone new people coming to campus. Socially, I have done enough things that were hazardous to my health that it is a miracle I can still eat solid food, much less pontificate and articulate my thoughts in such an extended fashion. 

The best advice I can give you sounds like a half-baked, regurgitated slogan from a towering business giant: do it. There is no road map for college, no one piece of advice that will make college that much easier than if you didn’t have it. College is an experience, and as much as Disney or college administrators would like you to think that one road map will suffice, it won’t. Everyone’s college experience is different. From the day you step on campus to the day you walk across that graduation stage, you will be experiencing nothing anyone else has experienced. Because you’re the one who’s doing it. 

So, don’t be afraid to branch out. Try a new club you never would have thought of trying before. Join a student publication if you like talking into the void. Take part in intramurals. Try out for theater roles. Join Student Government if you hate yourself that much. But don’t just sit at home and stay in your comfort zone. You only have four years, and they go by fast. So don’t waste it. Do college.