Woodruff: Cheers to being a clueless freshman: a look at all the things you never thought you’d need to know


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Students who attended Destination Iowa State received a free t-shirt and an Iowa State drawstring bag such as this one.

Beth Woodruff

As a freshman here at Iowa State I have felt like a lost puppy wandering around campus. After about a month of being here, I finally have some of it figured out. That being said, I really wish some of my older friends would have warned me about all the trials freshman face from the get-go. So, I have taken the liberty of telling everyone the things I wish I knew coming in as a freshman.

During freshman orientation, I thought I would be brilliant and order my books ahead of time. Boy, was that not my best idea. I spent a fortune, and, when class time rolled around, the book had changed, so I had to go back through the whole process and spend a second fortune. I’m thinking Amazon next time. And not until after classes start.

The bathroom situation is also a whole new world to me.

At home I was never forced to walk to the bathroom at 2 a.m., forget it’s locked and do the potty dance back to my dorm room to retrieve my keys. Going to the bathroom isn’t the worst part though. The showers are the worst. 

I spend the majority of my shower time attempting to keep the shower curtain from blowing in and showing my bare bottom. Showering is like a game of twister — right hand on white curtain, left leg stretch to reach the water. Fun times.

While we’re on the subject, we need to talk about the struggle of having to shave your legs, or at least attempting to, in what I would equate to more of a vertical coffin than a shower.

It is nearly impossible to get a close shave without cutting a huge chunk of skin off your leg, so don’t even try. You’ll just have to get used to the sasquatch life. If someone would have told me this ahead of time I would have invested in some laser hair removal.

Who knew that no need for an alarm clock exists in college? You have the fire alarms. I can’t believe I wasted $20 on a silly alarm clock. I mean no one wants to wake up to the radio when they have the luxury of being jarred awake by screaming sirens and disco lights; alarm clocks are so old-school.

I wish I would have been told dashing headfirst into traffic here is actually OK. I waited at a busy intersection on my first day on campus for five minutes because getting hit by a bus would really put a damper on my first day of college. But little did I know that jaywalking is encouraged around here. Along came an older student who walked straight past me into traffic, and every car stopped for him. So thank you, fearless man, who showed me I never again have to wait for cars.

Classrooms do not have assigned seats … officially. If only I had known from the beginning that the first seat I picked would be the only seat I’d ever occupy in that class. At least my professors will get to know me really well because I am now permanently in the front row in every class this semester, so pick wisely.

I also had no idea it is no longer considered creepy if someone offers you free food. It’s a gift from the gods because free food is the best food. College is expensive, and time is fleeting, so if someone offers you food you don’t have to pay for or deal with dining center lines to get, you take it. It doesn’t matter if the food is raw fish eggs or the ninth slice of pizza you’ve had that week. Students will flock to that club meeting or event like lions at the zoo during feeding time.

Riding the bus and my scooter are no longer things to be ashamed of. I can proudly board the bus because walking takes too much of my limited and valuable energy. I can also scoot across campus on my Razor without a care in the world. Who knew scooters and the bus would ever be cool after the second grade?

College isn’t as big and scary as it seems. We students live in our own little world, with specific tricks and rules on how to survive at Iowa State. These are just a few I have learned during my short time here, and I still have four more years of adventure ahead, but until I figure it all out I will still be the lanyard-wearing, MyState-using girl. Cheers to being a clueless freshman.