Advice for Incoming Students
As the new freshmen and transfers get admitted into the University of Iowa and begin deciding which university they want to attend for the next few years, I realized a year ago, that was me. I was the one choosing which university I wanted to attend and preparing for the humongous leap of moving halfway across the world. Now granted, a lot of students attending the University of Iowa don’t have that massive step with a 13 hour time difference, but it’s still a huge and momentous transition for a lot of people. With the new and possibly afraid freshmen coming in, I’m writing this blog post to give advice to everyone coming to the University of Iowa next year.
Whether or not you’re coming to the University of Iowa from across town or the other end of the world, transition and change is always hard. The next advice I have (I seem to be doing that a lot lately…) will help everyone with their transition process.
Now, listen up, and listen good. (Joking…but I honestly think this advice will help).
- Try to connect with classmates online. Social media has its drawbacks, but one of the amazing benefits I found is that I can find my University Class Facebook page and connect with people via Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat and so on. In fact, I made some of my closest friends online and met them in person before international student orientation even began! This made me much more confident going into the university knowing that I had a couple of friends.
- Reach out to some faculty. If you know faculty teaching your major, that can help. Then you might not feel as though you’re going in blind. This was particularly beneficial for me in my dance major; the Dance Department is smaller in comparison with some of the other majors at the University of Iowa. By knowing one or two of the professors who would be teaching me, I felt much more comfortable dancing in front of them for the first time.
- Try to befriend someone and have a roommate you know as opposed to being randomly matched up. Now this might not be easy and it might not work; you might think that you are initially compatible and this could backfire. But if you have at least interact a little with your roommate before meeting them, your room will feel much more like home than if you’re living with a stranger. Trust me, I know.
- Be open to things being new and challenging and making mistakes at times. It’s not easy going to a new place, but remember, every other freshmen at the university is feeling as lost and confused as you are. People are here to help. Asking a random stranger on the street where the Englert Theatre is helps. Even if you have to ask three different people to get an answer. (That’s me with my horrible sense of direction in my third week in Iowa City).
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. I have a feeling that I’ve mentioned this before, but even going to listen to a talk about a club that you might possibly be interested in is a momentous step. More often than not, good friends come from people whom you have hobbies in common with. Most of my friends have similar interests with me. The worst thing that can happen is that you decide not to join the club or you don’t make any friends. Hey, at least you tried!
- Don’t get stuck on things in the past. Definitely connect with your friends and family back home, but don’t be tied down with them either. You need to live in the here and now. Skyping with friends and family back home is obviously essential and something that I love, but you shouldn’t do it every single night. You’ll miss out on so many of the opportunities that the university has to offer if you try to hold on tight to your roots. You might as well return to your house every night if you’re going to cling so closely to your old life.
I think that transition and change is one of the most daunting challenges to undergo. Especially if you’re coming from a really small town or the same school of 13 years or the opposite end of the world. Regardless, I think that there are many ways of making your life easier than you initially realize.
I’m excited for the new batch of freshmen to come to the University of Iowa and for me not to be one of the newbies anymore! In addition to being an international student ambassador and an admissions blogger, I am one of the international student small group leaders for their orientation in August…. Roll in the incoming University of Iowa Class of 2023!!! Go Hawks!!!
Cheerio from Emily, a freshman who is loving her freshman year and is even more excited for her sophomore one!!!