Since I have officially graduated from the University of Iowa this will be my last blog post and be prepared, it’s gonna be a long one. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to blog about my experiences here at the University of Iowa. It’s been so great to meet the new bloggers each year and have people read my blog to keep up with my adventures.
After being involved in organizations such as mentoring and living in the residence halls for 4.5 years, I’ve had some people ask for advice and so I wanted to record some of my advice or lessons I’ve learned during my time at Iowa.
To start with, I went way back and read through my blog posts from when I first started blogging as a freshman. I wanted to update some of the advice I had when I was still figuring college out.
- In my first semester I really liked that my classes were spread out so I wasn’t rushing to get between them. I like being early to things and I enjoyed having plenty of time to be early to my classes. But I realized that I’m more productive when all my classes are bunched together and I can have large chunks of time to get homework done or schedule work hours. As long as you don’t have to go all the way across campus(like Van Allen to the pharmacy building) 10 minutes really is plenty of time.
- For the engineers out there(or at least Chemical Engineers): Get a graphing calculator and learn how to use it (graphing, writing programs for it)
- And to re-iterate one of my biggest pieces of advice: Invest in a nice pair of rain boots, you will not regret it
My advice to any student still in college and getting ready to come to college:
- Go to events. Any event. Basketball games, football games, volleyball games, baseball games, gymnastics meets. Even if you’re not a huge fan or have never really been to one before, they’re a lot of fun and usually really cheap for students. It’s a great way to hang out with friends while showing some Hawkeye spirit.
- Go to talks from famous people. Sometimes it’s really hard to prioritize especially when you’re a dedicated student. One of my biggest regrets of college is not going to see Jane Goodall when she came to campus. It would have been worth pulling an all-nighter to finish the project to see her talk.
- Stay focused. It can be easy to start to let things slide towards the end of the semester. You’ve been working so hard and feel like you’re exhausted, but you just need to stay motivated and keep going until the end of finals week. Keep turning in every homework assignment and doing all the readings.
- Get help. It’s ok if you’re struggling, college is hard. University of Iowa has a ton of great resources for any type of issue whether it’s tutoring or test anxiety, there’s someone there to help you. It’s not a bad thing to admit you need help. It’s much better to start working on the problem early and get it solved or at least understand it better than struggling through on your own and making you feel even worse. Your RA, advisor, or professors can help direct you to the resources you need.
- Remember: you’re a student first. Your primary responsibility is school, that’s why you’re here. You’re going to have a ton of fun with friends and getting involved in organizations, but don’t let it become a distraction. Getting bad grades early on is hard to come back from and means you have to work extra hard on more difficult classes to make up for it. While your GPA may not matter in 10 years, it certainly matters for getting that first job and the work ethic it takes to keep that GPA will last a lifetime.
- That being said, your GPA doesn’t necessarily describe you. Some things come easily for some people, some things don’t. If things aren’t going as well as you planned and you find yourself struggling more than you can handle, talk to your professors and your advisor. Maybe you need a different mix of classes: more balance between gen eds and major related. Or maybe you need to lighten the load and take some summer classes to decrease the number of hours during the semester. Be proactive, don’t wait until it’s too late to realize your GPA isn’t where you need it to be.
- Go after the opportunities you want. As cheesy as it is: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Whether it’s an internship or research experience or leadership in an organization, just go for it. Even if you don’t get it you learned a lot by reaching out and making connections and those experiences will help you in the future. It’s going to suck when you get rejected, but just know that there are other opportunities out there that might be better for you or be a stepping stone to better prepare you for the one you want.
- Don’t forget how awesome you are. Some things are going to go really well and some things might be a lot harder than you were expecting. Don’t lose who you are and don’t forget that you are unique with your own individual talents.
I met some of my closest friends at the University of Iowa and learned a lot about myself and about other people. I met so many amazing people and have been so inspired by them.
By living in the residence hall for all 4.5 years, I have had the opportunity to meet a new floor of first years every year and have become friends with many of them. They definitely helped me to see the excitement and fun in college, even when I was tired and frustrated. I’d like to say thanks to all the girls on my floors who have encouraged me and been the positivity I needed. You guys are awesome and you’re going to do amazing things!
Thanks to all my friends who have stayed up late with me, supported me and been there for me whenever I needed to talk or to celebrate my successes. Thank you to my family members who have kept me focused on my goals and my future. Special thanks to my mom who has been there through everything(the 2 am texts, 6 am phone calls, the constant moving, the successes and the lessons learned). Thank you to the staff at the Student Development Center in the College of Engineering for their support and constant supply of sugar. Thank you to the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering for their willingness to work with their students to make schedules work and provide resources. Thank you to University of Iowa Admissions for giving me the opportunity to blog during my time here. Finally, thank you to all of you, the readers of my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. So with that:
OnIowa! Go Hawks!