Advice from a First Semester College Freshman to a High School Senior

Though I have only been in college for about 6 weeks, I’ve already learned so many lessons that I never would have thought I needed to know. College is a weird concept. There are basically no adults and you are in charge of your decisions. You quickly learn that it is not the same as high school. Here are some things I wish I knew as a high school senior.

Understand Procrastination

Senior year for me was a breeze. I had taken most AP’s and challenging classes freshman-junior year, so my senior year classes I had to put in minimal effort in to get all A’s. Especially the last few months when school went all online and I literally just joined Zoom calls and they ended my year early. I also understand that senioritis is a real thing and it can be a hard habit to break. I highly recommend taking at least one challenging class your senior year, that way you are prepared for the type of classes you’ll be taking in college.

Time management is key 

In high school, I was involved with many different sports and activities so time management was something I had to quickly learn. It was not that hard for me to keep the same mindset in college, but I saw in a lot of my peers that they had awful time management skills and really struggled with classes, especially with them being online. Learn how to spend your time wisely and get your work done without leaving it to the last minute.

Take dual credit courses

One thing I wish I had done before going to college is take dual credit classes. I love the classes I am taking at the University of Iowa but I realize now I could have already had the credit for the required courses and taken other classes that I would have enjoyed even more. It also would have been a lot cheaper for me to have taken some of my classes through a dual credit program so I could take more classes that were more focused on my major.

Self-care is key 

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that self-care is the solution to all of your problems. Back in high school I never really worried about taking care of myself because I was in school, but also doing a lot of other things that I loved. That felt like self-care to me. In college, I don’t have sports or the luxury of seeing my hometown friends when I’m down, so I have been exploring different things to do when I feel stressed or homesick. I suggest you find something to help you cope with pressure or stress before you go to college. It will be super helpful!

I realize that the college admissions process is probably very different for a lot of you given the pandemic, but just know there is always someone out there willing to help. If anyone has any questions please feel free to comment below and I will do my absolute best to answer or refer you to someone who can answer for you!



My first week of classes!

Hi everyone! My name is Riya and I am a freshman at the University of Iowa! Before I start talking about my first two weeks on campus, I would like to introduce myself and what I want to accomplish as an Experience Iowa Ambassador.

So again, my name is Riya and I am a freshman. I am a microbiology major on the Pre-Med track and I am SO excited that I am officially a part of the Hawkeye family. I am originally from a small town in Illinois called Forsyth. Coming to Iowa was a blank slate for me to be whoever I want and not be judged for it. Going to a high school of 300 people, it’s no surprise that everyone knows each other and their backgrounds. In high school, until about the end of junior year, I was known as the shy girl. I never really talked or did anything out of my comfort zone. One day, I don’t know why, I woke up and decided to be the most confident version of myself and everyone from school thought I’d “switched up”, when really they just were comfortable with me being shy. But now that I’m here and I’ve worked on myself all of quarantine, I feel super confident and hope that I can radiate that confidence onto incoming students!


My first week of classes was pretty laid back, but it’s only syllabus week so that’s no surprise!

So on Monday I started my day by waking up at 8 am and went to Hillcrest dining hall to get some breakfast with my roommate, and then came back and ate it in my dorm. I then called my family and talked to them until my Principles of Chemistry lecture at 9:30. These lectures are pre-recorded so I could technically watch them whenever, but doing them at my scheduled class time keeps me more organized and in-routine! That was my only class for the day so I just relaxed the rest of the day because I had no other homework! :)

On Tuesday I did nothing because my TA for Math for the Biological Sciences canceled our discussion because we hadn’t had our lecture yet. It was a nice day to sleep in and catch up with my friends at home through FaceTime.

Wednesday was a busy day for me! I had chem discussion in the Chemistry Building at 9:30am. Since I live on the West Side I woke up super early so I could shower and get some breakfast and be on my way to the East Side by 9:00. The walk was so beautiful! Something about the morning sun shining in my face as I’m walking just makes me so happy :). After my Chem discussion, I had to go to the Van Allen Building for my Spanish class. Not as pretty of a walk because I only have 10 minutes to get there and I was running and couldn’t admire my surroundings. But my class was super fun and I really enjoyed it! I then went back to my dorm to do my Chem lecture as well as my Math lecture. Then I spent the rest of my day doing homework.

Thursday I was originally supposed to have a lab, but because of coronavirus we have it split up into 4 sections so I don’t actually have lab until week 3 of classes. So I did my case study! Then I had Math discussion which I had to go to the East Side for, we didn’t really have much to talk about so I got to come back 20 minutes later.

On Friday I had my Sociology discussion on Zoom. We got to know each other and what we would be learning about in the course. I think I am the most excited for this class! I also had another Chem lecture. I spent the rest of my day finishing homework and then my roommate and I spent the rest of the night filming TikToks and watching Love Island!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my first school week at the University of Iowa!