10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman at Iowa

Your first year at college is always stressful. Looking back, there are a lot of things I wish someone would have told me before starting at the University of Iowa. These are the top ten things I wish I knew.

1. Nobody tells you how to print.

I never knew that I was taking free printing for granted until I came here. So to save you the struggle, here is where to print: https://printing.its.uiowa.edu:9192/user. Just login, select a printer, upload your files and find the nearest printer -either in a dorm or the library- login to the main computer there, and congratulations you just figured out the secret to printing at Iowa. 

2. If you’ve never heard of Venmo or Uber, you’re about to.

Whether you’re out for dinner with your girls and forget your wallet or you’ve just realized the library only takes cards, Venmo lets you quickly transfer money from your account to someone else's. 

We’ve all heard that nagging voice say “don’t get in the car with strangers,” well, Uber encourages the opposite. Just download the app, enter where you need to go and a driver will arrive within minutes to take you to your destination, and for a pretty decent price too. If you're with friends, you can use your newly downloaded app Venmo to split the cost of the Uber. 

3. The CAMBUS will ruin your day all of the time.

I also never knew that I would have to learn how to use the bus system to get anywhere, but you do. In the beginning, you’ll think you can walk everywhere, however, Iowa winters say otherwise. The key to success is to download the app Bongo. You can view all of the routes on there. Remember, use the red route if you’re going to Rienow (the West side) and the blue route if you’re getting back to Burge (the East side). 

4. Boys will disappoint you, prioritize your girls.

The biggest lesson I learned my first year here was that college is not about finding your husband, but about finding your bridesmaids. I guarantee you will meet some of your best friends in your first year if you focus on growing your girl squad vs. finding a boyfriend. You have the rest of your life to find the man of your dreams, so take this first year at school to establish friendships that will carry you through the years. 

5. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate.

Not all of us can be #roomiegoals like Joey and Chandler. While you do have to occupy the same space for a year, keeping distance between you and your roommate can actually help you coexist better. You do not have to be with each other 24/7 or have the same friends. And, if you both find a different group of friends, you can all become friends with each other.

6. Your body will change and your grades will change... and that’s okay.

This one is important. I didn't think the "Freshman 15" was real, but it is. I didn't think it would be possible for me to fail a test in my life, it also is. College is a completely new environment with the dining halls serving fattening foods and the classes are more challenging. It's normal for your high school body to shift to a full grown woman body. You learn to adjust to your environment by accepting the changes that come with it is a huge part of your first year. Embrace your mistakes, changes and who you become. 

7. Your shoes will unavoidably get destroyed at tailgates.

Never wear nice shoes to tailgate. Never. Even if it’s not raining, it is somehow always muddy. Your shoes will become disgusting, so pick a pair of old ones and wear them every time. That is all.

8. It’s okay to call your mom everyday, or 3x a day.

Sometimes I call my mom just to tell her I saw a cute dog. Talking to your mom can relieve your stress and send you a little piece of home while you’re away at school. She misses you just as much as you miss her. She wants to hear from you, so call her.

9. Office hours are your best friend.

Go into office hours because your professors actually want to help you. If they see you coming in and putting in the effort, they will be more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt or give you extra help.

10. Thirsty Thursdays are really a thing.

People really go out on Thursdays and you probably will too. College isn’t just about pulling all-nighters at the library while cramming for tests. Sometimes, you need to give yourself space to go out and have fun with your girls.

Being a freshman in a big college town can be hard and confusing to navigate, but after reading all of the essential tips and tricks, you should be ready to thrive in your first year here. 

Image Credit: G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6, G7, G8, G9, G10