Adivice for freshmen: etiquette, style, destinations

By Katherine Klingseis,

1. Don’t wear your Destination Iowa State shirt around campus

I can remember how happy I was when I received my free shirt at Destination Iowa State. At that point, I felt like a true ISU student. In fact, I was so excited about the shirt, I decided to wear the shirt the day after Destination Iowa State. As I was walking to the dining center, an older student stopped me, and said, “You’re a freshman, right?” I said, “Yeah,” and I kept walking. When I entered the dining center, I saw a mass of students wearing the same shirt I was wearing. At that point, I realized only freshmen wore the Destination Iowa State shirt.

My advice: if you don’t want to be seen as a freshman for your entire college career, don’t wear the Destination Iowa State shirt.

2. Don’t wear your lanyard around your neck

When you move to college, you have many new responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to keep track of your keys and student ID. At Destination Iowa State, you will receive a cardinal and gold lanyard. This lanyard is perfectly designed to keep track of your keys and ID. However, nothing looks tackier than wearing this bulky bright red lanyard around your neck. A sure sign of a freshman is the token lanyard around the neck.

My advice: When you get comfortable enough to put your ID in your wallet, and your keys on a key chain, you should. People will respect you more.

3. Do wear flip flops in the shower

At home, you probably only share the shower with your immediate family. More than likely, none of them have a foot fungus and if they do, you would probably know about it. At college, you share the shower with about 20 other people, and they are a lot less likely to be so forthcoming with the conditions of their feet. In order to prevent any embarrassing feet problems, make sure to pack some flip flops when you come to college.

My advice: Buy some cheap flip flops, and slip them on before you enter the shower. Fungus is not attractive no matter how pretty of feet you have.

4. Do become familiar with the ISU campus

It’s your first day of class. Your backpack is packed, and you’re out the door. Problem is: you don’t know where you’re going. You are completely unfamiliar with the buildings, and have no idea where your classes are located. Instead of wandering aimlessly and looking at your campus map for ten minutes, try learning where you are going before you leave your room. The best way to do this to take a tour of the campus.

My advice: Suffer through the campus tours you’re given during campus visits, orientation and Destination Iowa State. They will pay off when, on the first day of classes, you are walking effortlessly to your classes while watching others stumble around confused.

5. Do be friendly

Meeting new people is scary for many people. At Iowa State, you come in contact with a countless number of people every day. Instead of being shy and standoffish, overcome your nerves and try being friendly. Most people, especially freshmen, are in the same boat as you. More than likely, if you smile at someone, they will smile back. And, who knows, maybe that one smile will make their day a little better. If you want to get the most out of college, you need to break out of your shell. It may take a while, but the more you interact with people, the more comfortable you will feel.

My advice: Talk to people. When you come to college, you may feel lost and lonely. By interacting with people, you will gain friends. These friends will make you feel more “at home.”

6. Do have a healthy diet

Dining centers are great. They’re easy to get to, especially if you live in a dorm, and they give you a huge amount of options. Better yet, they’re all-you-can eat. However, with all that said, just because you can eat a limitless amount of food at every single meal, does not mean that you should. The “Freshman 15” is not just a myth. It is completely real, and present. You’re not in high school anymore, and your parents are not feeding you. You are responsible for keeping your body healthy. Having a nutritional diet is essential to maintaining a healthy body.

My advice: ISU Dining provides nutritional information for all of the items at their facilities. This information will help you keep track of what food you intake. Find a happy medium between starving yourself and overindulging. Stop when you feel full.

7. Don’t wear your backpack to every place you go

The backpack is a great invention. However, just because they are so useful and comfortable, does not mean that you should never take them off. The right place for backpacks is at school, when you are at a house party or walking down Welch Avenue, we all know you don’t have books in there. At that point, they’re tacky.

My advice: Really, just carry whatever you have in your bag. If you have too much to carry, think about leaving it at home. More than likely, if you have that much stuff, you’re probably going to lose it anyway.

8. Do learn how to do your laundry

To a novice, laundry is hard. First, you have to separate your clothes, but everyone separate their clothes differently. Some people only separate whites and darks. Others separate whites, darks, brights, reds and pinks, delicates, etc. How do you choose? Also, there are a lot of different settings on washers and dryers. You make one incorrect move, and your clothes may be ruined. Plus, you have to choose a laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, etc. Again, choose the wrong one, and your clothes may end up damaged.

My advice: Learn how to do laundry before you get to college. When you’re home, ask whoever does the laundry at your place if you can help. It’s a win-win; you get hands on experience, they get help with a household chore.

9. Do learn proper walking behavior

You learn how to walk when you’re about two years old, give or take a year. During your childhood, you will develop your own walking behavior. When you go to college, just realize that your walking behavior may be an annoyance to others near you. For instance, some people walk as if they don’t have a care in the world. For those of us who have places to be, please be kind, and move when we’re trying to pass you. There are also some people who enjoy walking in groups. When walking on a sidewalk that is only four-people-wide, please don’t walk side-by-side with your three friends.

My advice: First, take notice of how you walk. Then, look at how others walk. Look for people who cause annoyance to those around them. If you realize that something you do matches up with something they do, stop doing it.

10. Don’t be loud in the library

Remember when you were a kid, and librarians would always “shush” you whenever you were loud? Just because the librarians at Parks don’t “shush” you, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be quiet. A lot of people who go to the library go specifically to study. There are even places in the library are designated “quiet areas.” When are talking loudly, especially in “quiet areas,” this may interrupt another person’s concentration.

My advice: Just be respectful. This is really all about the golden rule: treat others how you would like to be treated. If you want people to be quiet when you are studying, then you should be quiet when others are studying.

(Posted originally on on May 31, 2011)

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