Most college kids live in the dorms for at least the first year. It is very important to understand that a dorm room isn't quite a suite at the Hilton. A dorm room is one little room in a big building that contains your entire college existence. Your bed is in there, and your desk, and your computer, and your television, and your stereo, and your dresser, and your minifridge, and your microwave, and your couch, and your phone, and your closet. All in one room. That you share with another person. You live there, you sleep there, you eat in a dining hall close to there, you study there. It.s still only one little room. Everything you own is in there, so it can get messy from time to time. A dorm room will not clean itself, but I swear that once I had my back turned and it dirtied itself. The scariest part is, no matter how disorganized and disorderly you are, and no matter what your room used to be like in high school, you will at some point get the urge to clean your dorm room. Since so many aspects of your life are played out here every day, you will eventually want it cleaned. And, on top of it all, remember that it.s one little room with all your stuff, that you share with someone you might not have known before you got here. Have fun.
When you are at college, you will do an awful lot of walking. During my first weekend here, I ate a couple of meals in the dorm across the field from mine. It's about 100 yards away, and on that first weekend it was like I was asked to cross the Swiss Alps just to get a meal. Now, though, there is no place I go on a regular basis that is any closer. During my morning walk to physics, that I'm well past that dorm before I even have to turn to the next sidewalk. In Bondurant, I drove my truck less than five minutes away from my house every single day. Not only was that all the further I could trust taking it, that.s all the further away the school was from my house. My closest class this semester, Calculus II, is a longer walk than the haul from 9th Court to Garfield Street. The furthest building I go to, which is the aerospace building and has our exclusive computer labs, is about fifteen minutes away. Even so, I think I go there more often than I went to one of the rooms in my basement at home.
Unless you.re living off-campus, you.re going to sign up for room and board. You.ll get to say which area you prefer to live in, and you.ll get to sign up for a "meal plan" from "dining services." That's just a fancy way of saying that you're buying "food service." And that's just a fancy way of saying you're now going to eat school food 20 times a week instead of 5. People will tell you that food service really isn't all that bad, and I agree. However, I can't really think of anywhere I would like to eat 20 times in one week. That being said, here are some other points about food service: 1. Meals are an all-you-can-eat format. That does not mean they are eat-all-you-can. In my brother's words, "For the first two weeks you'll eat like a king. Then you'll realize that you.ll be having the same food for a whole year." 2. There's a wide selection of Coca-Cola products available during every meal. Within a month, you.ll usually be taking two or three glasses of milk instead. 3. All food served is to remain in the dining room and be eaten there. Just kidding! 4. Iowa State also has these things called Dining Dollar$. In addition to your meals, you get fifty dollars every semester on your card. These can be used in exactly two places: dining centers and c-stores. You can buy an overpriced meal for your friends or family, if they come visit you and want to eat at food service. Or, you can buy sundry food items from the c-store. The c-store is essentially a gas station without the pumps - not the most economical place to spend money. And of course, if you don't use your dollar$ for any over-priced food, they expire at the end of the year.
Books are expensive. You have probably heard this before, however, unlike poking your best friend with a stick when he's having a bad day, I can't possibly stress this too much: books are expensive. This semester, I have a grand total of ten books for the four classes I.m in. Calculus was the least painful class to purchase for. The same book is good for Calculus I, Calculus II, and Calculus III. Unfortunately, the one-time purchase price was a hearty 140 clams. The back of the book includes the answers to the odd problems from the end of each section. However, if you'd like a more complete (I didn't say it's always totally complete, but at least more complete) version of how to get to the answers, and of course only the odds again, the Solutions Manual will be another 30 . thank you, come again. Books are expensive. My catch-all class (FORTRAN computer language, drafting, CAD, numerical methods, etc.) also only requires one book at the low low price of 30 bones. On the flip side, this book is only needed for half a dozen class periods. Books are expensive. English, required for graduation but not really my major, has expensive tastes. The style guide, which you might want to keep for the rest of your academic career too, sets you back a good twenty United States dollars. The other two books are a book of readings (essays, short stories, poems) and a book about writing strategy and methodology. Depending on which books your professor likes, these are priced variously at twenty to forty George Washingtons each. Books are expensive. Physics has a lot of examples involving books dropping, sliding, sitting, and flying. This is because there are plenty of books to go around for physics. The textbook itself is in two volumes; apparently they couldn't squeeze it all into one. There's even a third volume with new quantum physics concepts, if you're into that kind of thing. Thankfully it's not required. The lab manual, a book which consists of about half a ream's worth of paper, stacked, 3-hole punched, and shrink-wrapped, is absolutely required, and is used up during the semester. On top of this, a "tutorial" book is needed for recitation periods, a book that is only sold in tandem with another book that the department does not use. All together, you could blow two c-notes ($200) on books for this class. Books are expensive. Used books are a decent way to go, with several exceptions. You can.t always find the book you need used, and then you.re stuck with paying the full price. My econ book was printed in the summer of 2002, and not only knew that 9/11 happened, but discussed the effects of it on the economy. So, if your book is updated, you're stuck with paying the full price. And sometimes a book hasn't just been used, it's been dog-eared, highlighted in five colors, underlined, raunchy love notes written in the margins, and left outside for a week in the rainy season in Brazil. Unless you really don't mind these features, you're probably stuck with paying the full price. Books are expensive.
Lectures are scheduled either two or three days of the week, depending on the class. You can even go to every single one, and take notes, and try to absorb the information. But you don't have to. If you'd rather sleep until lunch instead of getting up, showering, getting prettied up for the day, eating a quick breakfast, reading the daily newspaper, than walking through the snow flurries out there, you're free to do so. Your professor won't mark you as absent, and you could probably get the notes from a friend who did decide to go. You will see your share of people who decide that there's other things to do instead of going to class, like instant messaging some guy in Kazakhstan, or playing thirty more minutes of Game Cube. Get to know these people during your first semester, because most of them will be gone next semester.
On the first day of class, you'll get a syllabus, and a list of "suggested homework." This is essentially a laundry list of problems from the textbook, often without the benefit of listing the right answers. These problems are often very difficult, and cover everything from lecture, and maybe more. But the deal is, you don't have to do them! There's no regular homework that's due every class period, unless your TA (teaching assistant) decides to assign some. Otherwise, you don.t have to worry about homework, and all you'll have is a few tests and quizzes. But what to study? Aye then, there's the rub. There's only so much staring at the textbook you can do before nothing more sinks in. A lot of the concepts are easy to follow when the textbook does them, but impossible to come up with by yourself. So that's what you do to study. The long list of problems from the book, sometimes without answers, that you don.t even have to turn in. And you will lock yourself into a corner of the library, working on them until you understand.
At Iowa State, we have a bus system called CyRide. As of this year, every student gets free fare on all of the buses. This is great, because you can get to the mall, or Target, or the 12-plex, or wherever, all free of charge. There are also the campus circulators. These are, as advertised, buses that just drive around campus. They are also the bane of Iowa State. Even on the nicest days, they are generally full about when classes are starting and letting out. If the weather takes any sort of turn for the worse, there are extra buses added to the route, and all of them are standing room only. The only problem is that most of these people are riding the bus for what.s a five, or maybe ten-minute walk. Some people go only one or two stops, then get off. And I.m sure that somewhere, there are some students who ride the bus a short distance to the rec center, so that they can walk. Having free bus service to faraway places is great, but these other uses must stop.
Every class will have a syllabus, and handouts, and assignments, and quizzes, and notes, and study guides for upcoming tests, and reference sheets, and so on. Additionally, you will have all sorts of other handouts and information from places other than classes. Unless you want to spend half an hour looking through every drawer of your desk, and in your bag, and on the dresser, and in the closet, you need to learn some organizational skills.
There's a thing you might have to do that's called studying. It's hard to say exactly what studying is, but there are some general activities that might qualify. Reading your textbook, reviewing notes, doing practice problems, and discussing the material with someone else in the class are good examples. And of course, to get a good grade in the class, you will need to study two hours for every hour of class.
Various professors will recommend various amounts of studying for every hour of class you have. There will be the text to read, and practice problems to do, and assignments, and papers to write. That's a lot to do in one day. Unfortunately, that is a lot, and that's for one class, not the four you will have.
You'll be in your room during the day from time to time with nothing to do. At night, though, you might be doing something, or going somewhere, or taking a test, or studying. As such, you might find yourself watching more and more daytime TV, and less and less of the primetime TV you never used to be able to miss.
In high school, dances and basketball and football games are big social events, and lots of people talk about them. I don't even know of any dances that were held this year. A lot of students go to football games, but even more don't. And basketball games are attended by only a few hundred out of thirty thousand.
Though it's still not necessary to have a computer in your own room, the computer itself is indispensable. All of your professors and TAs have your email address, in case there are any class announcements. Other organizations on campus, and other people you meet, will also have your email address, if they need to contact you. In engineering especially, there is a lot of programming and graphic design, and English classes have several papers assigned every semester. In my physics class, homework is completed and submitted entirely electronically. There are also a lot of services and accounts that operate only electronically. You don.t have to own a computer, but you will use it more for more useful things than you.ve ever imagined.
You might have been towards the top of your class in high school, and be very intelligent compared to people from your hometown. But no matter what, there will be lots of people who are a whole lot smarter than you.
The human body requires some minimum amount of sleep every so often, like 8 hours out of every 24. If you.re not getting this much, your body will take over and make sure that you do get enough sleep. Usually while you're reading econ.
Textbook writers are experts in their own field, not authors. As such, what makes sense to them may be way beyond your ability for information you.ve never heard before and are trying to learn. That's too bad, you'll have to read it again.
If the courses you're taking have what.s called an SI session for them, go to them. These are study sessions that anyone enrolled in the class can go to, led by an older student in that field. Courses are given SI sessions if there is an unusually large rate of poor grades associated with that course. It's basically a free tutor combined with a study group. And the research on them says that students who attend regularly do better in the class.
That guy down the hall really does like that music, and he really does need it to be that loud. If you look in his room, he's actually studying.
If you look hard enough, you.ll find a 15-year-old taking classes. You might also find a 60-year-old. This is completely normal.
ATTENTION PLEASE: Child pornography is bad. Do not look up child pornography on your dorm-room computer. When you get connected to the network, your computer.s location and identification number are recorded. When the computer gnomes who run the network figure out that someone.s looking at child porn, they can track down you and your computer. Iowa State has a file sharing system on campus that's twenty times better than KaZaA, as long as someone has the file. You should get a healthy folder of mp3's from the network, but do not use it to look up child porn. If you do get caught, Iowa State.s daily paper will publish your name and picture on the front page. It's already happened more than once this year.