Iowa State University is well known for its rich student life. However, freshmen at Iowa State have some major struggles they must overcome before finally enjoying life as a Cyclone. Listed below are the top struggles freshmen at Iowa State should conquer as well as some tips on how to do so.

1. The Cyride system

Cyride should make sense – the busses are on a tight schedule, and the website lists every route. However, something about the bus system is hard to figure out. The busses are always packed in the middle of the day, and transfer points never have a big enough shelter from the elements. It does get better with use, but it will never make sense to have both a red bus and a cardinal bus!


2. The dining halls

One would assume dining halls would be named according to their locations- and some are. However, names such as “Storms”, “Seasons”, and “Conversations” aren’t very helpful when one doesn’t know campus at all. Many choose a favorite center and are loyal to it throughout their career as a student- making it easy to avoid the confusion.


3. Parks Library

Libraries tend to be predictable in their layouts. However, at Iowa State, it is very easy to get lost in “The Tiers”. The Tiers are the half floors between main floors with extra desks and older reference books. However, they are very difficult to find and escape from.  Many students never even stumble into the tucked away quarters, but the unfortunate ones that do may be lost forever!

Library-Landing4. Finding the bathrooms

The newer buildings on campus have bathrooms that are very clearly marked. However, in some of the older buildings such as Ross Hall, one could wander for an hour before stumbling upon a women’s restroom. A piece of advice- find a restroom on the first day of class in each building and NEVER FORGET!


5. Lecture Halls

Having so many classmates can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a major challenge. Getting to know people in big lectures is a challenge because the 300 people who show up to class each day is constantly changing- as is the seating arrangement. Joining clubs and participating in numerous activities is the best way to escape the lost feeling of such big lecture halls.

large lecture hall

6. ELO Testing centers

Testing centers are easy to find as there are many throughout campus. However, the requirements to actually test there tend to make it more challenging. One cannot wear a watch, have a cell phone, or use their own paper. One must also swipe in and out with their ID card, knowledge of the class name, class section, professors name, and where the test is located online. It isn’t too hard, but after cramming for the test, it gets a lot harder to remember. Plus nobody seems to know what ELO stands for.


7. Sports

One of the most challenging things about being a Cyclone fan is never knowing how a season or game might go. Football is especially bad- two minutes left in the game and the tides will still change drastically. One has to get used to numerous losses and constantly riding an emotional rollercoaster- and good luck knowing all of the cheers!


Being an Iowa State student offers many opportunities as well as many challenges. However, one would be hard-pressed to find a graduate who didn’t think the journey was worth it. Anyone can overcome these struggles with a little bit of common sense, persistence, and a few close friends alongside them.


Sydney Fink

Public Relations Major. Business Minor. Avid writer, reader, dog lover, and traveler.

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