Seniors share advice and stories about their time in the state of Iowa – Iowa State Daily

From regrets to lessons to hopes, these Iowa State University grads shared their Cyclone experiences before they graduated.

Colton Carlson, Major in Software Engineering

At first he said he was overwhelmed, but soon realized college wasn’t that bad.

“If you treat it like a job, it’s not that bad, and you can do whatever you want most nights,” Carlson said. “I went out almost every night last semester and still ended up on the dean’s list, so I don’t know. People just exaggerate how hard it is and then they drink all day and get surprised.”

Due to COVID-19, Carlson said his sophomore year was the worst compared to his junior year when he and his friends went out a lot. Still, he said he learned many lessons.

“It’s not about what you learn in class, it’s about learning how to learn and learning what works. I put that on the tombstone,” Carlson said. “I’ve also become a lot more relaxed and tense, comfortable with myself and finding myself, which is cheesy and I hate that I just said that but it’s true.”

Colton plans to work at Citrix Systems in Florida after graduation.

Tayana Roark, Biosystems Engineering major

Coming to Iowa State University from New York City was a tough transition for Roark.

“I think I learned to like Iowa State because when I came here, I didn’t really like it,” Roark said. “I found it very slow, but I’ve learned to enjoy the slowness sometimes. It’s kind of peaceful.”

As an introvert, Roark said she’s learned to engage in many activities this year because she wants to experience what the world has to offer.

“If I wasn’t sure if I could get something or not, let’s say a job, I just wouldn’t apply,” Roark said. “But now I apply anyway, even if I feel like something is out of my reach. I just do everything because I feel like nobody else has more to offer than me.”

Roark said she plans to attend graduate school and work with nonprofits in the areas of food security and travel to learn more about herself and the viewpoints of others.

Brooklin Border, Public Relations major

Although Border has only been at Iowa State for two years, she has enjoyed her experience and almost wishes she had been there for four years.

“Being involved in things has given me the opportunity to meet my best friends, made a lot of great memories, and learned a lot, and had a lot of really cool experiences with a lot of opportunities to grow,” Border said.

From classes to new experiences, Border explained that her final year was her favorite.

“I really enjoy my classes because they are actually applied to real life situations. I’m actually able to apply everything I learn to external companies in my internships and organizations I serve,” said Border. “I also had a really great experience with SUB [Student Union Board]did Homecoming once and went to my first football game in Iowa State this semester.”

Border spoke about how she feels like she’s matured since freshman year and learned to stop caring about the minds of others as much.

“Everyone is going to have an opinion on what you do, what you wear, what you say, where you go, who you are with, and about anything and everything,” Border said. “But you know what, it literally doesn’t matter. Those people don’t matter, and all that matters is how you feel.”

Border said coming to the state of Iowa sooner rather than moving might have brought more connections, friends and opportunities. However, she said she has no regrets because she did what she thought was right at the time.

Through her internship experience, Border hopes to get involved with nonprofit organizations or event planning in the entertainment industry.

Maddie Willits, major in Graphic Design

Willits said the state of Iowa encouraged a creative mindset and willingness to enter the workforce.

The novelty of entering college, making new friends, participating in new activities, and having no restrictions made Willit his favorite as a freshman.

Staying on task and working on time is a lesson Willits said she learned in the state of Iowa, even if she occasionally waits until the last minute to get all her work done.

“I’m a lot more confident and social,” Willits said. “I’m very open to trying new things, whether it’s in my major or with new people or all sorts of things.”

Willits said she hopes to work for a good design firm for a few years, save up and possibly get out of the country.

Camdyn Zook, Major in Software Engineering

Though freshman year is the start of independence and news, Zook said his experience was neutral.

“There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad sides to the state of Iowa that I’ve come to,” Zook said. “It’s just the unknown that scares you sometimes. You want to be sure about your friend group.”

Once things were set in stone, Zook said he had started to relax. For newly arriving students, Zook recommended planning accordingly by researching your interests.

“If you look at what Iowa State has to offer, maybe you can get more out of it,” said Zook. “I looked around the state of Iowa to see what specific courses I needed to take and how to best use my time for teaching, and I was able to graduate early.”

Zook explained that he has grown to ask for help. He said he didn’t initially like asking for guidance in large lecture halls, but once he got over that fear, he started to get much better in the classroom.

If there’s one thing Zook recommends, it would be to seek out as many opportunities as possible socially and professionally, because that’s how you create a support system.

After graduating, Zook plans to work at Raytheon Technologies in Florida and possibly attend graduate school in the future.

James Mechikoff, Major in Technical Communication

When Mechikoff came to Iowa State University, he said he initially felt like a number in a crowd.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in school, and when I came, a lot of my friends kind of went to the wind,” Mechikoff said. “I was kind of isolated and confused about where I wanted to end up and felt like a number in a crowd.”

After he started hanging out more with professors and meeting new people, Mechikoff said things started to change for him.

“You will find things, but no one will ever come and drag you or save you,” Mechikoff said. “Be willing to take risks and be willing to just bet on stuff.”

Mechikoff is interested in anything related to technical communication, where he can focus on creating educational texts and communication.

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