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Ames-imaniacs: Good Idea, Bad Idea

Students moved back to campus this past week and it’s insanity. Here’s some free advice to make getting acquainted with Ames a little easier.

It's time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea graphikdeCYner

Ah, college. A time to make questionable decisions and gain some perspective on life. These simple tips will help anyone get a few steps closer to a successful adventure at Iowa State.

The Basics

Good Idea: Bring your backpack and keys with you to campus.

Bad Idea: Bring your Destination Iowa State backpack and lanyard to class.

Nothing will call attention to your noob status more than wandering around campus with your free drawstring backpack and Destination Iowa State lanyard.

Good Idea: Know which buildings your classes are in.

Bad Idea: Walk to class with your campus map out.

Take some time the night before your classes to figure out which buildings they’re in. There will be friendly Cyclones out and about the first week of classes to help direct you to the buildings you need. If all else fails, just walk around with your phone out and search the building in Google Maps. You’ll blend in perfectly.

Good Idea: Hitting the streets on CyRide.

Bad Idea: Getting hit on the streets by CyRide.

Cy shows us a good idea and bad idea for interacting with the CyRide bus system

The CyRide bus system is a great way to get to class and get around Ames. It should go without saying, but be sure to pay attention to your surroundings, particularly at street crossings. Campus is busier than ever with foot, bicycle, and vehicle traffic. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no free tuition if you try to throw down with CyRide.


Good Idea: Campaniling at midnight.

Bad Idea: Campaniling at noon.

Campaniling at midnight is a romantic way to show Iowa State-style affection for your special someone. Campaniling at noon is a creepy throwback to making out in the halls in high school and will ruin the noon concert for everyone on Central Campus. You’ve got a dorm room. Put a sock on the doorknob just like everyone else.

Good Idea: Knowing the fight song and proudly singing it.

Bad Idea: Proudly singing the fight song in Parks Library.

Iowa State Fights is the best fight song ever written. Period. Just don’t shout it in Parks Library where people are trying to study or enjoy some quiet time. Unless you enjoy garnering the hate of the smartypants of campus.

Good Idea: Reading your zodiac’s horoscope in the ISU Daily.

Bad Idea: Walking across the Zodiac in the MU.

The ISU Daily is the student newspaper for campus that will help keep you up-to-date on university news and campus activities. There is usually other fun stuff on the horoscope page of the paper, even if the Just Sayin’s no longer print. The Zodiac is a big piece of art on the floor in the entry of the MU. You can take your chances and walk on it, but you’ll definitely fail your next test.

Good Idea: Getting acquainted with the campus swans, Lancelot and Elaine.

Bad Idea: Swimming with Lancelot and Elaine.

Cy demonstrates good and bad ways to meet Lancelot and Elaine

They may be pretty, but man are they assholes. Lake LaVerne’s resident swans patrol the lake, chasing off geese and students just looking for a good selfie opportunity. Though water quality has improved in the last few years, I still wouldn’t recommend swimming in the lake.

Advanced Tips

Good Idea: Go to WelcomeFest and ClubFest.

Bad Idea: Join every club at ClubFest.

WelcomeFest connects students with local businesses and campus organizations and departments and is a great way to get a whole bunch of free stuff. And I mean a BUNCH. ClubFest showcases ISU’s many student organizations and clubs. With over 900 to choose from, joining them all is guaranteed to end in a bad time.

Good Idea: Cheering along with the ISUCF’V’MB during Cowbell.

Bad Idea: Playing an actual cowbell during Cowbell.

The ISU Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band has a great selection of cheers and crowd engaging cadences, including one called Cowbell. Wave your arms, drunkenly yell “woooooo!”, definitely request the drumline go faster, and, if you’re really good, know the tag at the end. There’s no place for an actual cowbell in this ISU hype machine.

Good Idea: Making the most of your meal plan.

Bad Idea: Only ever eating in a dining hall.

Ames has a lot of great dining options to be found beyond the borders of campus. Get out and explore the Main Street Cultural District, West Town, and Somerset.

Have some other Cyclone Good Idea, Bad Ideas? Leave them in the comments!