The 411 on IFS - Intensive Freshman Seminars at Indiana University


Those of you participating in IFS this summer/think you may in the future, good grief, please read this.

All of it.

I mean it.

Intensive Freshman Seminars... also known simply as "IFS."

For those of you that signed up for this program, congratulations.

You just put yourself way ahead of the game as far as freshman year goes.

By the end of IFS... You'll know campus, you'll have met people and made friends, and you'll have earned college credit. 1000 points to you, for being an awesome Hoosier.

I cannot RAVE enough about this program. At IFS, I met the most amazing people, had the best roommate, class, AI/TA, professor, and experience ever. No, completely serious.

Oh my goodness, where do I even start?

Let's explain the program.

IFS used to be three weeks long, but it has now been shortened to two weeks.

That does not mean that you miss out on a week of fun. It just means less projects and papers to crank out.

Just make your time at IFS count!

You can now bill it to your bursar instead of the expense being a separate chunk of money entirely.

I would say this is super convenient because it is easy and not a hassle at all. 

Also, this year, IFS students with be staying in Foster, not in Wright (like last year when I did it.)

Now your schedule, dear ones, will be different. Everyone's schedule is different because classes were all over campus. And you all will be living in Foster, not in Wright.

SO. For those of you participating in IFS this summer, here is some advice.

  • PACKING. Do not make the mistake I did and over pack. I seriously brought everything I needed with me for the entire fall to IFS. Big, stupid mistake. Unless you won't be going home between moving out of IFS housing in Foster and into your dorm for the year. In that case, bring it all.
    • Have enough clothes for two weeks, bring some extra clothes to get dirty in, and even buy some white t-shirts. I'm sure there will be tie-dyeing going on, so you'll be glad you had them ahead of time.
    • Have some good tennis shoes because you'll do a lot of walking, but also pack a nice outfit for the IFS banquet.
    • Swim suit, towels, all your toiletries, flip flops, lots of light clothing for summer.
    • A comforter, sheets, a good pillow, maybe even a body pillow.
    • An extension cord and good power strip, a lamp or light, a box fan, hangers, totes if you like, some stuff to decorate your room, a laundry bag, a microwave and/or fridge if you like and can manage. Someone is bound to have a microwave or fridge on your floor if it isn't you, and if not, keep searching floors until you find someone that does!
      • My roommate and I ended up with two mini fridges in our room and it was hilarious but super convenient. Her fridge was for food, mine was for drinks and popsicles. Everyone on your floor will want to be your best friend if you have popsicles in the scorching heat of Bloomington in August.

Sometimes, you buy a watermelon and don't know what to do with it. But our room was very well kept.
  • LEAVING HOME. I was actually terrified of leaving home, I'll admit it. The idea of college, while some embrace it, I was having a major panic attack on the way to IFS. Not only did my family leave late, I was late for my check in time, and late to my first meeting with my IFS professor and class. So while I walked in, breathless and looking like a fool, I just took a seat and my family unpacked our car and then showed up.
    • So plan ahead, make sure you have everything you need, and don't panic. IFS is a wonderful experience, and you will love it. Your floor and your class becomes somewhat like a family, and after a few days, you won't even miss home. What, Mom? What was that? Who are you? Exactly. Just let go of any sort of anxiety you have and start living your life as a college student.

My class was too busy jumping in the Showalter Fountain and crossing things off our IU Bucket List to worry about being homesick!
  • TIME MANAGEMENT. Get with the program, Hoosiers. You will feel so much better if you get all your work out of the way beforehand. Otherwise, you will be up until 4 AM Skyping with a friend and be up until 6 AM finishing your final paper. It isn't a fun or happy place to be up that late working. Then again, welcome to college. So !et your work done before you have fun. Just please, for me, and yourself, manage your time wisely and get your work done because there are so many fun activities and trips and things to do during IFS that you will want to participate in and you don't want to miss. So I would say after your class, get lunch with your class and then buckle down on homework. Odds are everyone else will be working on their assignments at the same time, so if you leave your doors open, you can yell to each other, but keep it respectful. You could take a nap, go work out at the SRSC, take a walk down to Kirkwood, play some tennis or basketball, or anything else you can think of. But really think about making your work your primary focus.
    • Remember that IFS counts for college credit. My horrid procrastination earned me a C in my IFS class and screwed over my GPA for the rest of the school year. I missed out on a few opportunities because I had under a 3.0. SO please, guys, learn from me, and keep on top of things.

I took this picture! This was the night where everyone went out except for me because I procrastinated!
  • CLASSMATES. You will be living on the same floor with them, more than likely, and possibly even other classes as well. While you may not get along with everyone and some people may turn out to be crazy, live and learn about living with people. You get a taste of the dorm experience before you actually start living it. So that's awesome. I absolutely loved my IFS class, and I still talk to a good portion of them. These people could possibly be the best friends you will ever have in college, so get to know them.
    • A story that I love is that I met a girl at what I think was Red Carpet Days, or something. I was sitting with my mom on a bench in Wright and her dad noticed my name tag, recognized my last name, and started up a conversation. As it would turn out, we ended up in the same IFS class right across the hall from each other. And to top it all off, on my sorority's bid night, we ended up in the same house. It is so crazy to think that fate has such a sense of humor, but I hope you will love and bond with your class as much as I loved and bonded with mine. Just keep and open mind and an open heart... NOT A HALLMARK CARD, but be friendly!

The girls in my class (plus one!) These ladies were so amazing, such a blast to live with. I miss them so!
  • ROOMMATES. My IFS roommate and I could not have been more different. But I am so glad that we were paired together. She was and still is a country girl, and I most certainly am not. We actually turned out to be very similar in our values, but her study habits were way better than mine during IFS. We had so much fun together and she was probably the best roommate ever. The shenanigans we got into were absolutely ridiculous. Pranks galore. But our whole class was a good sport. I love love LOVE her to pieces, and she is one of my best and first friends I had at IU. I am so grateful to have had her as my roommate, and to have shared so many crazy IFS experiences with her.
    • During the last week of IFS, we were all sick of Wright food so a couple of girls on our floor piled into my roommate's car and drove to her hometown to have dinner. Her family was amazing, and I love them, and I could go on for days about how awesome this girl is. Bottom line: try to get to know your roommate. They could turn out to be the most amazing friend you never thought you would have!

Took this one on the night we shipped out of Btown in search of real food! ROAD TRIP! So much fun.
  • PROFESSOR. The professor chosen to teach IFS courses are outstandingly awesome. No, I mean it. My professor was so fascinating and I wanted to be her because she was so cool. If your professor holds some sort of office hours, go to them. Get to know them because they are amazing individuals. They teach at IU for a reason. I'm taking class with my IFS professor in the fall, and I am so excited. Also, go out of your way to do what your professor asks of you. In college, you don't really have a choice. It's the professor's way, or the highway. For my final paper, I pitched my idea. I changed it to what I thought my professor wanted, and it turned out that she didn't care for my paper at all. It was probably also a crap paper, but I did try. That's the thing.
    • GO ABOVE AND BEYOND EXPECTATIONS. I did average work in the class, and I ended up with an average grade, a C. While that might be unheard of for an IFS class, from other IFS folks I have talked to, know that it is possible and it would be in your best interest to remember that you are at IFS to earn college credit. So get to know your professor and do your best work by going above and beyond.

Our class jumped in the fountain after the banquet, with our professor! And she was the one that suggested that we should! I am telling you, IFS professors are crazy awesome.
  • TA/AI and RA. Be best friends with them. My TA was so awesome, and we all loved her. She was really helpful, and could even break things down into a way where it was easier to follow when it came to our professor's comments on our papers and assignments. Also, the RAs are all really nice. Just remember to keep the dance parties at midnight to a respectful minimum...
    • My floor broke out into a Mamma Mia dance party one night, just because. And there was even an evening where a group started running around to every floor to grab people and join them in a rave in an RA's room. So freaking awesome. The TAs and RAs are probably having just as much fun as you are with IFS, so be nice and be friends with them.

Myself, my lovely TA, and a darling classmate of mine at the IFS banquet. Dress fancy, Hoosiers!
  • ACTIVITIES. There will be so much to do at IFS, it will make your head spin. You will probably be given a calendar of everything and then some on it. I would suggest circling what you think you would like to do and then put it next to your door or on your desk. There will be a lot of things to do, there may even be things that you have to sign up for. So make sure you sign up for what you want to as soon as you can. My favorite event would have to be Coffeehouse. It's basically an awesome talent show for IFS students and staff. There was some major talent last year. During the second week, I managed to make myself perform "Taylor, The Latte Boy." I was SO nervous, but my class sat in front and cheered me on the whole time. Do fun things! Tie-dyeing, ice cream socials, Zumba, sex bingo! PARTICIPATE.
    • Even something as simple as bringing a game of Apples to Apples with you to IFS can open so many doors. On the first night of IFS, I had most of my floor, my roommate for the fall, and a couple of people that I met through Facebook in my room playing the game until about midnight. We all had so much fun, and who doesn't love Apples to Apples!?

Roommate loved tie-dye (see comforter). Kind of went crazy with the t-shirts. But look at our drying setup!
  • DRINKING. This is probably the biggest issue for me. Guys... You are seriously only in the program for two weeks. You can go two weeks without alcohol. If you do drink in the dorms, you will get busted. The RAs and TAs will find you. It happened last year. I believe at least four people got busted. So grow up, do your work, and be responsible by not drinking.
    • Also, might I suggest getting Alcohol EDU out of the way as a floor or a class? Just have everyone keep your doors open, and suffer through it together. It's a necessary evil, but it can be fun if you get a group of people together to do it. Educate yourself and be safe!
Who needs alcohol when you have the best and most fun IFS class ever?! DON'T DRINK.

Here are a few more photographs of IFS shenanigans!

Trip to WonderLab. I'm pretty sure we were more excited about the bubbles than the actual children.

Remember those random dance parties? Sometimes, it turns into climbing doorways. Welcome to IFS.

Well neither I nor my roommate brought a cutting board. Makeshift watermelon operation? So delicious.

My roommate's favorite thing to do during IFS was get her keys stuck in her car door. Happened often!

My best Jack Nicholson in The Shining, but with a stapler. I needed more staples. And I was wearing pants!
Sometimes, you mention on the first day of introductions that your last name got made fun of in high school. And sometimes, a classmate is really good with Photoshop... Finished product and my lasting nickname.

SO. Best of luck to you participating in IFS this summer, and I encourage future Hoosiers to do it too!

All my Hoosier love,


About The Author
Emmalie ReifTelecommunications Major, Herman B Wells Library employee, WTIU Intern, Indiana Men's Basketball Team's Biggest Fan

Class of 2015

From Lafayette, Indiana.

Telecommunications major.

Minor in Theatre.

Usher for IU Auditorium, IU Cinema, and IU Theatre & Drama department.

Work with IU's Radio and Television Services.

I love nectarines, yoga, dogs, movies, New York City, the state of California, winter, Broadway cast albums, elephants, mountains, oceans, and night skies.