Freshman Mistakes: Ten Freshie Flubs and How Not to Make Them
College is a time of newfound freedom and adventure – which leaves a lot of room for error. Make sure you do it up right! These 10 freshman mistakes are common ones that can put a damper on the fun:
1. Playing too much
So you’re fresh out of high school –and possibly your folks’ house – and no one knows or cares when you go out and when you come home. Perfect, right?! The problem will be that morning class you signed up for…and then the one after lunch. And then that other one later, before dinner. If you’re out late AND drinking, that’s a recipe for sleeping all day on The Day After, and this means you miss classes and productive study time. Don’t do yourself wrong like that. Limit your revelry to reasonable times and quantities.
2. Playing too little
Don’t just sit home all alone! Even though you’ll need to keep a check on your party levels, this is a great time to meet new people and form lasting friendships. Aside from the obvious pleasures of having friends to hang out with, bring you soup when you’re sick, give you a ride or spot you a five until payday, these college students you surround yourself with are, like you, growing into adults who will have jobs and will widen your career network considerably. Your college no doubt has many clubs, sports and organizations that will get you out there and meeting people.
Some people (like me) work best on a deadline. But the adrenaline of fear, no matter how motivational, is not sorcery, and time cannot be bent to allow for what should have been weeks of research to include in your paper that is due by midnight tonight. Procrastinating brings the quality of your work down and your stress levels up. Budget your time and chip away at those big projects so that they don’t leave you in a broken heap of trouble.
4. Junky eating
Ah, the sweet taste of freedom! Where is Mom now with her healthy eating advice – nay – DEMANDS? Nowhere near enough to stop you from ordering and devouring that pizza at midnight. All of it. You have donuts for breakfast – if you don’t skip it all together. You eat your weight in Twizzlers and guzzle soda. These indulgences are not only the cause of the infamous “freshman fifteen”, but also make you feel just plain bad. If you want to be in decent physical, mental and emotional form, then eat a piece of fruit sometime! Have some salad with that cheeseburger. Drink plenty of water. Your body and your report card will thank you.
5. Being a lone wolf
Listen: We know you’re cool. You aced high school without even studying! But college will, let’s just say, require a bit more effort from you. You’ll be, at times, so bogged down or maybe just boggled, that you’ll feel paralyzed. But you are not alone. Your college offers learning resources like tutoring, so pay attention at orientation (or just check the website) and find out where to go and when. When it’s time to look for a job or internship, check with your college’s Career Services department and see what they have to offer. Check in with your advisor before registering for class. All the resources for your success are already in place – you just need to use them.
6. Skipping class
Don’t forget why you’re actually AT college. It’s definitely not to skip it because you’re embroiled in a streaming binge. Go. To. Class. There will be time to binge when the work is done.
7. Skipping ahead to major courses
So confident in your career selection that you just go ahead and sign up for some classes required for your major, instead of taking pesky old comp or algebra? Don’t be crazy: take the core stuff FIRST. You never know how many times you’ll wind up changing your major (three times here), and you can season your schedule with interesting electives to keep you baited. This is where good advising comes in. Your advisor knows what is required for your major, and will guide you on a path that doesn’t waste your time or money.
8. Disrespecting your roomie
Perhaps you are only just finding out in college that you are not the center of the universe – especially if you have a roommate. Having a roommate means wiping the seat, not eating their food, using your headphones and not hosting a midnight party on a Tuesday night. Be respectful of the person who is sharing what is probably a very small space with you.
Congrats if you have a debit or credit card that magically works and replenishes itself. Or perhaps you have two jobs. Maybe you are living on financial aid. Whatever your source of income, it’ll serve you well to NOT go crazy with the spending when the only barrier, aside from credit limits and account balances, is your own good sense. If you budget yourself, your hard earned money will be there when you need it, your parents will think you are a saint and your loan payment after graduation will be much less intrusive on your starter salary budget.
Social media – it makes giants and ruins lives. Please remember that your professors and bosses – both current and future – can see what you have going on there. Pretty much forever; even if you delete it later. Before you put something out there that could hurt your reputation or chances in life, just ask yourself if you’d be ok with this being on the front page of the newspaper that your grandma is about to read.
Don’t forget to have fun and learn lots in college, but remember that you’re responsible for yourself – so take care of YOU.