Last Updated: July 22, 2013
Freshman year of college is big transition year. You’re basically taking off from where you spent most of your life and pioneering to a strange wilderness with new people and a new culture.
It’s also just a really great and exciting time, so we have some tips to help keep you from making the five worst mistakes a freshman can make in college:
1. Making all your decisions based on your group
When you first get to college, making friends is kind of like that pick-up football game in the beginning of Little Giants–as you meet people from orientation, your dorm, classes, the cafeteria, you continually add them to your posse until what started off as just you and your roommate morph into one unicellular amoeba. Soon, you’re not making decisions based on what you want to do or what’s best for you, but what the group decides upon. This type of decision making is the worst kind. You wind up compromising on what you really want. So yes, make friends. But, don’t let big group decision-making keep you from doing things, like, joining a club, or meeting up with friends outside your group, or even studying for class.
2. Managing your free time poorly
Acquiring free time is a power that goes to some college freshmen heads. They take the power for granted, use it unwisely; completely waste it watching reruns of Law & Order from noon till nightfall. Managing your free time is key to having a successful college career. Don’t let the free time power go to your head. The force free time is with you. Use it wisely.
3. Trying to save money by not buying textbooks
There once was girl of college age who took her studies seriously but found herself stressed out about money. Instead of deciding to skip out on things like custom-made Halloween costumes, fine dining or miscellaneous and unnecessary cute kitchen utensils, she decided that it was her books that needed to go.
“Why spend $100 on a physics book if I don’t even think physics is a great as that leather bomber jacket in the window,” she rationalized.
Perhaps she was right. After all, that leather jacket was pretty great. So, our heroine looked super stylish, the week before her huge, 70% of her total grade physics final, but, she was unfashionably late getting to the library and the last of the textbooks on the shelves were checked out.
A sad, sad story. Very preventable. If you’re short on cash, cut back elsewhere, not on your education.
4. Looking for help in the wrong places
As a college student, you’re bound to get confused or frustrated with schoolwork. That’s totally normal. The mistake that freshmen make with this issue is that they wind up looking for help in the wrong places. Like say, the Internet. Trust us, the Internet is great for things like college search and scholarship matching, but if you’re having trouble with homework or a concept from class, the best resource you have is your professor or teacher’s assistant or other classmates or the library or tutoring center or the student resource center or basically anything your school can offer! It might take a little extra effort to work around your professor’s office hours, but in the end, it will save you time.
5. Going back home too frequently
Is your mom’s meatloaf really that good? Not to offend your mom, but I’m sure you can find something comparable on your college campus. Visiting home can be relaxing and familiar, but the more you’re away from campus, the less relaxing and familiar campus will get for you. College life might be weird and uncomfortable at first, and Pete who lives across the hall from you might in fact really be pirate like you thought, but if you take too much time away from campus it will never become home. And you might miss Pete’s parrot say your name aloud.
Did we catch them all? What mistakes should college freshman be aware of? Leave a comment!
Original Post Date: July 6th, 2011