Freshman year of college is a huge transitional period of time for many people. It is a drastic change from high school and a different approach to schooling that many people might not be familiar with. While some may still be used to the precise schedule that came in the earlier stages of school, college allows a lot more freedom in terms of choosing your own schedule and having control over what classes you take. Here is a list of common freshman mistakes to avoid in college in order to have a successful year!
Don’t Feel Pressured to Pick a Major Right Away
It may feel tempting to go into college with a major in mind—if you’ve already discovered your path and know exactly what you want to do, that is amazing! However, for a lot of people, they might be on the fence as to what they want to study. The great thing is that there’s no rush in picking a major until you get towards the end of your sophomore year.
Find solace in knowing that you’ll most likely be taking prerequisites and standard 101 classes your freshman year, so enjoy testing the waters when it comes to electives. You’ll figure out your path as you get further along in your college career.
Whether you’re confused as to where your classes are, or if you’re lost during your lessons, always ask questions when you have them. It’s normal to want to figure things out on your own, and strive to do that when you can; but when you find yourself unable to answer your own questions, it is vitally important to ask others for help. You will save yourself so much hassle in the long run if you ask for help early on, rather than trying to scramble at the last minute for assistance.
Visit Office Hours
Office hours are an important resource to use during the semester. Professors are required to set aside office hours for their students to come to during the semester; some have an open-door, first come first serve, policy while others like to schedule students so there aren’t long lines outside of their office.
As you transition from high school-level work to college-level work during freshman year, it is always a great idea to talk to your professors to see what they expect from you as a student. This is another great way to network with your professors and leave a lasting impression with them, which will be helpful when you find yourself needing letters of recommendation during your later college years.
Utilize Campus Resources
There are handfuls of resources to use on campus, wherever you go for school. Visit the writing center if you are struggling with papers and other written assignments. Visit career services as soon as you can so you know where to look for internships and job opportunities through your school.
Talk to advisors about scholarship opportunities, and ask your professors about their field of studies and experiences if you’re uncertain of what fields to study or work in. You’re paying a lot of money to go to college, so you might as well get as much as you can from your time there.
Choose Electives That You’ll Like When Your Schedule Allows
Typically your freshman year is taking required 101’s and any prerequisites that your major/minor calls for (if you’ve already declared them). Otherwise, fill any free spaces with electives that you think you’ll enjoy, or that will keep your attention to make the semester seem less of a drag. If you’re lucky, some of the electives will count towards your long-term graduation requirements, so you can check off multiple things at once.
RENT YOUR TEXTBOOKS
During your freshman year, it may be tempting to buy all of your textbooks either before the semester starts or during the first few days. Let me tell you this right now, unfortunately, the majority of the assigned textbooks you’ll get will go unused. Your best bet is to rent your textbooks through your school store for low prices and return them at the end of the semester.
Buy the titles you think you’ll want to hang onto after college, or ones that you enjoyed enough to add to your own collection of books. Otherwise, save yourself the extra money and rent as many books as you can.
The final, and the most important, mistake we tend to make is getting too wrapped up in the stresses and tribulations that semesters bring; especially during our freshman year when we feel the most out of our element. College is a great experience if you’re privileged enough to go, and can really steer you on the path of your dreams.
Choose to study what you want, and not what is expected of you or what others want you to study. Make your college years the most enjoyable and growth-filled years of your life.