Okay, there’s always things you wish you knew going into your Freshman Year of college. Being the odd man (woman?) out is never fun. I am here to save you the embarrassment, my friends. Let’s dive into some common mistakes every SUNY Cortland freshman makes.
1. Wearing your lanyard around your neck.
Wearing your keys, ID, etc. around your neck is basically like wearing a blinking sign saying “I”M A FRESHMAN.” Unless you want to draw attention, avoid doing this! Being known as a Freshman is not fun. You don’t get special treatment or love because you’re new. It’s high school all over again and you’re at the bottom of the food chain and it is hell and you’re on fire because you’re in hell. Put your keys in your backpack, I beg of you.
2. Thinking that an 8 a.m. is a good idea.
You and I both know you don’t want to even go to your 1:00 class, so why lie to yourself and say you’ll be fine getting up for anything before then? You think you will have the energy, the willpower and all that jazz, BUT IT’S A TRAP. Though you don’t have much say in your fall semester schedule, take advantage of add/drop week! There may be several sections of one or more of your courses. You could potentially change your 8:30 a.m. into a 10:05 a.m.
3. Using up your dining dollars too fast!!
Every SUNY Cortland student living on campus that has a meal plan has the same unlimited access to the two dining halls on campus-this means unlimited swipes all day every day! If you want to go and eat 10 times a day (I don’t advise this), you can! The only difference between the different meal plans available is the amount of dining dollars (actual $$ you can use at the different eateries on campus and some places in town, too) offered. The most dining dollars one can have on a meal plan is $425 for the semester while the least amount of dining dollars is $25 per semester. While blowing your dollars on Subway when the lunch/dinner at either dining hall doesn’t sound appetizing may seem like a smart decision at the time, just realize this will quickly become a habit at more than just Subway. We know you want to have it your way or something like that, but take it easy.
4. Not being smart about fake ID’s.
Word of mouth travels fast. And I mean FAST. If you decide to let an upperclassmen in your building screw you over by collecting $100 from your anxious little Freshman hands, just know you probably won’t get the ID or your money back. Also, don’t get so excited that you’re screaming about it at all hours of the day. Someone is always listening! Another thing to be wary about is using it. While I don’t recommend getting one, if you’re going to use your fake ID, be careful! Stone is the well-known, go-to bar for SUNY Cortland students. They know you’re underage. Last Friday, the local police issued 27 tickets for fake ID’s just in Stone.
5. Not getting enough sleep.
Sleep is crucial for a college student’s success. Most days us college kids want to curl up in a ball with our Netflix and pizza rolls and never leave our beds. The proper amount of sleep helps immensely. It gives us better performance in our classes, allows for improvement of mood and more. Pulling all-nighters constantly is never a good idea. It may help to study extra, but it will end up hindering your performance because of lack of sleep. I know you want to watch just one more episode, but your body will soon reflect those sleepless nights.
6. Underestimating Cortland winters.
Cortland is located in Central New York. This means a beautiful fall season and a TREACHEROUS winter season. As I sit here writing this, we are being attacked by a storm which has just about everyone being blown around campus like Mary Poppins. Most people that have never been on campus or around the area believe it to be somewhat of a myth, but would I ever lie to you? We’re friends and I have the FACTS.
You can pretty much wait until you go home for Thanksgiving break to gather your tundra garb, but come back prepared with a warm jacket and nice boots made for the snow. Notice how I didn’t say Uggs. I brought mine here from home and I ended up buying different boots with actual tread on the bottom anyways. Uggs are fashionable when it starts to get colder, but once the white stuff is on the ground, they are not your friend.
7. Not dropping a class.
You may be a bit confused by the title of this one, but it’s exactly what you’re thinking! One important thing I learned is if a certain class turns out not to be what you anticipated/expected and you know it will only hurt your GPA to stay in it, drop that shit like it’s hot! (Try to do it during add/drop though so you can still replace it with another course.)
8. Trying to do it all.
In high school I juggled school, extracurriculars, my role as Class President, my position in many societies and clubs, a social life and time with family and I was miserable. I decided that in college I would make my studies my main priority as I always have and I could add in extras as I saw fit, as long as they didn’t overwhelm me. I advise you to do the same! Don’t push yourself to the point of a breakdown because you can’t juggle everything you’ve piled onto your plate.
9. Not treating every class like it’s mandatory.
Whether it’s a huge lecture with over 100 students or one with 45 or less students, each professor has his/her own attendance policy. Even if they tell you they could care less if you attend as long as you are present for exams, go anyways. It will benefit you in the end. It will help you understand the material better than simply reading the textbook on your own and some professors even reward the students who never miss/rarely miss lectures. This can bump your final grade up a whole letter or more! Goodbye C’s get degrees, hello B-‘s get degrees, am I right?
10. Drinking the punch at a frat party.
This is a huge no-no. I’ve heard stories (some from my own friends) of people (girls specifically) being very messed up from drinking the punch that those horny little frat boys mix up to get you to go upstairs with them. If you’re going to drink something at a party/mixer, stick with the keg. The keg is your friend.
11. Skipping the all-day breakfast at Neubig.
The Neubig dining hall serves breakfast until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Did you hear me? 4 p.m. This is perfect for a hangover or if you just want to roll out of bed at 1. The omelette bar is a favorite of mine. You can have your eggs made to order any way you like! Some yummy additions are bacon, sausage, tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, jalapeños, and either cheddar, american or provolone cheese! As Nike so nicely persuades, just do it.
12. Ignoring e-mails.
Keeping up-to-date on e-mails is important. If your professors are nice enough to e-mail you cancelling class ahead of time, it’s up to you to check your e-mail! This could be the difference between staying in bed longer or having extra time to finish an assignment. You could be wasting your time walking all the way to your class only to see that it’s been cancelled…and you’d have known that IF YOU CHECKED YOUR DAMN E-MAIL! (Bernie Sanders voice…god bless that man) Also…there are daily e-mails sent out about events on-campus, special meals being served & more.
13. Not taking advantage of extra credit.
Most professors offer some form of extra credit whether they are assignments such as a paper or to simply attend an event. Events such as a lecture or play or musical event are offered all the time that all are welcome to attend! Extra credit is simple. It’s a handout. You are crazy to pass up an opportunity to earn it!
14. Starting a relationship with someone in your hall (specifically your floor).
Hooking up is one thing. You’re likely to see them across campus or at Dunkin’ Donuts getting a coffee. It’s embarrassing either way, like the walk of shame all over again. If you start a relationship with someone in your hall or worse-on your floor, it could potentially be a disaster. However, if you want to do it, be my guest! If it works out, I hope you get your happy ending and your own 37 Kids & Counting show. But if it doesn’t and you don’t, it could be an entire year of dealing with him/her on a daily basis. This can create tension between friends that have been made and other awkward scenarios. It’s best to just avoid relationships with someone in such tight quarters.
15. Not carrying your keys with you.
Listen, don’t be that asshole that is constantly getting locked out of your room and always has to have an RA let you back in. Your RA will hate you. If you must, tie the damn key around your neck like Zoey 101. This one is simple.
16. Not going to Cortaca.
For those who don’t know, Cortaca is a huge football game between SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College that happens every year. DON’T MISS IT. I made this mistake my Freshman year and I regret it. Even though the temp was low and everyone was wasted, I still missed the experience and I am sad about it. Cortaca is played on campus every other year, so when it is held on campus, it’s nice not having to travel. Be aware of the crowds that get rowdy and sometimes dangerous-these are the ones that tend to get involved with the police.
17. Thinking your college professors will be the same as your teachers in high school.
First, think of everything associated with high school teachers. Now throw it all in the garbage. Even what faculty, friends & family have told you about college professors is completely different from what they are actually like. In high school, teachers rarely shared their beliefs, never swore and were pretty lenient with work. In college, you will have professors that will literally not give one single shit about you, what your name is or whether or not you do the work. You will have professors that do not hold back in any way, feel very strongly about their beliefs and will not hesitate to share them with you. You will have professors that are very laid-back and helpful and truly want to see you succeed. Some will be full of themselves and see you as a small speck in the collegiate world and some will be odd and clueless. Fortunately and unfortunately, you will have them all.
18. Not taking advantage of the Student Life Center.
The Student Life Center offers a free membership to all students, so go! The SLC is complete with an insane fitness center that houses endless pieces of equipment, basketball courts, indoor soccer, a pool, hot tub, game area, rock climbing wall and indoor track. The SLC is there for your benefit so go take a yoga class for fun or go burn off all that chicken parm from Neubig!
19. Proving your freedom to everyone.
One gigantic mistake Freshmen make is going ape-shit as soon as they start school just because they don’t live with their parents anymore. There is always the case of the sheltered kid who grew up with strict parents who thinks they have to prove themselves as soon as they’re on their own. Please don’t be this kid. Or…don’t go off the deep end just because you probably have more access to illegal substances than you did in high school. Just take it easy. Honestly, no one will care if you’ve blacked out twice last week or if you got an A on your exam.
20. Being too hard on yourself during/after your first semester.
The first semester as a Freshman is brutal. You learn so many things. It’s a huge adjustment from what you’re used to. You have to figure out what studying method works best for you, how to manage your time, get enough sleep and many more tasks that seem impossible. My first semester as a Freshman was hell. It kicked my ass every day of the week. I got a reality check when I received my final grades and realized I needed to step up my game. Once I learned a bunch of college hacks (Facebook, Pinterest & other sites like this are helpful) and important tips from RA’s, other students and my big sister, I turned it around.
This semester I am kicking college’s ass and taking names. I learned to get my work done early and relax after it was done (it used to be the other way around). I spend most of my time in the library or the gym. I’ve learned that my mental health is the most important thing. I still have time to eat and sleep, spend time with my friends, go to school events and handle a job. College is a huge learning experience. That’s what you’re here for. Don’t let people intimidate you or stress you out. If you make mistakes, you will learn from them no matter what. You’ll move forward. You will graduate. You will be successful.
I hope my warning you of common mistakes SUNY Cortland Freshman make help you to not do the same. When in doubt, just don’t do it. K? Now go read a book, you crazy kids.