Everyone is excited to start their freshman year of college. It is so different than high school, and it’s just the beginning of an exciting time in your life. However, there are a couple things freshmen tend to complain about all the time, once they get into the semester. These are all the rookie mistakes that I’ve either seen or done myself. Here are some things to avoid doing that every UConn freshman seems to do at one point.
1. Bringing home winter jackets
At a school like UConn, the wind NEVER lets up. For the past two years I have used my winter jacket and hat up until the last two weeks of the semester. Obviously some days are more typical spring weather, but there are very few days during the spring semester where I have not needed a jacket.
2. Only bringing one umbrella
“…because you know that shit’s gonna break”-a quote from one of my best friends.
As mentioned above, the wind at UConn is brutal. This also applies for every day that it rains. I have lost 2-3 umbrellas since coming to UConn because the wind will flip them inside out. Sometimes you can fix them… other times the first gust of wind will snap it. If you’re only going to bring one, make sure it’s higher quality.
3. Not bringing rain/snow boots
New England weather, as most of us know, is unpredictable. After the first few times of getting caught in the rain, and your feet getting soaked, you will wish you had rain boots. And when we get snow, it is just as bad; so invest in some bean boots to avoid slipping and wiping out across campus.
4. Expecting to get all As as easily as in high school
I was a straight A student through all 4 years of high school. Sadly this was not the case once I got to college. Try hard and don’t settle for anything less than your best, but sometimes your best may only be a B. Everyone has their strong and weak subjects; just study hard and take advantage of your “GPA booster” classes!
5. Not willing to change study techniques in college
I didn’t really need to study in high school, and when I did it wasn’t that extensive. I learned very quickly that in college you cannot wait to study until the night before the exam and expect to ace it. If one technique doesn’t work out for you, you need to try something else. One study method may work for one class and not another, so be willing to try studying in different ways.
6. Not admitting you need help
No one wants to admit they aren’t doing well, or that they need a little extra help to understand something. Take advantage of TAs and your professor’s office hours. This is time set aside specifically to answer students’ questions. They are your most valuable resource and will take the extra time to help you understand.
7. Bringing too much with you on move-in day
Dorm rooms are not that big, especially for freshmen. Pack light and know what things are necessary to have in your room. You can always bring or buy more, but you can’t make more space than you have for all your extra stuff.
8. Not going to at least one basketball game
We are the basketball capital of the world. It would be wrong not to attend at least one game at Gampel. The tickets are cheap, and you can get the full experience of supporting the Huskies.
9. Not getting involved
You don’t need to overwhelm yourself with things to do, but you also should not miss out on getting involved. The second week of every semester, there is an involvement fair. Featured groups include greek life, major-based clubs and societies, dance groups, club sports, cultural organizations, and fun interest-based clubs. There are more than enough groups to find something that peaks your interest.
10. Not getting gen eds out of the way early
Everyone has to take classes covering all the content areas, as well as a “W” course. Every major will have classes covering a specific content area that you don’t need to worry about (ex. Nursing, chem, and bio majors will never have to worry about CA3). Even if they aren’t the most interesting classes make sure you get these content areas covered early! You don’t want to be freaking out during your senior year because you still need to take a diversity course and don’t have the space for it.
11. Forgetting to bring plates and utensils for your room
Most of the time you will be eating at a dining hall, but when you make late night delivery calls or don’t want to leave your room on a weekend, you’ll need a fork to enjoy your food. If you don’t have plates or any sort of utensils to enjoy your ramen, you’ll be out of luck.
12. Not calling your parents
Students enjoy going off to college because they can be independent and move away from their families. However, parents worry about you every time you’re not in their house. They want to make sure you’re safe, sane, and having fun. Give them a call once or twice a week to keep them updated with your life, and to get advice from time to time. If I didn’t call my mom every once in awhile, I would have gone insane.
13. Wearing your lanyard around your neck
This is the tell-tale sign to all other students that you are a freshman. You don’t need to have a clanky lanyard with your keys and ID hanging around your neck as you walk around campus. Stick them in your pocket or your backpack- some place that’s easy to access.
14. Enrolling in a course that lets out late on Fridays
You will regret this decision after week 1. While everyone else starts their weekend at noon on Friday, and you have to wait until 3pm-you will not enjoy yourself or the class.
15. Wearing all your HS gear
It’s okay to wear a shirt from high school every once in awhile, but if you’re rocking your high school apparel every day, that’s just a big no-no. Yes you spent 4 years there and may be proud, but rock some UConn apparel instead. You’ll be spending the next four years here so be proud of that!
16. Not giving yourself time for food between classes
If you have classes mid-day, make sure you have time to get lunch between classes. Nothing is worse than sitting in class and having your stomach make noises.
17. Not using your swipes or points
Swipes and points don’t roll over to the next semester. Once finals are over, they’re lost. Don’t waste those swipes that your parents paid for. Go to grab and go, swipe in commuters and those who live off campus; and if you have extra points, buy your friends a snack from USM or a cafe.
18. Buying every required book for every class
Wait until the first week of class to see if you will actually be needing every textbook. You can always buy books after the fact, but the bookstore won’t take back certain materials once they’ve been opened. Check with upperclassmen and see if you really need them. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.
19. Not getting an Amazon Student account
The first six months of Amazon Student are free, and you get free 2 day shipping! After the first 6 months it only costs $50/yr to keep your account going. This is half the cost of getting a regular amazon prime account with all the same perks!
20. Assuming you and your roommate will become best friends
Some people will be best friends with their roommate(s) from day one. Others may not be good friends at all. Most will be friends, but not be super close with them, and that’s okay. Just establish ahead of time the extent of your friendship. You don’t want to be expecting to be just friends while the other person wants to become your BFF.
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