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20 Mistakes Every University of Illinois Freshman Makes

20 Mistakes Every University of Illinois Freshman Makes

20 Mistakes Every University of Illinois Freshman Makes

What’s ironic, is that just before starting my college career, I read a blog post very similar to this one, titled something along the lines of “Things you should not do Freshman Year.”  I remember reading that article and thinking to myself how obvious and trivial all of those things were. I mean I had survived high school, nothing can be worse than high school right? The truth is, that although college is wonderful, it has its fair share of ups and downs. To me at least, college was an acquired taste. It took me weeks to realize that simply going to class wouldn’t get me to where I wanted to be. College is a skill, and we get better at “college” until one day, it finally becomes a part of us. As is with any art, mistakes are inevitable, and I, myself am guilty of each and one of these. Here are some of the most common mistakes that I wish I didn’t make my freshman year and that every University of Illinois freshman is guilty of.

1. Signing up for 8ams

When people told me not to, I didn’t believe them.  Waking up in college is hard enough, and with the workload that we get as college students, late-nights aren’t uncommon. Of course if you are a morning person, this may not affect you. But for all those night-owls out there, let’s just say you’ve been warned.

2.  Finishing an assignment the night before

I’m not saying this hasn’t been done before, but it can cause you a lot of sleepless nights and emotional pain.


3. Underestimating the Freshman 15

Now I’m not sure about you, but my metabolism did not cooperate with my late-night dinners, and stress snacking. Freshman 15 is as real as it gets, and it comes in different shapes and sizes, so add an occasional salad to your diet and make a couple trips to the ARC or CRCE, you won’t regret it.

4. Spending full price on text books

I once bought a textbook for 200$ and never used it. Don’t do it. I would suggest buying them off of someone who already took the class, and waiting until the professor really tells you what you will need for sure.

5.  Not calling home often enough

 Yeah, you have a lot of work, you’re partying  all the time, making new friends, and your life is SO much more interesting now. But there are people who love you and it’s important to remind them that you do too.


6. Being too attached to your dorm

College can be a scary place but it is really important to step out of your dorm once in a while to get involved in campus activities. Quad day is a great day to explore your options and sign up for things you might be interested in!


7. Missing class (habitually)

Habitually, being the keyword because then I would be a hypocrite. I skipped a lot of classes freshman year, especially Calc, and let me tell you, it’ll come back to bite you. I thought I could catch up because well, we mastered that art in high school didn’t we? But most of the time, college level exams depend on the professor and the only way into their minds is to go to class.


8. Expecting to find your soulmate during orientation week

I mean, I’ve seen this happen once or twice. But let’s be real, you have four whole years to spend thinking about this. Let things follow their own course and you’ll find out more about yourself and the people around you (aka all of your potential soulmates) along the way.

9. Not mastering the MTD bus routes

“DO YOU FEEL LIKE A SARDINE IN A CAN?” If these words don’t ring a bell, or give you a migraine then you’re doing something wrong. The MTD buses are a useful, easy, not-to-mention free way to get around campus. Of course, walking is still a great way to get from one place to another. But when it gets cold and snowy, you’ll thank yourself for getting on the right bus, not frozen to the bone.

10. Not taking advantage of the resources available to you

The Undergraduate Library, Main Library, ACES, and almost every library on campus has a massive collection of books, magazines and DVDs that you may need for your assignments. The UGL also has a Writers Workshop where you can get help for your papers. If your classes have TAs, make sure you go to office hours, it is better than getting stuck on a problem and giving up.


Sidenote: Some libraries have therapy dogs before exams, don’t miss it!

11. Not taking out time to sit on the grass

It might sound cliche, but sitting on the grass with a good book on a beautiful sunny day is a quintessential college experience that in my opinion, you wouldn’t want to miss.

12. Being afraid to retake a class/drop a class

If the 1st time isn’t the charm, then the second or third time definitely will be. Sometimes, doing well in a freshman year class can seem hard, especially if you’re new to the subject. Take the first step of courage and overcome the stigma that surrounds retaking a class. (I personally had to take a core class twice before even considering pursuing a major in that subject).


13.  Drinking too much

I’m going to cut right to the chase. Binge-drinking is common, it’s a problem, and in some unfortunate occasions, can even lead to death. At UIUC, every freshman has to attend ACEIT, a mandatory alcohol awareness program. I would say, pay attention to it. Some stuff they said really saved me and my friends, especially things like (using a buddy system, keeping track of your drinks, and pacing yourself). Some people condemn drinking completely, but I wouldn’t, simply because, having fun and experiencing new things is what freshman year is all about!

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14.  Worrying about not finding a constant friend group

It’s a scary time, to be away from home, where you meet a whole bunch of new people, but not make any real close friends. It may sound cliche, but give it time. You will find people that you connect well with, and remember, being a part of many friend groups is not a weakness, it’s a strength.


15. Not managing your time

Time management is a big struggle for most freshman, because college is ultimately a balancing act of all your assignments, tests, work out schedules, social life, and eating your meals. Try to form study groups, set small goals, and use day planners so that you don’t end up with 3 papers to write and 2 tests to study for all in one night.

16. Stressing about not knowing what you want to major in

The U of I is a huge campus with a plethora of options, and freshman year does not have to be the year you commit to anything. Try out different classes, student clubs, and organizations, and see what interests you. You have four years to find your true calling, so if you don’t have a major during your freshman year, don’t sweat it; it’s only the beginning.



17.  Getting a lil carried away at a frat party

It’s happened before, things get ugly, and no one’s happy. My biggest advice to you would be: don’t underestimate the jungle juice, and never leave your drink unattended. Oh, and take a friend.

18. Fake ID stuff

Nothing sums up the fake ID situation better than Brian from Breakfast Club.

19. Giving your Gen-Eds no time at ALL

We tend to get so carried away by our core classes that we underestimate the amount of effort we need to put in to pass our gen-eds. Comparatively, they’re not a huge time commitment but don’t ignore them completely.


20. Waiting until the last minute to do laundry until you have no clean underwear and your life is a mess.

Do you know any other common mistakes a University of Illinois freshman makes? Let us know in the comments!
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