“Everyone makes mistakes.” Whether you’re using this mantra to make yourself feel better after accidentally shattering your laptop screen or completely blanking on an online assignment due date, it is completely, 100% true. Luckily for me, I didn’t make any really massive ones freshman year (like sleeping through my Econ 101 final, which I almost did), but I did make a lot of smaller ones. Here’s a list of the classic 20 mistakes every University of Michigan freshman makes during their first year!
1. Assuming “Welcome Wednesday” is for alumni.
They advertise it in the dumbest way: “Welcome Wednesday, in the Alumni Center!” You’d think the free coffee and bagels are for people who’ve graduated, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Walk on in, flash your MCard, and stuff your face with a bagel you didn’t have to pay for.
2. Assuming the shower floors are clean.
They are not. A dump truck of bleach probably won’t be able to scrub away the ten thousands of showers before yours. Buy flip flops.
3. Overestimating your ability to sleep through anything.
After just one night of living on a bustling Bursley Hall floor, I was sprinting to Walgreens to buy some earplugs. I loved everyone on my floor, but the love quickly evaporated after 1 AM when all I wanted was to catch some Zzzz’s, not someone’s rendition of Beyonce’s “7/11.”
4. Putting off pre-requisites.
Trust me on this one. When the syllabus says “open to freshmen and sophomores only”, it means that your junior-year self who put off Comm 101 for two years is going to have to make a different plan.
5. Not making a budget.
Another Ellie-fail: I worked my butt of as a waitress the summer before my freshman year. By holiday break, that money had mysteriously disappeared. I mean, my closet was stuffed with “treat yo’self” clothes and my mini fridge was packed with leftover Pizza House, but I’m still not sure what happened to all that money. A mystery, indeed.
6. Assuming the North Campus squirrels are as friendly as the Central Campus squirrels.
Offer a Central Campus squirrel a peanut, you’ve got a friend for life. Offer a North Campus squirrel a peanut, he might try to maul your hand off.
7. Letting a turkey into Bursley.
8. Not following up.
If a presenter comes to your class, tells you all about internship opportunities with their company, it’s because they exist. They exist and you could get one! Always shoot the presenter an email after class.
9. Thinking that Big Ten Burrito can be eaten as leftovers.
The relationship between “Big Ten Burrito” and “deliciousness” is highly negative and exponential. I learned this after I ate a leftover chimichanga for breakfast, and hurled 90 minutes later.
10. Taking the 2 AM Bursley-Baits bus.
It’s called the “Vomit Comet” for a reason.
11. Stepping on the block M.
A girl I knew in high school made a big production during orientation of stepping on the M, as she proclaimed, “I don’t let superstitions dictate my future!” She promptly failed out. Coincidence? Nah.
12. Thinking there will be anything peaceful about game day traffic.
“How bad could it be?” I said to my friend as we, two excited freshmen, headed to catch the bus from our dorms to walk to the stadium. Forty minutes later, we still weren’t on the bus.
13. Latching yourself to a significant other the first week of school.
Yes, there are tons of new, date-able people. Yes, they are all smart. Yes, you can stay out as late as you want with them. However, you should wait till you’re certain they’re not a complete psychopath to make it Facebook- official.
14. Leaving your winter clothes at home.
“I’ll just get them when I’m home for Thanksgiving!” freshman-Ellie said. It snowed exactly one month before Thanksgiving that year. This is Michigan, folks.
15. Thinking getting a cup of coffee at any campus café in the morning will be super quick.
I’ve seen lines 20 people long.
16. Forgetting your friends back home.
Yes, I know you have a gaggle of new favorite people, but keep in touch with your friends back home, or you’ll have the loneliest fall break known to man.
17. Buying books at Ulrichs.
Hit up Amazon, and ditch that inhumanely-long line.
18. Forgetting all about North Campus.
Although Central Campus is more well-known, a lot of freshmen make the mistake of completely forgetting to explore North Campus. You’ll see baby deer, beautiful treelines, and, BTW, the Panda Express on North is waaaay better than the one in the Union.
19. Not taking care of yourself.
Funniness aside, you can only be your best if you feel your best. If you’re stressed about an exam, pick your head up off the textbook for a little while, take a break, have a snack, call your mom, whatever. College is definitely focused on learning, but taking care of yourself has to be a priority.
20. Thinking it’ll last forever.
Just as soon as you think you’ve got Ann Arbor figured out, you’ll have to pack your stuff back up and move out of the dorms. Freshman year will fly by, but don’t worry! You still have three more years!