Categories: College Life

Mistakes To Avoid When Starting College

College is a brand new chapter of a person’s life. It is a journey into adulthood and a new life. It can be a real shock to the system, but hopefully you get into the groove of everything quickly. One of the most important parts of starting college is remembering that you are now on your own. You are living in your own place, you leave when you want to, and you have to make your own choices. This can seem a little frightening, but you should try to stay calm and enjoy being free. This also means thinking about what you should do, and more importantly, what you shouldn’t do. There are some common mistakes that freshmen may make when they first get to college. You probably will not realize they are mistakes at first, but those decisions will come back to bite you later. In order to have a successful first year, you need to make some smart choices. Here are some mistakes that you should avoid when you start college so that you have the best year ever.

1. Don’t Spend All Of Your Time In Your Room

It can be exhilarating to have a space that is completely your own. You probably want to take advantage of this and spend a lot of time on yourself. You will want to play music loudly, eat meals in bed, and just generally enjoy a space that is not down the hall from your parents. While you should definitely appreciate your new dorm room, it should not be the only place where you are hanging out. You need to make sure you take some time to socialize. This is especially true during the first couple of weeks of school. This is the time where everyone is trying to make friends, so you should make sure to join in on that. There will be time in the rest of the year to appreciate the peacefulness of your dorm. Even then, it would be a mistake to always be holed up in your room. Hang out with other people so you can build connections, and you can even work together if that is a reason why you often stay in your room. Make new friends and explore the new college world.

2. Never Forget Your Assignments

All of your new classes may be a bit overwhelming and it can be hard to keep track of everything. You may think that since you have less classes a semester compared to high school, it won’t be that bad. However, college classes can be more hardcore and will usually supply you with more work than a high school classes. Also, your professors are going to treat their students like adults with assignments. This means they are not going to constantly remind you about assignments that are coming up that week. They will probably ell you about it once, and leave the rest up to you. It is also possible it might just be in the syllabus and the assignment won’t actually be talked about out loud. It will be a mistake if you leave it up to your teacher to remind you about every assignment. Keep track of all of your work and make sure you know when everything is due. It is bad to start off the year with some missing assignment. Look at everything you have to do, and try your hardest to not let anything slip your mind.

3. Don’t Make An Enemy Of Your Roommate

In most colleges, your roommate will be randomly assigned to you. This means that you are going to have to move in with a stranger for the next nine months of your life. It can be a little scary to share your space with someone that you know nothing about, but you are going to have to try to make it work. You don’t necessarily have to be best friends with your roommate, but you should make sure that they at least like you. It will be a mistake if you and your roommate don’t get along. Anytime there is a disagreement between the two of you, try to talk it out and make sure it becomes water under the bridge. You don’t want one bad fight to ruin your whole school year. Even if your relationship with your roommate is just civil and you don’t talk much after living together, that is okay too. It would probably be more fun and enjoyable to be friends with your roommate, but it is not fun to force those things. Just make sure that you and your roommate set boundaries and rules for the room so that you have a pleasant year.

4. Try Not To Spend All Of Your Points/Money At Once

There may be a system at your college where you have a certain amount of points at the beginning of the year. This could go by different names, but it basically means you get a certain amount of money to spend at places on campus on items like food and necessities. It will feel a lot like your school is giving you your own debit card. It can be exciting to be able to decide on your spending and not having a parent sign for everything. However, don’t let this go to our head. You will probably end up going all out on your first week and end up spending on a lot of items. You will be making a mistake if you run out of points for the semester right away. Try to learn money saving habits so that you have enough to last you so that you will be prepared for a rainy day. This also applies to actual money you may have in college, as this is one of the first times where you are spending for yourself. If you are now in the grown up world, you are going to have to learn how to save like a grown up.

5. Don’t Go Wild In The Dining Hall

Going to a college dining hall for the first time is going to be quite the experience. Most dining halls are set up a lot like a buffet where you find some meat, vegetables, desserts, and more. Once you swipe into the dining hall, you have free reign to get what you want. This will seem pretty cool, but make sure that you know your limits. Try not to go overboard with what you get at the dining hall as you may regret it later. It will be a mistake to fill yourself every time you go, so get as much as you would for a normal meal. Everyone likes to have freedom, but don’t take too much advantage of this freedom. If absolutely necessary, you can take food home to your fridge, but make sure you know that you will eat it soon so it does not go bad. Stick to a goal every time you get a meal where you make sure that you are well fed, healthy, and that you don’t end up feeling stuffed every time.

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6. Never Go To A Party Alone

For many people, going to college means that it is party time. Every weekend you go to college, there is probably going to be some sort of crazy party happening nearby. It will be a time where people are dancing, messing around, and having an absolute blast. You should probably go to a party at least once in your college life to see what all of the excitement is about. However, you will be making a mistake if you are heading to a party alone. First of all, it is not really safe. It can be dangerous walking to a party alone at night, and then walking around by yourself at the party might be a little nerve wracking. There is also the fact that you will not have as much fun if you party

7. Don’t Go Over Or Under Your Packing Checklist

You probably know that your dorm room is not going to start out fully organized and decorated. It is your job to set everything up and make sure that you have everything you need. This means that you are going to have to pack some boxes to bring with you to campus. It may not seem like it, but packing boxes for a dorm room is an art. You don’t want to make a mistake and pack the wrong number of items. You don’t want to pack too little, but you also don’t want to pack too much. If you pack too little, you are going to be underprepared for the year. You might run out of necessities quickly, or realize too late that you don’t have any at all. There are some items that are important for your dorm room that you absolutely can not forget. Then there is the problem of packing too much. First off, it will be very heavy for when you are carrying everything to your room. Then, you might not know where you want to put everything and your dorm room could quickly get too crowded. You need to make a checklist and look at all of the things you absolutely need, maybe a few fun items, and stop there. Pack the perfect amount to create a perfect dorm room.

8. Don’t Stay Up Too Late

As a college student, you are now in charge of your own schedule. You  are deciding when you do everything without anybody looking over your shoulder. While this means that you may get to have more fun, you will also have to learn to be more responsible. This will especially be true when it comes to making a sleep schedule. You will soon realize that it is a mistake to stay up too late. It may seem nice that there is not a parent waiting to turn your light off and you don’t have to wake up thinking of someone that has to drive you to school. This could lead you to getting in over your head and wanting to stay up all night. No one will be able to tell you no, so you have to be the person to tell you no. If can be cool to stay up all hours of the night, but you are going to regret it when you wake up in the morning. Go to sleep at a time where you are sure to get a full night’s rest and you will feel refreshed in the morning. It is nice to have the freedom to go to sleep at any time, but you should still go to sleep at a good hour.

Rachel Rosenfield

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