Freshman year can be very hectic. It is a time to explore, make mistakes, and grow. Making mistakes isn’t fun or easy, it is often disheartening. But, no matter how it makes you feel, you almost always come out of the experience with new insight and perspective. These are 20 mistakes every U Miami freshman makes! Remember, you are not alone. EVERY freshman does it!
1. Bringing too much stuff to your dorm
The freshman dorms, Hecht and Stanford, are notoriously small. It is normal to overpack for move-in day and the dorm gets cluttered fast. Over the summer, the department of Housing and Residential Life sends out an info packet that includes the basic items that a person needs in their dorm. This list is a pretty good basis and from there you can see what you really need. Due to the climate, I would strongly recommend bringing an umbrella and leaving any heavy winter coats at home.
2. Not completing UMX100 and Think About It on time
UMX100 is an online course that helps students transition to U Miami . Think About It is the online drug and alcohol course. UMX100 and Think About It are meant to be completed before you begin your first semester at UM. UMX100 is a graded course and the grade you receive is recorded on your transcripts.
3. Poor communication with roommate
It is really important to communicate with your roommate early on and go over your lifestyle, habits, and what you feel comfortable with. A lot of roommate problems could be solved just by communicating clearly. If confronting your roommate is something that you are uncomfortable with, maybe have your RA be there to help guide the conversation/moderate it if it gets too heated.
4. Not joining any orgs or joining too many
At UM, we have a large variety of clubs and opportunities to help supplement the college experience. Joining clubs in your freshman year is extremely important because they give you the opportunity to meet new people, explore your interests, and develop soft skills.
During Orientation week, we have an event called Canesfest, where students are able to come and learn about all the student organizations on campus. It is easy to sign up for a ton of clubs and try to fit all of them into your schedule or get overwhelmed and not attend any at all. If you join too many clubs you will have trouble being fully dedicated to any one of them. It is best to join one or two and later add on more if you have the time in your schedule.
5. Buying textbooks from the school/buying them before class start
Do not purchase textbooks before classes start, unless specifically instructed to do so by your professor. The books listed on Canelink may not actually be the books your professor uses. So, it is best to just wait. Also, do not buy your books from the school bookstore unless you absolutely must. The bookstore is significantly more expensive then what you can find online. Some of the best options are Chegg, Amazon, and CampusBookRentals.
6. Not trying to get to know new people throughout the year
During orientation week or early on in the semester, you may believe that you have found your perfect friend group or “squad”, but the friends you make during orientation week may not be your friends for all of college. Even if you believe you have enough friends, I still recommend trying to meet new people through your classes, clubs, and your dorm.
7. Trusting people too soon
Many of your lifetime friends will be made in college, but that doesn’t mean that you should be sharing deep, personal secrets with people during orientation week or even the month or so in. I know many stories of people who trusted people too soon during the first semester and had that friendship end and the other person shared their secrets with others. Everyone makes mistakes in choosing friends, but just keep in mind to not trust people immediately.
8. Not exploring Miami
Miami is one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in the world and you should take full advantage of it. Many college students go to school in quiet college towns, but UM students are surrounded by art, beaches, festivals, and amazing food. It is really easy to get stuck in a routine on campus with your academics and club activities, but take a break every once in a while and find something cool to do in Miami.
9. Not taking advantage of all the resources available to you
The University of Miami does a lot to ensure that students are able to succeed both academically and socially. The University has the Camner Center for Academic Resources, the Writing Center, the Toppel Career Center, and the Launch Pad which are all there to help students succeed.
10. Not attending sporting events/tailgating
UM has an amazing sports history and we go all out for sporting events and tailgating. Attending sporting events can help increase your school spirit and it’s a fun activity when you need to take a break from classes and studying. It also is a great opportunity to meet people and build memories with friends.
11. Not getting to know a professor
Professors are there because they enjoy the subject and they enjoy interacting with students, so you should not be afraid to ask questions or even just to talk. Professors are great resources and can help with writing recommendation letters, opening doors to research opportunities, and telling you about interesting events.
12. Not befriending upperclassmen
Upperclassmen are great resources as well because they know the ins and outs of campus life. Upperclassmen know the best professors, the most helpful advisors, and what steps to take to solve a problem.
13. Staying in your dorm all the time
It is really easy after a long day of classes to just go back to your dorm and sleep, watch Netflix, or eat. Some days that is completely fine, but you should not make an everyday habit of it. College is filled with a lot of down time and it is easy to just spend that time doing basically nothing.
Every single day there are numerous on campus events whether it be free food, plays, talks, or ntermural sports. There is something for everyone. Even if you are a homebody or it’s an event that doesn’t fit your normal interest, give it a shot. Who knows, you could find out you love something completely unexpected. College goes by fast, you’ll remember the inspirational talk or the amazing sporting event more than you’ll remember the times you spent watching Netflix in your dorm.
14. Not calling your parents/guardians
For a lot of people, college is their first taste of freedom. A place where they are finally out from under the watchful eye of their parents. In the beginning of the semester, life is hectic so it is easy to forget to call your parents, but make sure that you do. Your parents are worried about you and care about you. They’ll be happier and you’ll probably be happier too if you talk to them often.
15. Not taking a break
We all need time to ourselves. In the busy world of classes, professors, clubs, internships, homework, and friends there is hardly anytime left to take a break. Taking breaks are often seen as wasting time that could otherwise be spent doing something productive, but taking a break is productive. Taking a break gives you time to rest and refocus on what’s important. A break could be an hour, a day, or taking a whole weekend to yourself, but make time to do so.
16. Not seeking out leadership positions
It is often assumed that freshmen are unable to take leadership positions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many freshmen leadership opportunities are available at UM. For example, we have the Freshman Leadership Council, Honor Council, First Year U, IMPACT, and many other opportunities.
17. Using all your dining dollars within the first month of school
There are three meal plans available to residential freshmen students; unlimited meal plan with $50 dining dollars, 19 meal plan with $75 dining dollars, and the 14 meal plan with $150 dining dollars. My freshman year, I had the 19 meal plan and I used up all my dining dollars within two weeks. But, I had a friend who had the same meal plan and made her dining dollars last the whole semester. So try to make it last as long as you can.
18. Not spending enough time studying
College is a place to explore, make new friends, and try new things, but it is also place for learning. Every student is there to learn and to earn a degree, so please don’t get caught up in everything else going on and forget to study. UM is extremely expensive and it would be a waste of money to come and not do your best in all your classes. So study and if you need help in your classes, you can talk to your professors or the Camner Center.
19. Not being yourself
UM has a diverse student body with students coming from all walks of life, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses. Whether you are a scholarship student or your family is fortunate enough to be able to pay for your education, it doesn’t matter because no one will judge you for it. Don’t feel like you need to hide or change a part of your identity to fit in at UM. At UM, fitting in is being your unique self and being proud of it.
20. Being Pre-Med just because others told you to be Pre-Med
The Pre-Med program at UM is rigorous and difficult, so if you are pre-med and you don’t really want to be pre-med, I recommend to change programs. Many students, not just pre-med students, enter into programs because their parents or friends told them that it was a good idea. Then when they find out , they struggle in classes they hate and get poor grades before they switch out. Though you can change programs later on, save the worry and headache and change programs as early as you can.
Did you make any other mistakes freshman year at U Miami!? Share in the comments below!
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