Embrace your freshman year mistakes

Back to Article
Back to Article

Embrace your freshman year mistakes

By Miranda Holloway

Before classes started last year, my roommate and I were almost locked in the Armory late at night as we looked for a classroom. And we only found the Armory after using the map on her phone, which we shamelessly tried to decipher in the middle of the quad.

Adorned with lanyards and decked out in Illinois gear, we, along with many of our classmates, might as well have had the word “freshman” tattooed in orange and blue on our foreheads.

That horrifyingly awkward first week also entailed missing dinner twice after forgetting when the dining hall closed, having to ask a random girl in Gregory Hall where my classroom was because I was going to be late (whoever you are, thank you for walking me there — I still tell people about you), and trying to figure out what this “KAM’S” was that people kept talking about.

I was painfully oblivious to say the least.

My blunders didn’t end there. I waited until the last minute to study for my philosophy exam, a subject I knew I was unprepared for, decided that I didn’t need to bring a jacket to a Christmas party despite the fact that it was 12 degrees outside, and I didn’t perfect my laundry system until about April.

I made a lot of mistakes. The memories come back in waves and are immediately followed by, “wow, that was dumb” or “how could I have been so clueless?”

These mistakes, however, are inevitable. Freshmen are bound to sleep through a class, watch too much Netflix, eat a sickening amount of PAR late night and “forget” to read an assignment.

They have never been to college before, so how are they supposed to know how in the world cafe credits work or how hard that biology test will be? (spoiler: it’s probably really hard)

While making these mistakes, it’s important to remember that everyone else is just about as clueless or was as clueless just a few years ago. The older students that seem so savvy once took the South Illini instead of the North Illini and got lost in Champaign. They survived and so will you.

Freshmen mistakes aren’t a big deal as long as they stay just that: freshmen mistakes. These gaffes exist to be learned from so that you can figure out how you, your environment and school work together.

If you find out taking the majority of your notes from the book isn’t working, try something different and focus on lecture, or if the 22 Illini consistently makes you late to 9 a.m. Psych lecture, try a different bus or maybe a different route altogether.

The key is to find out what works best for you logistically, socially and academically, and all of these mistakes help you cross things off the list to narrow down a game plan.

Now, if you’re consistently sleeping through your class and failing exams because you’re not studying effectively, remember that you won’t have the excuse of being just a clueless little freshman for long.

That being said, I’d recommend making these mistakes, recognizing them, and decoding what you can do better next time.

But above all — and bare with me now because this is about to get really cheesy — don’t sweat the small stuff. Embrace those freshmen mistakes because you’ll be a better person for them if you’re proactive.

Mistakes are the result of taking chances, going with your gut and taking a leap of faith. If you don’t make any, you’re probably staring at your blank dorm wall, which isn’t doing anyone any good.

It’s OK to die a little bit of embarrassment when you realize you’ve wandered into the wrong classroom or get lost trying to navigate the ARC. Albeit heart-stoppingly mortifying when it does happen, you’ll have some great stories to share as a result.

Just remember what Ms. Frizzle always says — “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

Miranda is a sophomore in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]