Avoid these classic freshman mistakes

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Avoid these classic freshman mistakes


ou’ve been tossed from the throne of high school seniority. From a place where you knew everyone, the best cafeteria foods and you could write an essay in a night. Now you are back to the dreaded freshman status in the fifth largest school in the Big Ten, and can only hope to avoid the embarrassment of making classic freshman mistakes. Here are a few tips that can help with the transition to your first year in the college hierarchy. 


Skipping class — I’m sure you have heard it a million times from your parents, but trust me, this is one freshman mistake you definitely do not want to make. Skipping class once in a while is not a big deal; it is only a few i>Clicker points after all, and I’m sure most professors expect a few absences. But after a while, missing those i>Clicker or participation points add up, and cramming for a test the night before is even more difficult when you are the one teaching yourself the material. 

Procrastination — You might have been one of those high school students who was able to get a 4.0 GPA without trying, but sadly in college, you most likely cannot be that student. With assignments ranging from a simple essay to group projects, leaving an assignment for the night before it is due is never looked on kindly, and it will show. With the possibility of going out each night and binge watching Netflix luring you away from your work, it can be difficult to manage your time efficiently, but doing so will free up more nights than procrastinating your work would. 

Pulling an all-nighter — For years, pop culture has defined the college student as having no sleep, coffee in hand and on the verge of a breakdown. The student typically has been awake for the past 24 hours cramming for a test, believing it to be the best method to ace it, but science differs. A 2007 study at St. Lawrence University in N.Y. highlighted that students who have never relied on an all-nighter had an average GPA of 3.1, whereas those who had pulled an all-nighter maintained an average GPA of 2.9. 


Going out

Going out every night — It goes with so many other mistakes (procrastination and skipping class), but going out every night is not a good idea. Though it is tempting to visit the bars on a nightly basis to witness the shenanigans of wine night at Cly’s, country night at KAM’S or karaoke at White Horse Inn, it will affect you more than you think. Everything from grades and activities to your bank account will feel the pinch of going out. If you are going out though, remember one of Ted Mosby’s key points of advice, “Nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.” 

Opening a tab — Being a freshman or new student, you’ll probably want to prove yourself, especially after a few drinks. But opening a tab is not the way to do so. Even though it will look awesome to that guy or girl from your Statistics 100 class, when you wake up to an angry text from your parents and a negative total in your bank account, it will not be as great. 

Everything else you may need to know

Over packing — It is a pretty simple one, but not many dorm rooms have a ton of space for storage, so do not pack your entire bedroom. Many students do not anticipate going home as much as they do during the semester; therefore, they over pack. So pack lightly and if you forgot anything that you need, have it sent or hop on a bus home the next weekend. 

Walking in the bike lanes — The dreaded yelling of “bike lane!” is something no one enjoys hearing on their way to class. Whether a freshman or senior, countless students walk in the bike lanes, and it is not worth getting taken out by a six-speed. If you bring a bike to campus, stick to riding in the bike lanes, not sidewalks. 

Eating — I learned this from first-hand experience, but don’t abuse the fine dining options on Green Street. You have your meal plan for a reason, and draining your bank account on chain restaurants that are a mile and a half from your home isn’t worth it. I would stick to eating out on the weekends or for late-night dining, not lunch on a Tuesday when you don’t feel like enduring the dining hall’s lines. 

Relying on coffee — As previously mentioned, college students have been depicted as the coffee market’s principal customers for years, and options on campus have continued to flourish and play into the stereotype. But relying on coffee as your principal source of energy throughout the entire day is a massive mistake, and will cause more exhaustion than energy. According to Forbes,  a study discovered that our bodies naturally produce caffeine at certain times during the day; therefore, it is not necessary to constantly stop in at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or Espresso Royale. Typically, the most efficient times to drink coffee are from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Getting involved and leadership — This is by and large the most important point on this list to making sure your first year is a success. This is not simply saying, “Sign up for as many clubs and activities on Quad Day as possible,” but sign up for those that mean something to you. Whether it is a sport, club related to your major, work or volunteer opportunity, being involved in one thing that you are passionate about is better than 20 that you couldn’t give a hoot about. In those clubs that you are passionate about, take as many opportunities to either become more involved or move up the ranks of leadership — there is no harm in getting more involved in something you love if you have the time.  

Declan is a junior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected]