Coming into my sophomore year, I feel much more prepared and ready for classes. And that’s primarily to the many mistakes I made and learned from my freshman year. College not just about earning your degree – it’s about making mistakes, meeting new people, and learning how to be an adult. Here are just a few mistakes I made as a freshman.
- Not exploring my neighborhood. When I got my car my second year, I found places I didn’t even know existed. I wish I had taken a few weekends to explore what I had around me to do something fun.
- Not completely utilizing my meal plan and M&G bucks. I’ll be honest, I hated the meal plan. I couldn’t control what to eat or when to eat. But then when I moved out of my dorm, I had to make my own meals. And I regretted every minute of getting practically free food at my fingertips. I regretted not using every penny of my M&G bucks. It was basically free money I just let go to waste.
- Not keeping my planner religiously. I learned this lesson by my second semester. My first semester, I tried to remember all my due dates, every meeting, and every outing. And my life became a mess. I felt like I was just waiting for a friend to text me about something I had forgotten to do. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it.
- Overbooking myself and not leaving any me time. I learned the importance of taking a breath every once in a while to focus on myself. Even if it means just taking a couple hours on Sunday to treat myself to a face mask and a hot bath, it makes a huge difference in my productivity for the next week. Yes, you are here to learn, but you are not helping anybody by being a strung-out mess.
- Not figuring out what schedule works best for me. One of the most important things I learned about myself was that I am very much a night owl. It is easier for me to stay up till six a.m than to wake up at six a.m. I didn’t plan my first-semester schedule accordingly, and I had to work hard to get to my morning classes. Learn your sleeping and studying habits and schedule your classes accordingly.
- Not going to office hours or getting a tutor. There were probably times I could have made my life easier if I had gone to office hours or tutoring. Never be afraid to ask for help. If you have anxiety or are maybe too afraid to talk to someone face to face, you can get online tutoring where you don’t even need to speak to the tutor. It’s especially convenient for people who live off campus and can’t get to school.
- Leaving homework to the last minute. You’ve heard it time and again. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave things to the last minute. You’ll regret it. I was always good about not procrastinating on a project, but there are classes where the professor will give you homework assignment for a week and then make it due one day. It’s up to you to decide when to do the homework and plan out your schedule. Leave it to the last minute, it’s literally impossible to get it done.
- Buying books before going to class. After your first set of classes, this will become obvious to you. If I had just waited until the first day of class, I would have saved a hundred dollars in books. I was terrified I would be the only one unprepared – turns out usually half the class is just as lost as you.
- Not caring about the syllabus. Yes, it’s wordy. Yes, it’s long. And Yes, It is as boring as it looks. But it’s also necessary. The syllabus is a goldmine of information. You learn about vital things like a professor’s policy on absences, late work, or extra credit. Knowing the syllabus can tell you where you can relax a little bit and where you need to have your game face on.
- Believing everyone else has their life more together than you do. Everybody is just as lost as you. Even if someone has an internship second semester freshman year when you’ve barely chosen your classes or is already in a committed relationship when you stroll into class in your pajamas, they are usually just as new to this as you are. Stop comparing yourself to other people because nobody is as put together as they seem.
Also published on Medium.