Ok, so not every freshman makes them, but most of them do. We’re talking about some common pitfalls that happen typically to college freshmen out on their own for the first time.
The first year of college is somewhat overwhelming. School is different; more different than we imagined, and we’re expected to tackle it while dealing with the sudden freedom that has been thrust upon us. Here are five common mistakes – and how to avoid them.
1. Partying too much. The temptation to go out every night is strong because there’s always someone to go with and no one to make you stay home. Not only is too much partying a sure way to ruin your grades, but it can be bad for your health and land you in jail. To avoid it; find some friends that take studying seriously. This will help your grades and reduce the temptation to go out, since your friends are staying in. Then, when the weekend comes, you can have fun without feeling guilty.
2. Not Planning. You’ve suddenly got 3-5 demanding classes, but nothing due for two weeks. So, you take a whole week off from studying and wait until a few days before the tests/due dates come up. Then you’ll have so much to do that you can’t possibly get it all done on time. Make a calendar of all your test dates and due dates so that you can plan the work out over time. It’s even helpful to have two calendars. The first one should list all major dates for the quarter or semester, and the second should be a weekly planning calendar to help you schedule studying.
3. Not enough studying. College isn’t high school. You’re not going to get most of what you need in class. Professors estimate that you need to spend 1-2 hours studying or preparing on your own for every hour you spend in class. Review notes and read material every weekday, so that you’re better prepared when test time comes.
4. Packing on the pounds. Mom’s home cooked healthy dinners are a thing of the past. You’re likely eating a lot of pizza and fast food. We’ve all heard of the “Freshman 15”. Avoid gaining it by relying on the dining hall for some healthy choices and limiting the pizza to once a week.
5. Going home too much. Many freshmen go home every weekend – or nearly every weekend. If you save those trips home for longer weekends like Fall Break, you’ll enjoy trips home even more and you’ll get a much better taste of campus life.
Remember that the college dropout rate is highest among freshmen. Many of them don’t make it because they can’t cope with the pressure or because they get way behind due to partying. But, there’s really no reason that college can’t be fun and give you a good education at the same time. Just, remember what you’re there for and put good grades first. You’ll find that, if you organize and prioritize, there’s room for everything you wanted to do in college!