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Life > High School

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes Your Freshman Year

Starting college in August? Worry not, freshman, we’ve been there.

College is, in simplest terms, rad. You can make a new group of friends and form completely new memories. You can stay out as late as you want and eat as many desserts as you want without parents nagging. And no one is around to tell you not to leave that 10-page paper to the last possible minute, so you can procrastinate as much as you want. The world is your oyster, and every decision is exclusively yours to make! Welcome to freedom, bestie.

But beware – this newfound freedom can lead to some mistakes. With so much independence, you’re bound to make a misstep somewhere along the line. As you mentally (and physically…have you started packing?) prepare for this school year, keep in mind these 5 common mistakes that freshmen have made time and time again. Trust us, you don’t wanna make them!

1. Losing the balance between your college life and your home life

One of the most common problems new students have during their freshman year is trying to balance all the new relationships in their life. With new friends at college, old friends back home, families trying to check in and an overload of schoolwork piling up on your desk, it’s hard to give everything and everyone the attention they need. Remember though, that even with all the excitement on campus, your mom, dad and all of your besties from home, need some quality time, too. And that work-life balance is extremely, extremely important.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix here. Make group chats for your family and friends, and set aside time to update them with what’s going on in your life. You can always also put time in your agenda to schedule a FaceTime or a longer catch up so your parents can hear about what’s going on at school, and your besties can stay in the know about the cutie in your class. Definitely make the people you love a priority, even if freshman year feels like a whirlwind.

2. Prioritizing your social life over your schoolwork

In college, the pressure to do well in class and make friends outside the classroom can lead to time management mistakes. Do you stay home and study, or do you head out to the frat party with the girls down the hall from you?

Plan out what nights you can hit the town and which you need to stay in to study by checking your syllabus ahead of time for assignments and tests. Tell your friends you would love to spend time with them, but you really need to write a paper that night. And you can always grab a couple of people from your classes and head over to the library for a study session – coffee and gossip breaks are bound to lead to friendship!

3. Studying the same way you did in high school

In high school, you may have found that the slightest bit of effort was enough to keep your GPA sky-high. But college is an entirely different animal. Simply skimming through your notes won’t be enough to get you a passing grade on a college test. Participation is often a part of your grade in a college course, so daydreaming won’t fly as well as it did when you struggled through high school senioritis.

It’s inevitable that you’ll have one class that you’ll struggle with. But know that in college, it’s up to you to push through it and do well. You have the ability to make elaborate outlines for tests and papers, set aside specific library study times for yourself and reach out to classmates for help and group study sessions – so do it! Don’t sit around gloomily and dwell on bad grades when you could be working to fix them.

4. Attempting to do it all

Wake up. Go to the gym. Shower. Run to class. Library time. Group project meeting. Class. Quick snack. Test cramming session. Go out? One of the great struggles of freshman year is dealing with managing a schedule that used to be monitored by your parents. Not to mention, the constant pressure of having to be “that girl.” No one is around to tell you if you might have put too much on your plate, and this can lead to taking on way more than you can handle.

But remember: there’s no rush to join every single club and go to every single event on campus. Slowly see what you’re interested in and see if you can handle the demands of what you want to do. Eventually, you’ll learn what you can and can’t handle and how much you can take on.

5. Putting yourself second

College is a transformative time. And whether you’re dying your hair or exploring new passions, you’re bound to change during your collegiate journey. After all, these next four years are about growth. And the only way you can grow, is by putting yourself first.

In college, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with schoolwork, friends, parties, relationships, work, and even the advice being thrown at you each and every day. Not only can this put a damper on your college experience, but it can also negatively impact your mental health. As you start college, it’s paramount that you put yourself first: take a mental health day if you need it, distance yourself from the party scene, or put yourself out there and try something you’ve always wanted to try! Always remember, it is never selfish to care about yourself: it’s essential.

Life is about making mistakes and learning from them, but you’ll be ahead of the game by heeding the wisdom of those who’ve been through it before. Have fun, good luck and be smart!

Nicole Knoebel was the President and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Marist and is a former National Contributing Writer for Her Campus. She attended Marist College and majored in English (Writing) and minored in Journalism. Nicole has been an editorial intern at Marie Claire, Us Weekly, Seventeen and ELLE and spent a semester living in New York City to test out the Carrie Bradshaw life (minus the Manolos). You can follow her on Twitter at @nicoleknoebel!