5 Mistakes I Made First Semester Freshman Year That I Won't Be Making Again

The beginning of my college career was one of the most exciting, overwhelming and anxiety-producing times of my life. Living a few hours away from my hometown, on my own, without the support network of friends and family that I had back home, was a daunting prospect. Though I was faced with many challenges during this time, they helped to shape me into a more confident and experienced young woman.

Here are five mistakes I made during the first semester of my freshman year that I definitely won’t be making again.


  1. 1. Thinking that I was the only one who felt homesick

    sad girl in blue sweater near window

    During my first semester, I often struggled with feelings of homesickness and loneliness. I missed the familiar faces and places from home, and felt like everyone else was having an easier time adjusting to college than I was. I have since learned that almost everyone deals with these same feelings when they first get to college, and that it’s totally normal to feel isolated and unsure, because with time, you will adapt and become more secure.

  2. 2. Feeling like I had to go to parties

    Happy people gathered

    When I first got to college, I went to a few big, off-campus parties, not really because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to in order to meet people and make friends. I quickly realized that I did not enjoy being packed into a tiny house with hundreds of other sweaty young adults when I could be curled up in bed watching a new Netflix series. I have since found friends who also do not feel comfortable at parties, and we are much more inclined to hang out together in our small group than we are to go out — and that’s ok.

  3. 3. Being too intimidated to get involved on campus

    My irrational fear of upperclassmen prevented me from getting as involved as I could have during my first semester. As a result, I was often bored and felt like I wasn’t getting as much out of my college experience as I could be. Luckily, since then, I have learned that most students who are involved in clubs on campus welcome new members with open arms, and I have become confident enough in myself to join numerous student organizations. Now, I feel more connected to my college because of the relationships I’ve made, and my overall experience has been enriched. 

  4. 4. Not prioritizing self-care

    Person holding Mug

    One of the worst habits I got into during the first semester of my freshman year was not making enough time for my health and well-being. I wasn’t eating or sleeping very well, and I didn’t exercise or take enough time to monitor and care for my mental health. As a result, I often felt lethargic and irritable. I have since learned that engaging in self-care is necessary to be a happy and productive person, and that even though college life is hectic, there are easy ways to fit self-care into my busy schedule.

  5. 5. Comparing myself to other people on social media

    phone with social media displayed on screen

    I spent a lot of time comparing my college experience to the experiences that I saw other people posting about on social media. I felt like I wasn’t making enough friends, or going out enough, or having enough fun, while everyone else seemed to be having the time of their lives. However, it is always important to remember that most of the time, people only post about the best parts of their lives on social media, and that no one is happy all the time. As I have become more secure in myself and my choices, it has been easier to let go of the constant fear that I am not living up to the expectations of other people. 

I learned a ton about myself during my first semester of college. Being forced to live on my own for the first time taught me to advocate for myself, and I grew immensely in all areas of my life. Though the first semester of my freshman year was difficult at times, I am proud of myself for persevering and am excited to take the lessons I learned with me throughout the rest of my college career.