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The 8 Freshman Mistakes to Avoid

Freshman year: it’s overwhelming and confusing and so incredibly exciting all at the same time. Even as a brand new collegiette, you’ve probably figured out quite a few things for yourself by now, like the difference between Gilman and Shriver, what it is that everyone is referring to when they say “HelWell”, and the exact number of times you can hit snooze before you’ll definitely be late for your 9 am. But there’s much more to this whole college thing than can be learned in just a couple of days, or even a couple of years, and mistakes are inevitable. This list can help you avoid some of the biggest ones and start your college career off right.

1. Getting Stuck on Campus

It’s easy to get caught in the “Hopkins Bubble” and forget that so much more of Baltimore exists outside of Charles Village. The city is full of vibrant, quirky areas like Hampden, Canton and Mount Vernon, so really take the time to get out and explore. 

2. Not Taking Full Advantage of Your Meal Plan

Yes, Freshman Fifteen is real. Definitely don’t go crazy with the limitless soft serve and try to throw in a salad every once in a while. But don’t ignore your meal plan either. Not only is it already paid for, but I promise there will be plenty of time for nightly take-out when you’re a senior like me and wishing desperately for the time when you didn’t have to come home after a long day of classes and studying and work to realize that you still have to make dinner for yourself.

Also, the prices in CharMar will never look the same again once you no longer have Dining Dollars. $7 for Oreos? Nope.

3. Trying to Do it All

This includes restraining yourself from signing up for absolutely every single club mailing list that catches your eye. (I still get constant emails from clubs that I don’t even remember joining.) Instead, keep it on the conservative side and only take on two or three extracurricular commitments, at least to start. That way, you can avoid burning yourself out early on and give yourself the time you need to adjust to college life and your new study schedule. It also gives you the opportunity to become much more involved in the clubs that you do join, as opposed to simply hopping from meeting to meeting without being able to take on any real responsibility.  

4. Procrastinating
This definitely isn’t just a freshman mistake, but the sooner you can get yourself into a comfortable routine, the better. The work will never go away completely, and there will always be moments when you find yourself getting overwhelmed, but not procrastinating will help keep all of that at a minimum. You’ll find that you have more time, much less stress, and a healthier and happier Hopkins experience as a result.
5. Wearing Your Lanyard for Way Too Long
Give yourself a week max to be a sterotypical dorky freshman. Then put your JCard in your wallet and your keys on a keychain and resign yourself to holding up traffic at the turnstiles while you dig through your purse for them. It’s just the way life goes.
6. Buying New Underwear Just to Avoid Doing Laundry

Yes, we’ve all thought it. Most of us have even done it once (or twice). But again, the beginning of your freshman year is probably the best time to start getting into a routine and doing your laundry on the regular is definitely part of that. It really doesn’t take as long as you think it does. Plus, once you’ve reached the point where you have absolutely nothing left to wear, I guarantee you won’t be able to find the three or four available washers you’re going to need to get it all clean again. There is no piece of real estate more fought over than a dormitory laundry machine.

7. Not Going Out That One Time Because Studying
You’re all here at Hopkins because you care about your academic success. Because of that, it can become far too easy to bury yourself in stress and work and reach the point in the semester where you haven’t emerged from D-Level in days and the thought of going out doesn’t even cross your mind anymore. But there are only so many hours of studying you can do before it simply doesn’t become useful anymore and college only happens once. Go.

Also, I hate to break it to you, but it only gets harder from here on out. Freshman year is the best you get, my friends.

8. Telling Yourself, “It’s Okay, I Have Four Years. I’ll Get Around to it Later.”
Four years is nowhere near as long as you think it is. And there might not always be time for a next time. If there’s something that you want to do, even if it’s as simple as trying out Miss Shirley’s famous brunch or bribing your way to the top of the Gilman bell tower, be sure to make the time to actually do it. 


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