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.
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.
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.