9 Mistakes I Made Freshman Year

If I can guarantee anything, it’s the fact that I am flawed. Despite how many blogs and advice articles I read before I started college this past fall, I entered my freshman year thinking that I already knew everything about everything. Of course, I was horribly wrong. I soon found all my preconceived notions of college were either warped or completely false. Simply put, I messed up—excessively.

Luckily, mistakes aren’t always bad news. Mistakes lead to progress. If we never made any mistakes, we would never try anything new. And if we never tried anything new, we’d never grow. Each mistake I made this year was a crucial step to figuring out my new life at college. However, some of these silly mistakes could have been avoided if I had a more accurate perspective of what actual college life was like. Hopefully my own learning experiences can prevent some of you from hitting the same roadblocks I did during the crazy transition of freshman year.

1. Not Investing in a High-Quality Water Bottle                  

Dehydration is a real thing. Walking around all day wears you out, especially if you aren’t taking care of yourself. A good water bottle is a must, and a cute one is a bonus.

2. Enrolling in the Honors College

I was so flattered that I got into this program with an intense course load and small classes that I neglected to think about if it was what I even wanted. Understanding exactly what a program entails is key to deciding if it is something worth pursuing.

3. Failing to Prepare Sufficient Playlists

Let’s face it. Moving away from home for the first time is lonely. Playlists with your favorite old and new songs can help you get through those difficult nights. There’s something comforting about knowing the words to every song playing. Plus, you can impress anyone who comes over to your dorm with your music taste instead of being embarrassed by what some random Apple Music playlist starts to play.

4. Not Buying in Bulk

Shaving Cream. Make-up Wipes. Advil. Tissues. The less midnight shopping trips the better. Preparation is essential.

5. Understanding that Sometimes Money is Meant to be Spent

There’s a value to treating yourself to a movie night or a dinner with friends. Don’t get so caught up in saving money that you miss out on priceless experiences.

6. Neglecting Sleep

Don’t fall into this trap. 8 hours keeps you sane.

7. Neglecting Exercise

Crankiness and anxiety are natural parts of life, and exercise is a natural way to release tension. Intramurals help you meet people and keep you in shape. 10/10 recommend.

8. Putting a Huge Emphasis on Grades

Grades are a big part of college, but so are extracurriculars, meeting new people, and taking care of yourself. Don’t sacrifice well-being for an A; the trade just isn’t worth it. As long as you are learning and putting a reasonable amount of effort in, grades shouldn’t be a source of stress. Some of the smartest people I have met in college never check their grades online. They prioritize learning instead of being ranked as “good enough.”

9. Using Shyness as an Excuse

For introverts like myself, there’s almost nothing harder than having awkward conversations with new people in unfamiliar settings. Although this may be hard for us shyer individuals, fear is no excuse for not pursuing a club or other opportunity. Involving yourself in things you can be proud of requires some risk-taking and uncomfortable situations.