As a college student, there are probably things that you have done that you try to pretend never happened.
If so, you’re not alone: Here are six things that you and almost every other college student has played off regardless of how long they have been on campus.
1. Getting Lost
Whether you’re a freshman or senior, you’ve most likely been lost on campus.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve looked at a map of the school layout: At some point, every undergrad has had a tough time finding where they are supposed to be going. When that happens, you brush it off like you know exactly where you are, even though you’re freaking out inside your head. What makes it worse is when you finally do reach the top of the fifth flight of stairs, then you have to act like you aren’t totally winded.
If you want to not be the lost puppy on campus, try exploring before your classes or events. Just take a stroll around your school grounds looking for the places you need to go. It may not be the most fun thing to do in your free time, but it beats being late to class and pretending you didn’t get lost.
Procrastination should be an Olympic sport for college students.
Most students quickly become pros at putting off assignments, because they feel that they don’t have enough time to get it all done. Between activities, going to class and working, college students sometimes stretch themselves impossibly thin. Instead of helping themselves out, however, by scheduling their responsibilities to manage their time in a responsible way, a lot of students willfully ignore their homework, which only makes a bad situation worse.
Procrastination happens all the time on college campuses, and it happens to everyone at some point. While binge-watching Netflix until two in the morning might seem like a foregone conclusion, there are ways you can combat it. Planning ahead and writing things down helps a lot, and you should probably invest in a planner to help keep track of everything you need to accomplish.
While some students brag about how much they procrastinate, they’re probably only telling you about the times it didn’t come back to bite them. Not studying and getting an A? That makes people envious and you look cool. Not studying till the last minute and you failed a test? You’re an idiot. So even though some students brag about procrastinating, the older you get, the less likely you are to see your poor time management as a sign of intelligence.
3. Loading Up on Caffeine
Staying up all night seems to be the answer to get things done for most college students. When their aforementioned procrastination demands that they pull an all-nighter to finish their homework, undergrads will turn to some version of caffeine for strength, whether it’s coffee, energy drinks or soda.
By that point, many of these burgeoning academics have already brainwashed themselves into believing that they need the caffeine to function, but they don’t. In fact, according to the FDA, not only is caffeine purely supplementary, it can also be crazy overkill: “One hundred to 200 mg (one to two 5 ounce cups of coffee) each day is the limit that some doctors suggest, but each person is a little different.”
In reality, students should try to be more cognizant of the fact that a well-balanced sleep schedule will benefit them more than developing a dependency on caffeine. Caffeine, as with most substances, is fine in moderation, but if you need a lot of it just to function at a basic level, then you’ve made a mistake somewhere down the line. Once you’re that person who lives on an unlimited stream of coffee, your hardcore work ethic starts to look a little bit more like a problem. Seeing someone who’s addicted to something is always kind of depressing, even if it’s just coffee.
4. Sleeping in Class
When staying up all night is a regular problem and caffeine just isn’t cutting it, a lot of students will use class time—the very reason they’re in college in the first place—to catch up on counting sheep.
Especially if the professor leading the lecture is boring or the classroom gives off a cozy vibe, it’s very easy to give in to temptation and doze off for a few minutes. While everyone’s done it, you still don’t want to be the person who’s face-down in the front row of the class. People point you out to their friends and snicker, while the professor feels both insulted and exasperated at how little you seem to care. It might seem inevitable to fall asleep mid-lecture at some point, but it’s definitely a bad look and one that most students will try to avoid.
If you’re ever so sleepy in class that your eyelids start drooping beyond the point of no return, take three minutes to splash some water on your face, get a breath of fresh air and rub your eyes a little bit. Falling asleep in class is easily avoidable and should definitely be something you try and play off.
5. Drinking Too Much
All work and no play makes for some very grumpy students, but how much is too much? Whether it’s getting dinner, grabbing drinks or hitting the bar district, when you’re in college, pretty much everyone goes out with a fair amount of regularity.
While there’s nothing wrong with blowing off steam and enjoying your college years, no one wants to develop a drinking problem or be labeled as the sloppy drunk in the friend group. It’s easy to defend over-consumption in college by pointing to the drinking culture that exists at many universities, but everyone wants to walk the line between too much and too little, and when someone is accused of drinking too much, they’ll always be quick to deny it. Going out and partying is perfectly normal, but taking it too far is uncool, and no one wants the stigma of being a desperate drinker.
Setting limits for yourself is the best way to ensure that you never go overboard; or, that if you do get too drunk or have too many wild nights, that you have a friend group that will act as your safety net and be honest with you about your habits. Budgeting can also help with maintaining a healthy balance between going out and staying in.
6. Skipping Class
Skipping class is definitely something that most college students have done and maybe even reluctantly admitted to doing. If you’ve stayed up way too late or procrastinated on your assignments, skipping seems like the logical answer.
Whenever it feels like you’re justified in ditching class for a day, remember that each time your professor shows up to lead discussion, their presence, that classroom and your books have cost you hundreds of dollars, and when you skip, you may as well be burning money. So while you may be drunk with freedom (or alcohol) as a young undergrad and find the ability to skip class a perk of your newfound freedom, by the time you’re a sophomore and later, you should start to be ashamed of wasting money, resources and time.
As a result, what freshmen brag about over breaks later becomes something that juniors and seniors play off, especially as the reality of the looming post-grad world grows closer and skipping class seems less rebellious than irresponsible.