4 Most Common Freshman Mistakes
4 Most Common Freshman Mistakes

The 4 Most Common Mistakes That Incoming Freshman Make

To be fair, you may still be making a lot of these long past freshmen year, but that's on you.
May 14, 2017
8 mins read

Freshman Four

To be fair, you may still be making a lot of these long past freshmen year, but that’s on you.

By Lindsay Biondy, University of Pittsburgh

Everyone says college is an adjustment, and whether it’s regarding the schoolwork, living away from your parents or the new social dynamic, everyone struggles when they’re a freshman, at least a little bit.

As a rising senior, I’d like to think that I’m beginning to get my life on track. But two years ago, I was a completely different person. I was a Business major who had no idea who my friends were going to be, what I wanted to do with my life or even how to cook. Now, I’m an English major with some good friends, a surprising amount of experience in my field and a little cooking knowledge.

I’m sure a lot of people have had similar experiences. In high school, you’re told what to do, what to study and when you can go to the bathroom, but college is a different beast. It’s like the boss battle of adolescence before you can advance to adulthood.

But, maybe I can give you some cheats. Here are a few of the most common mistakes freshmen make when college rolls around.

1. Overeating

I don’t want to scare you, but I care about you, dear readers. So, I will. The freshman fifteen is real.

I’ve known people who have gained three pounds, and people who have gained thirty pounds their first year of college. I don’t know why it happens, but I’m assuming it has something to do with the lack of parents around to cook for you, the meal plans making it look like you can have a free buffet of food from the dining hall every day, or the countless restaurants that surround college campuses. Whatever the reason, you’ll probably gain weight.

4 Most Common Freshman Mistakes
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And that’s okay. It’s okay to be self-conscious about it too. Just try to be aware. Some weight-gain prevention techniques that may help you include eating a salad every day, buying a scale and weighing yourself daily (it’s way easier to lose one pound than ten) and taking advantage of the campus gyms.

If you’re like me and hate gyms, find an intramural team you want to join. Don’t like the “classic sports”? See if your school offers some more obscure ones, like quidditch, fencing or Frisbee.

2. Hoes Before Bros

How is it possible that boys (and girls) are more attractive in college than they were three months ago? I don’t know, but I do know it’s easy to get swept up in a new relationship at the beginning of college. It’s easy to isolate yourself inside your tiny honeymoon-phase bubble and ignore the rest of the world.

But, that will be your downfall.

If you start a new relationship in college, do not make them your world. Set strict limits on how much time you spend with them, because it’s way more important to make new friends and join clubs that are separate from your significant other.

I met a guy at freshman orientation, and I immediately started dating him. I spent at least six hours with him every day of the week, and I slept in my own room only three days a week. My roommate and my other friends made jokes that I was never around, and it’s true. My roommate was basically living in a single.

And guess what happened? Four months later, we had a horrible breakup. I was lucky, because even though I declined all her invitations, my roommate never stopped inviting me to hang out. And when I was heartbroken, my group of friends threw me an “I love Lindsay” party. And really, I barely knew these people.

I got lucky. I had people who stuck by me. And if you make the same mistake and get sucked into a new relationship, I hope you have people who will stick by you too. But, that’s not always the case. You may just find yourself spending Friday nights alone.

Moral of the story? Chicks before dicks. Bros before hoes. M8s before D8s. Sisters before misters. Brothers before others. Madams before Adams. You get the idea.

3. Poor Schedules

When you schedule your first round of classes, you may think to yourself, “I woke up at 6:30 a.m for high school, so I can easily go to an 8 a.m. class.

Don’t. It’s a trap.

4 Most Common Freshman Mistakes
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If you’re a morning person, great. Skip this step. But, if you’re not, keep reading. Waking up for an 8 a.m. is awful. You won’t change your sleeping habits. You’ll still go to bed at 2 a.m. and have to wake up by 7:15 a.m. You’ll be tired all day, so you’ll start taking naps, then you won’t be able to go to sleep early, and then the cycle will start all over again.

Be realistic. You know yourself. Do you like to sleep in, or do you like to get all your classes out of the way to free up your afternoon? You may have amazing willpower, and maybe you’ll be able to change your habits, turn into a morning person and deal with those 8 a.m. classes like a champ.

But, maybe not. Save yourself the agony, and schedule that Intro to Psychology class for 10 a.m. Or 11 a.m. Or noon.

4. Time Management

In high school, you could start studying for a test at 11 p.m. the night before and get an easy A. In college, that won’t fly. I’ll admit it: College courses are not as hard as your high school teachers made them out to be. If you’ve taken any AP tests, they were probably harder than most college exams you’ll have to take.

The thing is you need to put in the effort. I’m not going to tell you to study three days before, or two weeks before, because everyone is different. I’ve never studied for a test more than three days in advance, but I’ve also never taken O-Chem. I hear that’s a tough one.

So, my advice is this: When your first set of midterms come around, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s better to over-study than under. Whatever amount of time you think you need to study, double it. Maybe you won’t actually need the extra time, in which case you can adjust your studying habits for the next exam.

So many students fall behind in their first semester, and they spend the rest of their college careers trying to play catch up. It’s easier to just avoid that from the beginning.

So, if you happen to be an incoming freshman, remember that you’re going to make mistakes and it’s going to suck, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll get better.

Lindsay Biondy, University of Pittsburgh

English Writing, Legal Studies
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