BY SYLVIA KOHL
The first year at college is an exciting and unique experience that is likely to occupy a special place in your memories. However, how you spend it is also going to have a huge influence on the rest of your life – and even if you want to experience it in your own way, it may be a good idea to avoid some of the most common freshman mistakes that can both spoil your time in college and even have unpleasant far-reaching consequences.
1. Relying Too Much on Junk Food
Cooking your own food may be quite a pain, especially when you barely have time to eat, let alone go for groceries, plan your meals and prepare them. However, freshman 15 isn’t called this for anything – students in their first year of college really tend to gain weight – it may be less or more than 15 pounds, but suddenly switching to pizzas and hamburgers will do it to you, especially if you don’t move around much (another thing many freshmen don’t find enough time for). If you cannot avoid junk food altogether, at least limit its share in your diet.
2. Not Having Enough Sleep
What with a significantly increased workload compared to high school and newfound freedom, a freshman often feels that there are not nearly enough hours in a day. There are so many things to do: you have to find time for studying, revising for exams, doing homework, meeting new people, partying, working a part-time job, taking part in extracurricular activities and much, much more. With all these possibilities dangling in front of you, you are probably tempted to cut down on your sleeping time heavily. However, coffee and energy drinks can get you only so far, and if you try this kind of lifestyle for a while, you risk a severe breakdown that can put you out of commission for a long time and may even have a lasting effect on your health. So make it your rule to set aside time for sleep before you allocate it for anything else.
3. Staying in Your Dorm
Suddenly finding yourself surrounded by strangers without a single familiar face around may be intimidating, especially for introverts, and it is all too easy to decide that staying inside is less nerve-wracking and better for your studies. However, while partying 24 hours a day isn’t the best way to organize your studies, the reverse is also true – if you spend the entirety of your time neatly tucked up in your dorm you won’t get the full college experience, not even close. So go outside, take part in a free campus event, join a club or greet the next stranger you meet – remember, you are not the only freshman who knows nobody around and is looking for new friends.
Procrastination is probably the student’s worst enemy. Compared to high school you are given a much greater degree of freedom when it comes to arranging your schedule, and many freshmen get somewhat high on the feeling, especially if they take part in too many extracurricular activities. Work piles up, it gets even harder to get started with it – until suddenly you find yourself surrounded by deadlines you cannot realistically meet. So make it a rule early on to deal with your workload methodically, without delaying it in favor of more enjoyable activities – and you will find yourself breezing through the amount of work other students consider unmanageable.
College life may be fun and doubly so for freshmen who are new to it all – but it is even more fun if you manage to learn from mistakes of other people and not your own!
Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.