To paraphrase a line from Charles Dickens, freshman year in college can be both the best and worst of times.
Luckily, millions of people have been there before you and made all the mistakes first.
The trick is to see if you can benefit from another’s experience or prefer to learn everything the hard way.
Here are 5 things to avoid during your first college year.
The Roommate Lottery
Please don’t rely on luck of the draw when it comes to choosing a roommate. You might get lucky and snag a peach of a guy or gal but you also might strike out big time. It’s not worth rolling the dice. Take advantage of meet and greet activities at freshman orientation to scope out your choices. A smart cookie will already have contacted the school and been scouting social media for likely candidates.
Though the urge will be to take every item of clothing and trinket from your first 18 years of life, trust us, that dorm room or apartment you’ll be moving into is downright tiny. A better strategy is to pack light and use the first few weeks at school to assess what else you really need. Run home and get it at the first opportunity.
8:00 AM Class
College is different than high school. Though you might have had no problem getting to an early morning class on time, don’t make that commitment your first semester. Seriously. You’re liable to be staying up late and imbibing who knows what kind of beverages. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Missing class and falling behind is not a good strategy.
Going It Alone
Even if you’re not the most sociable of human beings, it’s a good idea to get involved with some kind of campus activity, club, or sport early on. You’re going to be living in that place for four years (or more). Going lone wolf will get old after a while and, believe it or not, the college experience should involve more than eating pizza alone and trudging to class.
The Relationship Mistake
College, especially the first semester, is all about beginning to figure out who you are and what you want from life. A serious relationship is the last thing you need at that particular moment in time. This is not to say you should become a monk. Go on dates! Have fun! But don’t commit.
Many college students go a little wild their first semester or year out on their own. While this list is not the definitive answer to having a perfect first year in college, it can certainly help you avoid some of the big stumbling blocks that affect most freshmen. Now get out there and get educated.