10 Most Common College Freshman Mistakes
For most new students, the initial year of college represents the first time they have ventured out on their own.
College is a time when you begin your transformational journey from a carefree school kid to a much more responsible adult. The choice of college and area of study would come under some of the most importance decisions of your life. So as a college freshman, with so many expectations from all around, you are bound to learn a few things by error and trial but most of the lessons could be learnt without falling prey to the chaotic transitional issues. Here is a list of ten most common but preventable mistakes college freshmen make along with their common sense solutions. The nature of these mistakes comes under three main categories:
• Academic mistakes
• Personal mistakes
• Financial mistakes
1. Lack of Proper Planning and Time Management
With the new-found freedom, most of the college students tend to forget the importance of discipline and time management in their lives and procrastinate. When in reality, college is the time you need to bring your A-game when it comes to prioritizing tasks and remembering deadlines, along with some down time for unwinding.
2. Not Realizing Changed College Study Pattern
Having been through twelve long years of school gives you an elusive assurance that you know how to catch up to studies in college too. But that proves wrong as soon as you struggle through your first few tests. College study pattern differs a huge extent from school study pattern, where in school you are dictated most of the class work by the teacher, in college it is your responsibility to note down important pointers from the lecture and read on your own to make proper notes. You might also have to consider joining a study group for help from fellow students or guidance from seniors or from special services which provide students with ace papers.
3. Not Creating Connections with College Faculty
One of the most important transformations is the nature of interaction between teacher-student in college. Whereas in school, you would not want to meet the teacher outside class for any academic need, in college you would have to ask your lecturer to set aside some time to discuss some of the topics talked about in the class. As a college freshman, you could gain a lot from having your teacher take on the additional role of a mentor.
4. Delusional Future Career Planning
College is where most young people see their childhood dreams either come true or evolve into much more practical form or else simple switch to some completely different area. As we discussed the importance of having a mentor, you could also seek career guidance from your campus counselor and share your concerns or aspirations for the choice of courses you have made. The counselor would give you a much more realistic picture of the particular career path of your choosing and also the entry-level salaries across industry. You might also get some assistance in how to create a resume and interviewing tips.
5. Ignoring Mental Health
Any big change has an impact, both positive and negative, on our mental health and as a college freshman everything seems like a shock at first. Students need to focus on their tendencies towards overwhelming anxiety and depression since a large majority of students struggle with college life adjustments, according to 2013 National College Health Assessment. Building a support system among college friends, getting enough sleep, working out regularly, eating healthy food, and asking for help whenever you feel overwhelmed will help keep you mentally healthy.
6. Irresponsible Social Media Usage
Social media has become one of the leading distractions in the technologically advanced world of today. College freshmen should understand that they could be as vulnerable in the virtual world as they find themselves in the real world. Bullying and blackmail exist online as much as they do in the real life. Therefore you need to be watchful of sharing any personal details online or spending an unhealthy amount of time surfing aimlessly.
7. Not Having a Support System
As already mentioned, the stressful transitional phase of college could be made a lot more bearable if you create strong supportive connections around you in the new setting. From your fellow students to your teachers, having the security and assurance of going to someone in the time of need or stress could be a blessing in itself.
8. Not Sticking to a Weekly/Monthly Budget
Being an adult, one of the foremost responsibilities is having solid financial literacy and the will to live within one’s means. College is expensive, not just tuition fees-wise but the day-to-day living costs add up to a sizeable chunk of your college savings (or debt, if you have taken any) therefore making a budget and sticking to it is a habit worth cultivating.
9. Non-existent Emergency Fund
Money management is one skill that would serve you a long way in your professional and personal lives and the most critical aspect is to having a ‘rainy day saving’ box or simply an ‘emergency fund’. This would prove a life-saver in case of any unforeseen expenditure or medical emergency.
10. Ignoring Financial Aid Deadlines
Every college freshman who wants to gain access to any financial aid for their studies need to strictly follow the deadlines months in advance so that they are well-prepared at the right time. Otherwise, missing a deadline could mean a financial and mental chaos, to put it mildly.
Whatever the mistakes, by re-adjusting the expectations, both from others and your own self, and being self-aware of some of the bad habits you might have survived through most of your teen age, the road through college might not be as stressful as you may assume.