10 Things to Avoid in College
As an incoming freshman, I’ve received plenty of advice on what to do in college to have a successful academic career and a great social life. However, after talking to some of my older friends who have already been in college a year or two, I learned that paying attention to what you shouldn’t do is just as important, as it saves you from awkwardness and embarrassment. Here are 10 things you should avoid doing in order to have a smooth college experience.
Don’t even think about it. Hard classes are inevitable and the pressure is real. However, cheating is not worth delaying your college education, disappointing your parents, and embarrassing yourself. If you’re ever contemplating cheating, ask yourself this question: is it better to take a blow in the class (which can be made up by extra credit or simply talking to your professor) or be expelled and have to explain why I’m not going back to the college I worked so hard to get into. Yes, this question is slanted, but that’s for a reason: to encourage you to not cheat.
2. Being disrespectful.
Being polite to others is something we have hopefully mastered in kindergarten. Say thank you, please, sorry when needed – you get the point. Going beyond that, it is important to respect others’ space as well. Don’t take hour long showers, clean up after any hair left behind, don’t invade your dorm mates’ personal space by leaving your things around, etc. Avoid being oblivious to your surroundings and do what you would want others to do when it comes to sharing a space with a handful of people.
3. Having bad hygiene.
Similar to the last tip, don’t give others a reason to complain. You (hopefully) wouldn’t like it if someone smelled like a walking trashcan while you were trying to study. So, don’t be a hindrance to others and tend to yourself by taking frequent showers, wearing clean clothes, brushing your teeth, and using deodorant. Being known as that person with major B.O. will decrease your chances of making new friends, having study buddies, and expanding your social and professional life, as people will not want to be around you as much.
4. Drinking/partying too much.
Limit is the key word. Drinking (legally) and partying is completely fine as long as you stay within your limit. This means not drinking until you pass out, not drinking and driving, and not spiraling out of control to the point cops have to be involved. Missing class because you’re sick is understandable, but skipping out due to late night partying is honestly pretty disappointing, as you’re paying so much for college – don’t let carelessness lead to regret.
5. Skipping classes.
This is pretty much explained in #4, but also take into account your relationship with your professors and/or TAs. Any class or discussion skipped equals a missed opportunity to connect with your professors and TAs. Not only are you not skipping out on your own education, but you’re missing out on a chance to impress your professors and receive letters of recommendation and high quality advice regarding your professional career. When it comes to extra credit or borderline grades, you might regret ditching class and not talking to your professor/TAs more often – it’s pretty embarrassing to not show up in class and only talk to your teachers when you need grade accommodations.
6. Reigniting high school drama.
You’re done with high school and you’re in college now. Forget about that friend who broke the girl code by going out with your ex. Ignore the Facebook posts of the mean girl on the softball team who would stir up drama for entertainment purposes. Whether these people are in your college or not, you have nothing to gain from recalling the past and thinking about the pain you may have endured. There are so many new people to meet in college and numerous ways to get out there and start fresh. Classes, clubs, intramural sports, and parties are all great places to meet new people and make friendships that will last a lifetime.
7. Buying from the bookstore.
As convenient as it may sound to buy from the bookstore on campus, price also matters. There are better, cheaper alternatives to buying from the campus bookstore such as slugbooks.com, cheapesttextbooks.com, and Amazon (Prime). There are many other websites to buy or rent textbooks that are half as expensive as the ones found in bookstores. Also, some colleges offer their students Amazon Prime for about six months – this allows students to receive free shipping within two days. Other options for obtaining affordable textbooks and school supplies include joining your college’s “textbooks exchange group” and “for sale group” (the names might vary). If all else fails and you’re on a tight budget, you can always try searching online for the free pdf versions of your textbooks.
If procrastinating is intrinsic in your nature, fear not, there are ways you can get help. On Pinterest or Google, search up “how to study for an exam” weeks before any major upcoming test. Take notes on what you find, plan it out, and follow through. The same applies to homework and papers/essays. Try to avoid all-nighters as much as possible. If you know you can save your health and get maximum sleep (both of which are necessary for doing well on exams), why not start improving your habit of procrastinating now? In fact, open another tab right now and start researching tips on how to not procrastinate. The main messages of this pointer: do it now.
9. Eating junk food and not exercising.
This is easier said than done, but eliminate junk food and hit the gym. Actually, you don’t even have to go to the gym, you can simply just walk outside or do a six-minute workout in your room – yes, this exists and you should definitely look it up for more ideas! As for junk food, replace late night study snacks with healthy ones such as nuts, fruits, or granola bars. Also, I didn’t believe this until I actually tried it but drinking plenty of water throughout the day actually helps you stay awake when needed. Not even kidding, I felt totally energized and awake without a single drop of caffeine, Red bull, or Nutella. Basically, steer clear from junk food as much as possible. You probably have a lot to worry about anyways – the freshman 15 (or just gaining weight in general) doesn’t need to be another one.
10. Going out alone at night.
Whether it be studying late at the library or having a late class at night, there is no reason why you should put your life at risk and walk out alone in the dark. Use your campus’s safety escort program. It doesn’t matter if you’re a male or female, just use it so you don’t have to deal with criminals, muggers, or wildlife (shout out to UC Santa Cruz). Again, you’re probably paying a lot to be at your school, so it would be in your best interest to make use of the money you’re paying by using the services your college has to offer.
As humans, we all make mistakes. While some of these tips may have harsher consequences than others (namely, #1 and #10), don’t be too beat up if you succumbed to making these mistakes. As long as you acknowledge that there is room for improvement and make an effort to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed, you’ll be just fine. Good luck!
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