As a US college freshman, I was determined not to make any mistakes. I packed everything I was supposed to, greeted my three new roommates with a smile and even located the buildings where my classes were to be held the night before they began so I wouldn’t get lost.
I was ready.
But – and I’m sure you’re shocked, just shocked! – I still made mistakes. My mistakes were ones I didn’t see coming as I prepared for my freshman year. They snuck up on me all the same.
I made these three mistakes as a US college freshman. You don’t have to.
1. I was too quiet.
Sure, I made friends in college. In fact, I still count two of my freshman-year roommates as some of my best friends, even after we’ve graduated. What’s more, I nearly always got to know at least one person in each class I took. Going to classes was a lot more fun when I knew I would see (and sit beside) a friendly face.
My mistake was that I would rarely make the first move. I waited until someone started talking to me instead of taking the initiative to start a conversation first. Yes, our dorm room door was open pretty much any time my roommates and I weren’t asleep, but that’s not all it takes. You have to do a little legwork yourself and stop by your dormmates’ open doors as well. I didn’t, but I should’ve.
2. I fell asleep in class.
Since my high school classes began at 8:12 a.m. on the dot, I thought taking an 8:30 a.m. class my freshman year of college wouldn’t be a problem. My mistake. My hours as a college student were much different than my hours as a high schooler. I stayed up later, which meant I also wanted to sleep later. Much later.
I always made it to class; I never skipped, not once. But my eyes weren’t always wide open – or open at all — during that morning math class. I was lucky and got an “A” that quarter, but I never made that mistake again. I either scheduled later courses so I wasn’t tired in class, or I prepared by getting a good night’s rest.
3. I tried to prepare for everything.
Being prepared is hardly a mistake. Being too prepared is, however. When I was registering for my first quarter classes before my freshman year began, I also began choosing which courses I wanted to take each of the next three-and-a-half years.
I quickly learned that this was not only a mistake, but also impossible. Some classes aren’t offered every term. Requirements change. And sometimes something unexpected comes along – such as the internship I received my senior year that awarded me credit. Don’t get me wrong: Planning ahead did pay off. Because I was so organized my first three years of college and finished a lot of required classes, I was able to cut back on the number of classes I took during my senior year when I had that internship.
The lesson: Be prepared, but be flexible.
Every first year college student makes mistakes. Heck, every human being makes mistakes. The trick is to learn from the mistakes others have made … and make totally new mistakes on your own! On that note, what mistakes have you made as a college freshman?