Thirteen Things NOT to Do as a College Freshman

Freshman year of college is a crazy and exciting time in your life! You are finally living alone, likely in a new city or community where you don’t know too many people yet. Being a college freshman can often be overwhelming and intimidating, too. There is lots of advice on what to do to make your first year easier, but here are some things you probably should NOT do.

Being a college freshman can be overwhelming. (Twenty20 @melaniekim)

Here are a few common mistakes that college freshmen make 

1. Telling people your ACT or SAT score 

Don’t bring up your ACT or SAT score unless someone asks you. That is now a thing of the past and completely irrelevant that you are a college student. Everyone at the university is there for a reason, and no one cares what you score on a standardized test. 

2. Telling everyone you are a sophomore in terms of credits 

This is a way to get on people’s nerves very quickly because it comes across as you being better than all the other freshmen. It is best not to mention it unless you are directly asked about it. 

3. Cramming for exams like you did in high school

As someone who would study for exams the night before and get straight A’s in high school, I can assure you that college tests are much harder. Cramming for exams does not work in college unless the exam is solely memorization-based (such as fill-in-the-blank questions). For the most part, college, exams require a deeper understanding of the material. A great way to study for college exams is to start studying a week in advance and continue to study every day before the test. Always attend review sessions for the exam. One of the best ways to study for college tests is to get a small group together and review the material. If you can explain the content to someone else, you should be well prepared for the test. 

4. Looking at your phone while walking on campus

Staring down at your phone while walking on campus is dangerous because bikers and skateboarders are usually nearby, so you need to be aware of your surroundings. And, if you look around, you will likely run into friends or people from your dorm while you are walking on campus and can stop to say hello or wave to them. Or better yet, you can smile and say hello to someone you haven’t met. 

5. Going home every single weekend

A mistake many kids who go to a university near their home will make is going home every weekend. Weekends are when people go out and have fun with their friends on campus. Most of my best memories from college happened on the weekend because that was when my friends and I went to the beach, hiking, or exploring nearby towns together. If you want to go home on the weekend, try to limit yourself to once a month. 

6. FaceTiming your long-distance partner every day

FaceTiming your long-distance partner every day is excessive. Living in the moment and spending time with people on campus is much better. Especially during the first few weeks of school, it is best to be out of your dorm meeting new people. If you want to FaceTime or call your partner, try not to let these calls consume your free time.

7. Drinking in the dorms or bragging about being drunk

This is distasteful and makes it seem like you are way too eager to be partying. Plus, drinking in the dorms is risky, as some universities will even expel you if you are caught with alcohol in the dorms. 

8. Posting partying photos on social media 

It is always smart to be careful what you post on social media. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see. If you post any party photos, ensure that your account is private or that there is no alcohol or illegal substances in the photo. Better yet, don’t drink alcohol if you are underage, and stay away from illegal substances.

9. Going on your phone in class

While it might seem okay if the professor cannot see it, it is extremely disrespectful and rude. It can also be distracting to your fellow students. I have seen it happen many times that a student is quietly on their phone during class and accidentally clicks on something with the volume up and everyone stares at the person. Don’t be that person — stay off of your phone for the one-hour class period. A way to avoid the temptation of checking your phone during class is to put it on airplane mode or turn it off while class is in session. 

10. Skipping class

Although some classes may not take attendance, it feels “optional” to go; you will miss important information if you skip class. Even though some classes don’t take attendance, professors sometimes give pop quizzes or extra credit to students who are present. 

11. Spending all of your time studying

While studying is super important and you want to earn passing/good grades, remember to spend time with your friends too! Doing fun things with your friends is essential for being happy and well-rounded in college. 

12. Taking on too many things

Remember not to overdo it. You may want to be a part of many clubs, sports teams, and Greek life, but don’t take on too many things. This will lead to you feeling stressed out and overworked. Only do what you can handle, and remember to take it easy your first semester of college to have free time to hang out with friends and extra time for studying. 

13. Showering without shower shoes

The dorm bathrooms can sometimes be gross, so always shower with shower shoes. Even if your bathroom is suite-style, wearing shower shoes to avoid fungal infections such as athlete’s foot is still a smart idea.

More Great Reading:

Letter to My Freshman Self: Nine Regrets I Have From College

About Madeleine Korn

Madeleine Korn is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After graduating, she worked in marketing for a cybersecurity company for a year and a half. For the past year, she has been traveling the world while volunteering in hostels. Starting this fall, she will be teaching English in Spain. To learn more, here are her social media accounts: TikTok and Instagram. She loves writing and creating videos and really enjoys working for Grown and Flown!

Read more posts by Madeleine

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