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7 Mistakes You'll Probably Make Your First Week Of College


In a whirlwind of orientation activities, new classes and unfamiliar faces, the freedom that comes with stepping onto campus freshman year can be somewhat overwhelming. With so much to do and so little structure, you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road along the way. Be aware of these five mistakes every freshman is likely to make during her first week of college ––and prepare yourself to avoid them!

1. Not using your resources

Finally ready to break into a world free of adult supervision, freshmen often assume they don’t need any handholding. “The biggest mistakes freshmen make are often rooted in what is ultimately a desire to not feel quite so new — to feel more comfortable and settled on campus than they possibly could be right away,” says Julie Zeilinger, author of College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year. “Ask for help, admit that you're still adjusting to a totally new environment and lifestyle.”

Ashley Austin, assistant director for campus life at Tufts University, suggests utilizing available resources such as your college’s tutoring centers and professors’ office hours. “The people who work there are helpful and want you to succeed,” Ashley says. “They have a lot of tips, tricks, and methods on studying, time management, and adjusting to a college workload. I might have passed my first year math course had I taken advantage of these free resources.”

Make sure you take note of where you can find academic assistance and make an effort to go. Putting in that little bit extra effort can go a long way.

2. Not leaving home at home

Being in a new and unfamiliar place can have you desperately vying for something comfortable. A huge freshman year pitfall is spending your first week glued to your phone, constantly texting your parents, best friends or SO from back home. Clutching on to old bonds can keep you from forming new ones.

Reilly Tuccinard, a junior at the University of South Carolina, knows how easy it is to slip into old habits. “I didn’t go out as much as I should have because I was still obsessed with my group message from home,” she says.

Your friends from high school will still be there, but the best way to get a good start to the next four years is to create a new home for yourself at college—meaning you should say “maybe another time” to that skype call during your first week.

3. Expecting your roommate to be your best friend

You may have envisioned hours of pillow talk, hundreds of #roomielove pictures and countless stories you could tell on her wedding day (where you are obviously her Maid of Honor).

But, rooming with your best friend from home or thinking your future roomie will be your best friend can be a huge mistake. “Two of my good friends went to the same school and decided to be roommates because they knew each other and didn’t want to be stuck with a weirdo,” says Jenna*, a junior at Tufts University. “They ended up fighting all the time and they don’t speak anymore.”

Using roommates as a crutch in any friendship can either leave you feeling super dependent or depended on. If you end up clicking with your roommate, that’s great! But, it is not guaranteed.

4. Partying too much

Your first week of college is also your first week of freedom —but don’t take that for granted. The world of frat parties and bar-hopping begs for freshman mistakes.

Your first week of college is the time to start making memories, not to start making marks on your permanent record. “During my orientation week, before I even took a class, I went out one night and drank way too much,” says Anna*, a senior at James Madison University. “I ended up getting sick and in trouble within the first few days of moving in!” Take it slow!

A lot of freshmen get a little too excited and don’t realize their limits at the start of college. Just because you may not have a friend to join you in the dining hall does not mean you should skip dinner before drinking. You will wake up on the bathroom floor... best case scenario.

5. Wandering off alone

With newfound independence comes a false sense of security. Regardless of whether you go to school in a city or college town, there are plenty of people wandering campus that do not attend your school.

“I was having a bad night and stupidly decided to leave a party by myself,” says Erica Maybaum, a senior at Boston University. “On the way, I passed a homeless man walking in the opposite direction, who then turned around and followed me for a few blocks until I was able to flag down this couple walking on the other side of the street.”

Yes, you may have just met your “new friends” an hour ago, but you shouldn’t ever go to or leave a party alone. Walking around late at night can be dangerous, and if for some reason you get too sick or feel really uncomfortable in any situation, you want someone looking out for you.

6. Carelessly hooking up

College means a whole new crop of cuties coming your way! But, before you dive in headfirst, remember that college boys take some time getting used to.

Similarly, you don’t know anyone’s past. That cutie hitting on you in a sweaty frat basement may have an older girlfriend he’s not telling you about (and she may be in, or have friends in a club or sorority you’re hoping to join). Older students understand that freshmen don’t know the ropes, so they know they can take advantage of you more easily.

He may have a reputation of seeking out freshmen, hooking up with them and then dropping them. Or ––even worse–– he may have a history of STIs or sexual assault. Keep your guard up at all times, regardless of who is trying to take it down (or take it off).

7. Judging others for their mistakes

If you’ve learned one thing from this article, it’s that being perfect the first week of school is nearly impossible. As you should never feel embarrassed about making a mistake, you need to cut your peers some slack too.

Ashley points out that it’s easy for freshmen to jump to hasty conclusions  “I think a mistake would be to write something off within that first week, whether it is a roommate, a class, a professor, etc.,” she says. “Give yourself (and others) time to adjust.”

Julie agrees, seeing this tendency in the first-year social scene. “Many freshmen are even quicker than normal to judge their peers, especially in terms of slut shaming or labeling someone a "sloppy drunk", out of their own insecurity and desire to deflect attention from their own potential social missteps,” she says.

Leave that mean-girl attitude in high school. Nothing screams immaturity more than talking about someone you barely know behind her back.

Related: 19 Ways College is Totally Different than High School

Your first week definitely won’t define your next four years —we’ve all made at least one of these mistakes. However, with these potential pitfalls in mind, you should feel more prepared to take on the crazy twists and turns that college will throw at you. Good luck in your new homes, collegiettes!

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