Written by Shaymaa Mohammed Sedki
Hello, beautiful Cairenes! My name is Shaymaa. Being here, I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with you, as a fresh graduate starting her journey. I’ll be pointing out some of the mistakes I’ve made in college, as well as those of other graduates, to give you the maximum benefit you need to survive college. I’ll also be giving you some tips and insights to avoid such mistakes.
So, what are the mistakes to avoid as a freshman college student?
1-Not making new friends
I isolated myself from everyone in college, by putting aside the whole idea of making new friends. Don’t be surprised!
Some see college as a perfect place to make new friends, while others find it intimidating; especially, if they are shy and quite introverted like me. The whole idea of a new place, a new atmosphere, and meeting new people, is sometimes scary.
Tip: Be more open to new experiences and new people
During the first year, everybody’s like you. They all want to connect with someone and make their first college buddy. So, concerning this matter, you’re not alone. Have your five minutes of courage! Go and say: “Hello!” A simple plain hello to someone you think is feeling as lost as yourself can go miles.
Weird, isn’t it? A second ago, I was telling you to make new friends and get out there, while now I’m telling you that over-socializing is a mistake!
Well, I was talking to two of my colleagues about the mistakes they’d made in college; both of them said that overwhelming themselves with socializing and making tons of friends at once, drained their energy. Besides that, it made them mingle with the wrong crowd, as well as miss out on a lot of their classes.
Tip: Balance between studying and socializing
Choose your friends wisely. Don’t go and befriend ten people all at once. Instead, select two or three good ones. Remember, it’s a matter of quality not quantity. Focus more on studying, but not to the point of draining, or exhausting yourself. By doing so, you will achieve the perfect healthy balance of your college life.
Some students think that too much studying and taking many classes, make them superior and better than all of their peers. Some students sign up for a double major, as well as a minor. You might end up being less focused, and with less energy, so why torture yourself? It’s so stressful and tiring, and you’ll later realize that grades really don’t define how smart of a person you are.
Tip: Focus is the key
You really need to realize that it’s not a competition. When you split your focus on so many things at once, one of them will have the bigger share of your concentration and time. So, why not focus from the beginning on that one thing that interests you most? It’s your choice whether you want to be good at a lot of things, or be the best at one thing.
Procrastinating research papers, assignments, and studying; I’ve done it, and you’ve probably done it before. In my case, since I had been to college, I used to put studying aside till it was exams’ time, but never have I postponed, or slacked when it came to research papers and other assignments. You know why? It puts so much pressure over your shoulders later, and you might end up missing the deadline, or handing out clumsy or blotchy materials.
Tip: Manage and plan your time wisely
Put a plan to yourself by breaking down the paper, the assignment, or the subject material you are studying into smaller parts. Start with the hard stuff that need more time and concentration. By doing so, the other easy parts will pass like a breeze, as you’ll feel more accomplished for finishing the hard parts. By the way, that’s what I used to do, and it worked quite well.
5- Not joining any student activity
It’s by far the worst decision I’ve ever made, and now regret deeply. By missing out that opportunity in college; I missed the fun, the experience, the skills I would’ve gained, and the friendships I could’ve made. So, yes, I missed out on a lot.
Tip: Indulge yourself in a student activity
It’s a great way to challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone, experience new things, and learn valuable life and professional skills.
If you just want to concentrate only on your major, you can find an activity that makes a good fit for you, or would help you gain the experience you need, to build up a strong resume later for your professional career.
Trust me, it’s not a waste of time. You’ll also make some friends and strong bonds along the way.
6- Not taking extra-curricular courses
Another mistake that many college students make is not taking extra-curricular courses, not realizing how important it is to have extra skills, and a different set of experiences beyond their college curriculum. The labor market is tough these days; you need to be all that and more, to get a decent job.
Tip: Make good use of your college time
Take the courses and the training you need while you are in college. These courses or training could be related to your major, or could be something completely far from that. Whichever it is, you’ll benefit from it.
7- Eating junk or unhealthy food
A friend of mine told me, this was one of her mistakes. I thought she was joking, but it turns out that she definitely wasn’t. I think she has a valid point. In college, it’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of things, even when it comes to food. However, you need to keep your mind, as well as your body, sharp and healthy. Most of the food options on campus are unhealthy, and might even cause you stomach aches.
Tip: Bring your own food from home
Yes, nothing is wrong or, as you might say, childish about that. So, wrap a sandwich along with a healthy snack, your favorite juice, and you are good to go. Better be on the safe side, and avoid the unhealthy, stomach-aching junk food.
Lastly, you need to enjoy all the stuff college life could offer. Have tons and loads of fun, my friend! However, a reality check on things isn’t limiting, or blocking the fun out. It just gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll have both; the fun and the productive outcome of your college experience, by following at least some of the above tips.
That’s all for today. Stay tuned for other juicy tips in our upcoming topics!
Have any thoughts?
You’re welcome to share them with us in a comment below. You could also tell us some of the problems you face in college, in case you need some tips or insights on how to handle them.