You’ve survived your first couple of weeks at college, but you still have a lot to learn. Be aware of, and actively avoid, the top mistakes newbies commit, and your first year of college won’t be nearly as big of a disaster as you’ve always imagined it to be.
1. Go to Class
This is the number one rule regarding academics. As a freshman, your coursework is the easiest out of your entire college career. The big hurdle to getting that 4.0 you’ve always dreamed of is actually showing up to class. I know it’s snowing/raining/just cold outside, but you will thank yourself during finals for making those arduous journeys to your classroom.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
Everyone is guilty of this mistake. Oh, a 20 page paper is due on September 23rd? Well, better start it at 11:00 PM on September 22nd! You spend all night only to finish half of it, get a D on the paper, and then you’re so tired for the rest of the week that you shirk off other responsibilities. We’ve all been through it. However, it’s a vicious cycle that only ends with your tears when you see your grades.
3. Don’t Buy Books at the University Store
I love Towson’s University Store as much as the next person. Buying textbooks there is by far the most convenient method when it comes to distance traveled and time waiting for books. However, if you can spare the time without a textbook, consider shopping around. If you’re willing to wait almost a week at times for shipping, you can end up saving incredible amounts of money.
4. Exercise and Eat Right
The “freshman 15” is no joke. I laughed it off as an urban legend until it ended up coming true. Remember to always make time for exercise, no matter how busy your schedule is, and try to select healthier options when dining on campus. A little bit of exercise here and a healthy snack or meal over there adds up to real results.
5. Get Involved
Do you find yourself having nothing to do after classes? Not making as many friends as you hoped? You need to get involved on campus. Towson University offers many, many ways to get involved with other students. By far, the best way is to join a club or student organization. Look up one you’re interested in on Involved@TU and get in touch with the organization’s primary contact. They will most likely welcome you with open arms and supply you with further information.
6. Don’t Take on Too Many Commitments
Getting involved is one thing, but taking on so many commitments that you’re slipping on your coursework is an entirely other issue. Remember why you went to college? I’ll give you a hint: it was to receive an education, not to join as many clubs as you can find. Learn when to say “no,” and prioritize activities you’re involved in based on personal preference. Prioritization is a huge skill and cultivating it now, while you’re bombarded with so many options, will make a difference during your entire life.
7. Have Fun, But Not Too Much Fun
For the rest of your college career and later life, you’ll be telling stories about what you did during your freshman year. But recognize there is a difference between good-natured fun and being arrested and thrown into a police car. This is likely your first extended stay away from home, so feel free to take some risks for the experience, but please do not go overboard with this newfound freedom.
BONUS TIP: DITCH THE LANYARD
I thought everyone knew about the stereotypical college freshman being singled out because of wearing the school’s lanyard. Apparently, this is not the case. I’ve been asked by multiple freshmen, all wearing Towson lanyards around their necks, about how to not look like a freshman. It’s perfectly fine if you’d like people to know if you’re a freshman; Towson students are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help you if you look lost. But if you don’t want to look like a freshman, do not wear the lanyard. It’s as simple as that.
– Russell Bowen