Mistakes To Avoid for Undergrads Starting College

Are you about to start university? It can be daunting to jump into college without knowing much about what to expect. Here are 13 MISTAKES to AVOID for all freshers.

For yours truly, 2020 has been an unbelievably dynamic year so far.

Among other things, this year marked the commencement of my university experience as a first-year student.

University brings along with it a huge amount of lessons to be learned and I have certainly had a steep learning curve, as I am sure all the other freshers have had themselves.

The beauty of student life is that it is the first stage in life where it becomes obvious to a person of everyone carving their individual paths.

With this in mind, some of you guys might think this list absurdly obvious whilst for others it will be enlightening.

1. FOLLOWING YOUR HIGH SCHOOL ROUTINE

I am sure you know that varsity is nothing like high school.

It is an entirely setup and vibe.

This means that you will need to look at recreating your routine.

Related: 15 Major Differences Between High School and College

routine

2. books books books

No doubt you have definitely heard about the immense workload that university throws at students.

You are going to be buried by assignments, prescribed readings, and just general activities to complete.

It’s a lot to have to stay on top of.

This means that it’s easy for stuff to disappear and so you may be better off keeping all your notes central, be it in a file or online.

stack of books against a strong yellow background

3. staying up to date

Don’t get me wrong here, keeping up with the latest material is how a person ought to be studying.

The reality though is that there will come a time when you fall behind ever so slightly.

When this happens, don’t panic you will get back up to speed.

The problem with keeping up to date with all the work is when it begins to evolve into a source of anxiety and self-induced pressure.

And that ties into the next point…

Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies for Students

Related: Simple Time Management Strategies for Students

time to update

4. workaholic

The extreme to always being up to date is working ahead of the curve.

This certainly speaks to a persons work ethic and its by no means a bad thing.

Though too much of one thing is a bad thing. The same is true for being a workaholic.

The danger in being a workaholic who constantly tries to clear assignments as soon as they come in is that the work doesn’t stop.

And if the work doesn’t stop coming in then the workaholic never goes out.

Related: 15 Types of Students

burn out written on wooden blocks

5. overextending yourself

College is an amazing platform to explore a myriad of new hobbies and activities.

With this gateway into the world of experiences though comes the emphasis that must be placed on self-awareness.

You, and only you will be able to assess if you can handle the load you’re taking on.

Be conscious of the responsibilities you’re signing yourself up for.

man sitting at a desk with sticky notes placed all over his desk and face

6. not asking for help

The student community is one of the most supportive communities out there.

As students, we’re all in the same boat. Everyone has either been there, is going through what you’re experiencing, or is asking the same question as you are.

Don’t be afraid to reach out. People will surprise you with how supportive they are.

hikers helping each other climb a mountain

7. being a lone ranger

Tying in directly to the previous point, we have the lone ranger.

It’s amazing to see how quickly one can come to grips with content or concepts through the use of collaboration.

When it comes to studying and working through problems, teamwork does tend to make the dream work – just remember the previous tip above!

paper planes travelling in one direction with one jet diverting from the standard route

8. sitting in the same lecture seats

Probably one of the most exciting parts about university is being able to make a whole bunch of new friends.

There are plenty of new faces on campus to socialize with.

What I have found is that people tend to sit in roughly the same seats for their lectures.

By moving around the lecture halls and sitting in different areas you can meet many more people and build that network of yours.

On the note of moving around…

Related: What are Lectures Like?

purple and red auditorium seating

9. up & down to campus

Ok, I’ll admit that I am definitely guilty of this one.

More often than not, I’d end up heading back to my room in between lectures to relax.

It certainly has its benefits, but it can tend to be tiring.

It’s worthwhile to consider just planting yourself on campus until the end of your lectures and then head home.

man holding a skateboard walking through a plaza

10. ad hoc meals

Days in the life of a student can be long and draining.

When you get home you’re not necessarily going to feel like cooking yourself a meal.

It’s at times like this that eating out or ordering in becomes all the more appealing.

You’ll save yourself a ton of money and, potentially, time in the gym if you meal prep for the few days or even week that lies ahead.

Related: Are You Looking For Some Tasty Treats?

Related: The Student Money-Making Mindset

woman staring at her open fridge

11. no cookbook

Meal prepping requires having some recipes readily available to be made use of.

You’ll want to sharpen those culinary skills of yours as a student.

After all, there are only so many ways one can eat toast…

Related: 8 Easy Vegan Recipes to Try For Yourself

handwritten cookbook

12. grocery shopping during rush-hour

The fantastic aspect of student life is the freedom and flexibility your schedule often provides.

Times is a luxury that students really are able to soak up.

Because of this, I wouldn’t think any student would be thrilled to spend their invaluable time waiting in ques to check out their groceries.

person in motion grocery shopping

13. fashion show

Comfort is key when it comes to student living.

Slap on those sneakers, sweatpants and hoodie and head over to class.

woman fashion items: heels, dress, purse, makeup, necklaces and hat

THAT’S A WRAP

Hopefully, this little guide will help you to better prepare for your upcoming university journey.

I WANT TO KNOW FORM YOU:

Which tip did you not expect to see on this list?

15 Major Differences between High School and College

Are you about to start college? Are you beginning your student life at university? Then this is a MUST READ article for you. Top-notch advice for new students.

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If you’re reading this then I’m guessing that you are at that stage where you are about to start university.

No doubt it’s an exciting time for you. And starting your student-life should be just that, exciting. But starting from square one – with anything – can be quite stressful and cause a fair bit of anxiety.

Not only will you be starting off from scratch, but you will also be exposed to a new environment with a completely different modus-operandi.

And that’s exactly what this post is for: to introduce to you some of the changes you can expect when graduating from high school and moving to college.

After reading this article you’ll feel more prepared and ready to transition to your new student-life.

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1. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE IN THE KNOW

This is such a revolutionary advance in your learning process:

Previously in high school your teachers would make you aware of your due dates as and when they were nearing.

You were never really aware of the road that lay ahead.

In university you can access the bigger picture, at the click of a button.

Most, if not all universities, have student-portals where students can log in with their credentials and explore the entire academic curriculum for the module of interest.

loading progress bar for update

2. CLOTHING

This is definitely one of the first advantages of being a college student.

You get to wear what you want, how you want, when you want. Nobody will look at you differently for having a unique taste in your dress-code.

The migration from a prescribed wardrobe to that of a carte blanch variety is really refreshing. Each day is something different: jeans and slops on one day, sneakers and tank tops the next.

Now I know exactly what you’re thinking: those are seriously strange combinations.

And you would be right, they are truly peculiar and ’unique’ combinations to assemble, but if there is one thing that you’ll learn pretty quickly, it’s that campus life is not a fashion show.

Remember what I was saying about nobody thinking twice about what you are wearing?!

If anything, the ultimate goal is to be as comfortable as possible because the days can be rather long at times.

And that takes us to our next point…

feet with red and white striped socks

3. LENGTH OF THE DAY

As a fresher coming straight out of high school this is quite the adjustment.

Gone are the days of having x-number of classes with 1-2 breaks in between at regular intervals. Welcome to varsity. Where a 07.30 am – 17.30 pm isn’t exactly uncommon.

OR

You can hit the jackpot. And have 2 or fewer classes in the day – sometimes none at all.

Be prepared for going from class to class, back to back with the odd break here and there…

almost empty hourglass
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4. WORKLOAD

Common sense says that if you are spending more time in class then more work will be covered.

It is a reality that you will just need to accept.

It will take some time for you to adjust. Though the sooner you can, the better.

Because you get thrown into the deep end so quickly, begin to mentally prepare yourself for this change.

You will become swamped with work. You will feel overwhelmed at times.

To counteract this, try working on creating a system – that works for you – to manage all of your admin logically.

Trust me, you will thank yourself later.

Related: Power-House Productivity Strategies

notepad& pen, iPhone, USB, stickynotes, pencils and keyboard neatly organised on tabletop

5. TEACHING

The days of sitting in a relatively intimate learning environment are gone.

A typical lecture can be upwards of 600 students at one time.

It’s busy and it’s packed. So, don’t expect the professor to explain the content in great-depth.

Typically, the lecturers will browse through the content, extract the information, and then simply highlight, and make you aware of the important sections.

The responsibility then falls upon you – the student – to go home and work through the content yourself.

empty auditorium with red cushioned seating

6. FREEDOM

Bless the f-word. It’s the word that’s been on the tip of your tongue for oh-so-long now.

It’s is such a defining moment in your life as a student, and it feels bliss.

You suddenly will ‘actually’, have choices:

  • Do I want to go to class?
  • Am I going to study now?
  • Will I be ditching my 17.30 pm lecture?

I think you get the point.

It’s great, it really is.

But with all that freedom comes a whole host of other responsibilities

orange haired man holding poster with diverging arrows going opposite directions
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7. LEARNING MATERIAL

Probably one of the biggest frustrations during your schooling career is just having to accept whatever material needs to be studied.

In college, there is such a wide variety of different courses to choose from. The keyword being ‘’choose’’.

Now I am not saying that everything you study will be butterflies and rainbows.

Reality check: there will still be content that you won’t want to study.

BUT

For the majority of the time it’ll be work that you actually may just find interesting and of some form of relevance to you.

woman having thoughts about herself in different career fields: businesswoman, nurse, chef, construction worker, doctor

8. TEXTBOOKS

If there is one thing that is going to hurt your wallet it will be this.

In high school you can buy a textbook for a pretty fair price.

University textbooks are a completely different story.

These things are expensive.

You can expect anything up to a 5x price-hike.

If you are ‘unlucky’ then it could even be more than that.

man holding bag of money near a bookshelf

9. ANONYMITY

This point in my opinion is actually one of the biggest advantages of being a student.

There’s no longer anything ‘special’ about you. You are just another face in the crowd.

So how is this exactly an advantage?

Well, for one it gives you the chance to start fresh, explore new things and meet new people.

There are endless opportunities to expand your social network and really just grow as an individual.

You get to focus on yourself.

Because of this lack of recognition, you’ll also find that this is one of the best times to try out new things because there is a somewhat impersonal nature about University.

Nobody is going to give you a hard time for failing to make a success of something new to you.

Your academics might be quite the opposite. In fact, in that area of your student-life you still might catch some flack.

blurred image of a large crowd
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10. FRIENDSHIPS

Naturally, some bonds will fade and others will form.

This is the ultimate time to create new connections with people: the majority of students are open and approachable.

Let’s be real, us youngsters are never ones to turn down the opportunity of making new mates.

Though this also bears a certain aspect of risk to it. Our so-called ‘guard’ will be let down which isn’t altogether a bad thing, but it certainly can allow for the opportunity for toxic relationships to brew.

So, I’m not saying you should do a full CIA-style background check on a prospective friend.

Because if there is one thing that will chase people away, it’ll be this – going FBI agent on them.

Rather just be mindful that you are now in the big world and there is a minority that doesn’t always have the best of intentions.

three young adults sitting on stairs with coffee in the hands whilst posing for a selfie

11. TIME-MANAGEMENT

Wow, this is a big one.

We kind of mentioned it a little earlier as well, but it does deserve its very-own nomination.

The overall pace of life as a student is lightning quick.

You will soon reach the point where you identify that there just isn’t enough time to do all that you had wished to.

This is partly to pay to the fact that your typical day-to-day schedule is irregular. There isn’t any ‘’one size fits all’’ schedule.

What works for you on a Tuesday might not work for you come Wednesday.

It’s a highly flexible routine.

Related: Student Time Management Strategies

hand holding a digital calendar icon

12. GROUP WORK

Now in high school you definitely would have had group projects.

So, this won’t be anything new to you.

BUT

Just know that a lot of the work in university ends up being group work – out of choice.

The content is already difficult as is, so having a pal to work through the assignment with you can only help.

Also, it helps to use it as an excuse for not wanting to work and rather socialize…

multiple hands outstretched on table holding phones/ coffee mugs in a circle
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13. CAMPUS

The size of the campus is enormous.

Be prepared to walk, and walk, and walk, and walk, and walk.

Get lost.

Repeat.

Pro-tip: Google maps can be quite helpful in navigating your way around the place.

Side note: I would recommend finding yourself a comfortable pair of walking-friendly shoes, because there’s a lot of that going on at university – you’ll see!

lady looking at a global map with a notepad& pen, handbag, smartwatch, phone and credit card laid out in front of her

14. AGE GROUPS

Now school typically works in streamlining everyone according to their ages.

You move up in grades and 99% of the time everyone in your grade has the same birth year – barring 1 or 2.

University works a little bit differently. Here there is no prerequisite for how old you need to be to take a certain course.

Because of this, you can be sitting in a class with any number of varying ages.

The general baseline is typically 18, but that can then go on to any age you can possibly think of.

There really isn’t any time limit for when you can/ can’t be a student.

classroom with two young adults working at the back and an elderly working in the foreground

15. DISCOUNTS

This is definitely a favorite perk for many students.

Your degree/ course is pretty much a full-time job. So you can imagine that it doesn’t leave much time to look at getting a side-hustle.

It’s for this reason that many different companies tend to offer discounts specifically aimed at accommodating students.

As students, we don’t always have the greatest flexibility when it comes to finances.

So initiatives such as student discounts are always greatly appreciated.

The notorious ”student-budget” is a real thing so you’ll want to make sure to save money wherever you can.

-10% red discount sign
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And that’s university life, in a nutshell.

Obviously, there are plenty of other micro-differences between the 2 learning environments.

As a high-level-overview – for a prospective student – I feel like this is a good starting point.

I WANT TO KNOW FROM YOU:

Got any questions about anything – leave a comment and I’d be more than happy to help you find the answer.

Feel like I have left something off of the listleave a comment: I’m interested in hearing from you