Being a freshman is a critical point in your college life, as it serves as a preparatory stage to determine and measure your ability to succeed years in higher education. However — perhaps out of excitement and curiosity — some students unknowingly commit mistakes in terms of study habits, peer interaction, and classroom behavior. To help you out on your first year, here’s a list of blunders you should avoid:
1. Buying too many college learning applications
With so many different devices and virtual learning tools available, freshmen can get overwhelmed by buying and installing too many tools that they don’t really need. Instead, focus on getting "big picture" apps like organization and time management tools like Evernote and Clear. While free apps are definitely more coveted, keep in mind that it also isn't a bad idea to shell out $0.99 on an app that will really help you, as opposed to a free app that only takes up space on your device.
2. Prioritizing social life
For many students, going to university is an opportunity to live on your own for the first time. In that way, there can be the temptation to neglect your studies and instead focus attending parties with newly met friends. Time management becomes more vital as you will be required to balance your studies, your social life and your extracurricular activities. While this is a time for exploration, it's important to remember that your business of going to college is to learn. There is the opportunity to have both academic and social success — you just have to balance your schedule accordingly.
Procrastination is a student’s worst enemy. As you get committed to extra-curricular activities, the workload piles up, and you may be tempted to delay the important requirements in lieu of the more enjoyable ones. The more you procrastinate, the more it becomes difficult for you to get started.
Time management is the key to avoiding procrastination. “There are five general principles of time management, which includes: planning ahead, prioritizing, establishing realistic goals, setting boundaries, and using time efficiently,” says Melissa Raucci, an Academic Advisor from the University of Rochester. With these five principles, it’s advisable to finish the simple tasks first, before proceeding to the complex ones. If you still find you're struggling to stay on top of your assignments, you can always ask help from your professors or from an on-campus tutor.
4. Signing up for credit cards
Many credit card retailers and companies target students to sign up for their credit cards, so you will probably be getting several applications in the mail starting your freshman year, if not sooner. While credit cards are a good idea for substitute payments, having a credit card can make for financial troubles later on if not used wisely.
Before getting one, you must understand that a credit card is not free money. As you sign up, you are entering a contract, wherein you are required to pay back all the spent money with interest if you don't pay your bills on time. It’s best to talk to your parents first, and check if this is a viable option for your university life. If you decide a credit card isn't the best option for you right now, consider a debit card set up through your bank account that only allows you to spend the money you actually have.
5. Pulling an all-nighter
For cramming students, the only way to get a research paper done is to pull an all-nighter. While it works for most, you’ll be doing yourself more harm if you skip hours of sleep. “Pulling an all-nighter actually makes your memory less functional," says Steven Holbrook, of the Huffington Post. "This is because sleep allows your brain time to repair and refresh itself.” Moreover, sleep deprivation increases the risk of depression, makes you more likely to commit errors and slows down your reaction time. The best option is to finish your scheduled tasks 3-4 days ahead of the deadline. This way, you’ll have enough time to proofread before submitting
By avoiding these five blunders, you can get your college career off to a successful start. All it takes is a smart and a strategic student to maximize and conquer some of the most challenging years of your life.
Kyle Albert is a college senior who assists freshmen in striking a balance between their academic and social life. He writes for Techie Doodlers, wherein he expresses his immense interest in using productivity tools to enhance the learning experience. Kyle would love to hear from you, so go ahead and Tweet him.