You make mistakes all the time. You lock your keys in the car. You drop your iPod. You talk way past your plan’s minute limits. Now you’re heading off to college. Wait, that’s not actually a mistake. You’ve actually done something right! It’s also an opportunity to make a whole lot of life-changing mistakes, if you’re not careful. These are six of those mistakes that could ruin your life immediately if you make any one of them. Well, not really, but you should do all you can to avoid them for your academic and social well-being.
• Control your social anxiety.
Seriously, you’re not the only one. Just understand that many people will be reaching out to new people attempting to form friendships. But you gotta give a little to get a little. Get motivated to go out and meet people and explore. The first few weeks of school are when students are more open to meeting new people than they have ever been, or ever will be again. Don't get left out!
• It’s my money and I’ll buy if I want to.
You’re on your own, and your bank card is burning a hole in your pocket. How do you keep from caving into temptations? Holding your preferences to cafeteria food is one way, and yes, not the most popular way. But a few extra meals on the cheap from the campus food service can end up going a long way at the end of the month. And really, who wants to be caught with an empty account while buying that special someone a big treat on date night?
• You’re not my mom.
You may now be mostly responsible for yourself, but the college administration and staff still make the rules. Don’t take this lightly. Underage drinking, vandalism, theft and fistfights are things campus housing administrators have no problem getting the authorities involved with. It’s best not to find out how quickly. You have a high level of freedom over your actions, but equal responsibility is a hefty part of the equation.
Which leads us to the next mistake …
• I can handle this on my own.
Don’t think that because you are now mostly responsible for yourself that you won’t need help, or that people won’t want to help you. If something is wrong you should tell someone immediately, before things get too bad. Colleges have qualified people in place to help you with just about anything that’s going on in your life, such as depression, difficulty fitting in, loneliness, or even physical threats. If you just need someone to talk to or need advice, ask your Resident Assistant or housing administrator. It’s what they’re there for.
• They’re only my instructors when I’m in class.
Teachers take more of an interest in students who take an interest in them. Not to suggest that you should try and be every teacher’s pet, but a friendly and personable relationship with your instructors can help you make other academic advances. Developing relationships gives your instructors a chance to serve as guides through the bureaucratic red tape that goes along with academic life. Help your teachers and advisors help you!
• Avoid majoring in “tunnel vision.
You have decided that you will go to school to learn how to be, let’s say, a lawyer. Just be careful you don’t close yourself off from a larger pool of new experiences as you work your way there. Knowing what you want out of life and out of school is great, but you'll be exposed to a lot of new things at college. Explore some areas that may enhance your scholastic efforts. Even if you don't discover a new passion, you'll confirm the feelings for your original choice.