Guest Post By Thomas Sharpe


OK, let’s face it. Freshman year can be pretty daunting as a concept. For many, college is the first time that they are separated from their family for an extended period of time. This newfound independence can come with a slew of potential mistakes brought about by the inability to properly navigate the complexity of college life. 
Luckily for you, I am here to help. In this article, I have compiled ten mistakes that many college freshmen make in hopes that you are able to identify and prevent said inefficiencies.


1. Not making your dorm room your sanctum

College Desk

Make your dorm room into your base of operations. It should not be just the party spot, instead it should also be a safe place where you can get well-needed downtime after a long day. Allow your dorm room to also serve as a place to study in solitude and get solid sleep.


2. Not using a calendar or agenda

Coffee and planner in dorm

It is a MUST that you have a written (on paper or electronic) calendar in order to ensure that you manage your time wisely in college. Without a calendar you will quickly forget your academic commitments and extracurricular activities. For this reason, you should choose a calendar or agenda that works for you. Use it religiously and you will never miss an assignment or meeting again in college, which will set you up for success in all of your endeavors.


3. Not making time for your friends and family

Friends gathering in dorm

You will find as the semester progresses that you get caught up in the hectic routine of turning assignment after assignment. You will quickly find yourself overwhelmed and stressed. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you must take time away from your classes to relax and talk to your friends and family. Call loved ones regularly and make new friends in the community at your school to prevent homesickness, which can ruin your college experience. 


4. Not having a healthy diet

Healthy college food

Make time for a solid diet. You don’t have to be perfect. 80% healthy / 20% unhealthy will keep you from gaining the famous freshman 15. You will feel and function so much better by keeping this a priority. Hydration with good old-fashioned water is essential too. I shoot for a gallon a day, but your requirements may vary.


5. Not prioritizing wellness and self-care

College student running

Make time for this. Beyond diet, get some meditation if that’s your thing. Journal about three things that you are thankful for daily. Get some sunshine. Go for a walk or exercise. Schedule these activities regularly and watch the rewards unfold before your eyes.


6. Not entering freshman year with an open mind

College student reading

Keep an open mind. You are in a whole new world. This is no time to be closed off. This will involve taking some risks. Life is not a spectator sport. Get involved. Join that club that you’ve always been interested in but never taken the time to explore. Meet new people from around the country. Read a new book. Try new restaurants in your local area. There are a myriad of opportunities that come with being a college student. Take the time to explore them.


7. Not knowing your limits and prioritizing


You simply cannot do it all. You must prioritize. I just said to keep an open mind, right? The idea is to be open to the best possibilities for you given your interests. This way you can choose the very best activities for your precious time. Time is precious. Don’t waste any more of it than you have to on events that just don't matter.


8. Not keeping focused

Neon lights spelling "focus"

Keep distractions (video games, Snapchat, etc.) in their proper place. I acknowledge and fully understand the fact that everyone needs to let off steam. Just keep it in balance. You have a whole lot of new freedom as a freshman in college. Procrastination is a real risk, one that can really prevent you from succeeding in your classes. Find a way to have fun while still getting all of your work done. This is where goal setting and scheduling, as mentioned above, can come in handy.


9. Not being efficient

College student reading

All-nighters and cramming for tests is counter-productive. Schedule in your academic tasks and be consistent with handling them before they become a pressing concern that is overwhelming. Little by little, a little makes a lot. Apply this to your studying. Start studying for your tests around a week in advance so that you can fully comprehend and understand the material. I assure you that this will lead to success.


10. Not showing up

College professor teaching

Not only physically show up, but be mentally present. So much of life is just taking this essential step. Do it consistently. Don’t just sit in a lecture and stare at your computer screen. Instead, actively take notes and really think about what the professor is saying. Ask yourself if the concept makes sense and how it could be applied. 



Knowledge is power. With these common freshman mistakes in mind, you can enter this new phase of your life with coolness and confidence. 

Neon lights spelling "focus"