5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid as a Freshman in University

Hermit crab

As a first year student in university, you will initially have to struggle with a wide variety of changes to both your lifestyle and your academic workload. The following is a list of the five biggest mistakes that many frosh, or first year students, commit as they enter university life after high school.

5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid as a Freshman

1. The Freshman 15

For many students who are living away from home for the first time in their lives, one of the biggest adjustments they have to make revolves around not having ready made, and relatively healthier, home cooked meals at their disposal. Since most students who live in residence are provided with highly processed and fatty cafeteria food, they average person’s diet quality takes a nosedive when entering university. Coupled with the likelihood that many give into the drinking/partying lifestyle of being a college student, it is not uncommon for first years to gain the infamous freshman 15 (fifteen pounds of fat)

2. Blowing Money on Textbooks

Entering first year, you might not be aware that most campuses have a sizeable market for used textbooks. Not only do school bookstores often have a used section where you can purchase older copies of texts for a lower price, but many students use social media and sites like ebay or kijiji to offer their old books at a discount price. Moreover what you will often discover is that some of the books that are assigned in your course syllabus are not even mandatory and sometimes see no use whatsoever. Thus it is often best to wait it out a bit, and go to your first couple of lectures too find out what books you do and do not need.

3. Over-socializing/Under-socializing

A common pattern for many entering first year is to fully embrace their new found freedom and express it through an often reckless partying lifestyle. While it is great to make to new friends and have fun, it would be wise to keep in mind that you are a student and the primary goal of spending thousands of dollars at a post secondary institution is to further your education. First year is a crucial time to lay the foundations for the rest of your university career, thus it is better to start off strong so you do not live a life of regret and missed opportunities when you are older.

On the flip side, it is highly ill advised to focus solely on your studies and become a social hermit. Socializing and having a core group of friends to tide you over during your university is essential for reducing stress levels and ensuring that you are living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. After all you are human, and it is important to take care of your needs. Failing to do so might lead to a depressive state which ultimately might bring down your academic performance as well.

4. Not Adapting to the Work Load

This point is fairly blunt; university is tougher than high school, a lot tougher. As a result you must be prepared to put in more work if you are to succeed or maintain the same level of performance that you did in throughout your pervious academic career.

5. Believing Your Grades don’t Count

Closely related to the first half of point number three, some student decide early on that their first year marks are irrelevant as long as they preform well in their upper year courses. What many who think this way soon discover when applying for grad school or highly competitive programs such as law or medical school, is that a student’s entire academic career matters. If an admissions board notices that during your first year you barely passed a couple of your classes, it  might mean that you lose a competitive edge in limited enrolment programs against students with a more consistent record of performance.

Avoiding the Biggest Freshman Mistakes

If you are just heading off to university it would be wise to keep in mind the five points that were discussed in this article. However, regardless of the advice that we or any of your family and friends will give you, it is inevitable that you will end up making your own mistakes as you are adapting to your new environment in university. Therefore it is always good to use your own judgement and to be proactive about the choices that you make in university and always think ahead about how to improve yourself.

Drinking Guide for First Years: 6 Tips for Navigating Drinking Culture

Drinking Guide

Regardless of your prior experiences with social drinking upon entering university, it is important to always keep in mind the following points from our drinking guide to ensure that you do not go overboard and make a fool of yourself in front of your new friends.

Do You Need a Drinking Guide for University?

Lets face it, not everyone who enters university has a lot experience with alcohol. While according to the law you should have no drinking experience in high school (as you would have been underage), your experience with partying and alcohol consumption would probably vary considerably based on which social circles you belonged to in your teenage years. If you are someone who was not part of the drinking crowd in high school, yet are entering university anxious to fit in with the general social culture that surrounds you, then this drinking guide is here to help you figure out how to drink responsibly and not make a series of rookie mistakes when you begin to experiment.

The Basic Drinking Guide for First Years

1. Learn to Pace Yourself

For the average person, their body can usually process one drink of alcohol per hour without getting inebriated.  Yet if you are heading off to your first year of university and getting exposed to the binge drinking culture, you will likely consume more than body is able to properly handle and therefore get intoxicated or “drunk”. That being said unless you want to end up with the paramedics being called on you, it is best to avoid pounding ten drinks in an hour and learn how to pace yourself. If all of your new dorm friends are enjoying a night of alcohol fuelled partying and you wish to join their state of inebriation, it is best to start off with at a moderate rate of two to three drinks and hour, and to broadly spread out your consumption if you know you are in for a night of hard drinking.

2. Always Measure and Keep Count

Crucial to drinking responsibly is learning to gage your alcohol tolerance and knowing when to stop. That being said, the best way to measure yourself when drinking is to count the amount of drinks that you have consumed. A general rule is one beer = one shot of hard liquor = one glass of wine. By knowing how many drinks you have had, and starting out low your first few times you will be in much better control of yourself, and less likely to go overboard and wake up in a pool of your own vomit.

3. Do Not Mix Different Types of Alcohol

Building on the previous point, while one beer = one shot = one glass of wine, mixing two or three different forms of alcohol is often a recipe for disaster as it may get confusing. Trust me. After you have buzz going you do not want to be sorting the mental puzzle of how your alcohol consumption adds up. Stick to either beer or liquor for the night and you will have a much easier time counting.

4. Drink Only as Much as You Feel Comfortable With

Normally this should a no-brainer were it not for the often strong effects of peer pressure. Yet even if everyone around you is drinking heavily and pressing you to constantly join in for another round, you should stick to your own pace and resist the pressure. While you may think its uncool to do so, just remember that it ends up looking a lot worse for you if you go overboard and make a fool of yourself by proving you can not handle your alcohol.

5. Do Not Use Alcohol as a Means of Getting over Your Insecurities

Alcohol is often called a social lubricant due to its ability to relax or remove your inhibitions. Yet at the same time it can also severely impair your motor functioning and cognitive reasoning abilities. Thus if you are someone who is shy and lacks confidence when meeting new people, do not look to alcohol as a quick fix to your problems. Work on feeling better about yourself and practise talking to people without the aid of mind altering substances. If you ignore this advice, and stick to getting intoxicated as a means of socializing with others, then you have a sure fire way of making and ass of yourself. Especially in your dealings with the opposite sex.

6. Keep Costs Down and Pre

This last point on our drinking guide is simple. Going to the bar/club to get loaded can be VERY EXPENSIVE. Hence why the term per-drink exists. Have a few drinks with your friends back in your room to loosen up before going out, and avoid the situation where you attempt to get trashed by pounding jaeger bombs at the club. Otherwise you will be forced to subsist of macaroni and cheese for the rest of the month.

Moving Past the Guide and Drinking Responsibly

Eventually there will come a time when you are seasoned enough that you will understand all of the aforementioned points from your own experiences. By this point there would be no need for any sort of drinking guide. All you will have to do is simply learn to drink responsibly and to properly pace yourself, and everything will be fine.