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.

Advantages of Living Alone in University

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One of the most important considerations for your university career is solidifying your accommodations. There are a variety of different options available, but our two part article looks at the option of living alone in university and the viability, advantages, and disadvantages of this approach.

Living Alone in University as a Legitimate Option

In comparison to your other alternatives, such as living with roommates or staying in residence, living alone in university is a legitimate choice, if not the most popular. Considering the option of living alone is a matter of looking at the costs involved, the specific personal advantages and disadvantages, and evaluating exactly what’s involved. Some students prefer the solitude, while others live by themselves out of necessity either because they can’t find a roommate or because their chosen accommodations are only suitable for one person.

The Advantages of Living Alone in University

While individual situations will certainly vary, there are a number of advantages to living alone in university that some students may find attractive. For one, you don’t have to worry about stepping on your roommates’ toes over mess, noise, or particularly destructive parties. Because you are the only one living in your place, you are in total control over what happens, who comes over, and what goes where.

Living alone also offers greater flexibility than living with roommates because you can be as picky as you want to be when it comes to picking your accommodations. If you want to live in a specific location or in a particular kind of apartment, you have the final word, since you don’t have to deal with the opinions of anybody but yourself. You also avoid the arguments and tension that can come along with choosing who gets what room, who buys what pieces of furniture, who pays what utilities, and other common disagreements.

For the more introverted student, living alone gives you more control over what level of social interaction you have based on what you feel most comfortable with. If you like to hang out with friends less frequently than most other people, you won’t feel pressured to go out any more often than you want to. You can also invite people over whenever you want to without having to tiptoe around your roommates or deal with any of their friends if you don’t feel like it. This shouldn’t be construed as a way to escape social interaction altogether (since social life is an integral part of university) but more the ability to have a greater degree of control over your social life and when and where you choose to socialize.

Studying also becomes easier when living alone (at least in theory), as there likely won’t be any unwanted noise, or at least a lot less. Having a house full of roommates on wildly different exam schedules can cause unnecessary fights or cacophonies of shushing while everyone tries to study while the rest try to decompress after their own tough exams and assignments.

Living Alone in University Continued

Next week, on part two of our living alone in university discussion, we will explore the various downsides to a solitary living arrangement in university and come to a general conclusion on the practise.