I’ve always been a massive nerd about being prepared for school. I’d obsess over new school supplies–the fresh smell of a new binder, the freshness of a new pack of pencils–to make up for the fact that I was disorganized AF. Back-to-school clothes shopping felt like a time to reinvent myself every year, with ever newer neon tights, graphic tees, and hair that was fried straight (my teen aesthetic~). New year, new me, with a bright eyed determination to make sure that year was better than any other. This enthusiasm would last, like, two weeks, but it always felt worth it. But when I started college with similar aspirations, I realized that new clothes and new pencils were only the tip of the iceberg. Listen, there’s nothing on earth–not a back-to-school sale, or a Pinterest board of cute dorm decor ideas–that will truly prepare you for what it’s like to start your first year of college.
You might think that you’re prepared; You know how to write a research paper, you’ll have a campus map handy if need be, and you might even know who your roommate is going to be already. And you read a post about the best bathroom caddies for a communal dorm, so you’re set. Ha, guess again. There are so many things you’re not taking into consideration, like awkward hook ups, or drinking too much at a party, or having a roommate from hell (or…being the roommate from hell). But no worries, use this post as a cheat sheet to some of college’s rude awakenings. Here are nine mistakes you’ll make sure your freshman year of college, and how to fix ’em.
Clinging On To Your High School RelationshipThere are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, that high school romance you're dragging into college will probably be dead by winter break. If you already know that your feelings are changing, or that you're open to the idea of meeting new people, it's unfair to bae to act as if you're interested in maintaining your relationship. On the flipside, you'd probably want to know if your partner wanted to break up with you, but just didn't get around to it yet. What if they're already cheating on you and you just don't know it? It's best for both of you to keep your high school relationship in high school. But I'm A Cheerleader
Unrealistic Expectations About Dorm LifeTry to come into it with no expectations, you'll be better off. Just remember that you don't have to be BFFs with your roommate. At all. You might have a nightmarish roommate; either tough it out or request a room transfer for your own sake. You might have a roommate that you're civil with, but aren't really interested in being friends with. That's totally okay, too! A good rule of thumb is to be chill, communicate without being passive aggressive, and keep it movin. Fresh Meat
Getting Way Too Wasted Way Too OftenI'm not going to sugar coat anything so here it goes: College might be your first foray into binge drinking. You will probably drink to some degree at some point, maybe at a party or in a friend's dorm room. You'll probably drink way too much, maybe on a semi-regular basis, because you don't really know your limits yet. Er, you'll learn the hard way, trust. Just make sure you're not spending every weekend hungover. My So-Called Life
Having A Regretful HookupFew people leave college without at least a handful of these experiences...sometimes all during their freshman year alone. Don't deny your thirst, but don't assume that every hookup will run smoothly either. Girls
Sticking With One CliqueDon't just hang out with the people on your dorm floor non-stop. I'm sure they're fun, but you guys might be friends with each other out of comfort rather than real mutual interest. Don't hesitate to make small talk with people in your class (they're just as awkward as you are, trust) or meet people through on-campus organizations. All of my long lasting friendships from college were made this way. A Different World
Eating Too Much Unhealthy FoodHey, there's nothing wrong with pigging out. I'm all about that life. But it's so tempting to go a little overboard with foods that, eventually, make you feel like garbage if you eat too much of it. Whether it's the food at the caf or your delivery order, it's easy to go overboard. Try to keep some healthy snacks in your dorm, like trail mix (with some dark chocolate bits because, hey, indulge). And try to get as much exercise in as possible; you'll feel so much better when you do. Your campus probably has a gym, so why not drop by every now and then. Hey, you're already paying for it with your tuition, you might as well take advantage of it. YouTube/Cherry Glazerr
Buying A Ton Of Dorm Items You Don't NeedIt's so tempting, I know, but try to resist. Sure, you will definitely need those XL Twin Bed sheets, and a shower caddy, and all that good stuff. But are you really going to use that jewelry organizer? What about that over the door shoe rack? Buy the real essentials that you know you can't last a day without, and then buy extra items as you need them. Amazon.com
Buying New Textbooks Instead Of Used OnesYes, a nice, clean new book for class always feels nicer than a slightly dingy one that has been owned by at least four people prior. But you'll save so much more money if you buy a used book instead, especially if it's a textbook that you know you'll never need for anything else. Check your campus bookstore for their used selection, but don't hesitate to look for used books via Amazon, too. Also, check out Chegg.com if you want to just rent a textbook instead. iStock.com
Not Seeing Your Advisor Often Enough (If At All)I was always shocked by how rarely people saw their advisor. They're there to make sure you don't eff up! Utilize them! They'll help you make sure that your trajectory for the next few years goes smoothly; for example, that you're taking the right required courses. Plus, they can help you out if you're having a scheduling issue. And if you're entering your freshman year without a major, they can help you figure out what you want to do. USE. THEM. 10 Things I Hate About You
Is there anything about starting college that scares you? Tell us in the comments!