Top ten mistakes you’ll make your freshman year of college (and how to recover from them)

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(Illustration by Colin Zelinski)

 

1. Misunderstanding the phrase “YOLO” as it relates to your partying schedule

It’s true: you only live once. However, there are two lines of argument that follow: YOLO, so go hard while you can; and YOLO, so, make it long and prosperous. I suggest not following the former line of reasoning every single weekend (try it out only on the ones with the best parties.)

2. Thinking that restaurant on the drag is capital-G great

There’s a tendency while living in a dorm to think that any food not served on beige cafeteria flatware is, like, seriously the best food ever. Unfortunately, it’s not. If you find yourself fawning over an establishment that does little more than assemble ingredients you could assemble at home yourself, you might have fallen into this trap.

3. Forgetting that Bevo Bucks are made of real dollars

Once a beloved mascot throws his horns behind an almost-currency, it’s easy to forget that those $300 in your account are tantamount to, well, 300 real dollars. Just like $300 in cash, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Don’t let that not-so-great restaurant on the Drag suck them all up by September.

4. Thinking the PCL is the only library on campus

The Perry-Castañeda Library is not the only library on campus: It’s just the only one that looks and feels most like a prison complex. Recognize that you can crowd the tables with your studying at these alternatives: the Life Science Library, the Architecture Library and the Fine Arts Library.

5. Getting lost in RLM

Let me help you out here: If it seems like the elevators don’t even go to that floor, then they don’t. Take the escalators instead.

6. Not everyone you meet is your new BFF

You spent a glorious three days talking about high school and dissing Jester. You shared fries in the PCL and rolled your eyes at the pop culture references in the orientation programming. You even have the same major! And yet, the friend you made at orientation is nowhere to be found come fall. Never fear: Just like in high school, college friends can cycle, and as the friends of convenience you met at orientation cycle out, new friends (no doubt more lasting ones) will cycle in.

7. Thinking you have to have sex/not have sex/worrying about anything related to sex in college besides having it safely and with someone who treats you well 

Pro-tip: The Student Health Services Center offers free condoms (and don’t worry, no one will give you a weird look for taking them). And if you’re wondering how to judge if a person “treats you well,” I suggest you ask yourself the following question: If I were to sleep with this person, would he/she make me an omelet the following morning? If the answer is no, calmly remove your pants from their floor and say “adios.”

8. Clinging to high school, through a relationship, a letter jacket or relentlessly re-watching videos of your high school band

Nobody wants to hear about that time in band or how you won the election for student body president back in 2011. Instead, put the letter jacket away and press pause on the DVD. Step outside your dorm room and recognize that you are playing on a new field, one in which your previous mistakes and achievements are wiped from the record. Proceed.

9. Not backing up your computer

You’re probably thinking: amateur mistake. I’m not that dumb. And yet, nine out of 10 of you will find yourself holding your head in your hands this finals season, composing a please-don’t-fail-me e-mail to the professor who’s expecting a paper that just blinked into nonexistence.

10. Thinking you have to be best friends with your roommate or roommates with your best friend

Sometimes, the best thing a roommate can be to you is a good roommate: Someone who cleans their side of the room and respects the shared space. If you have siblings, I ask you to remember how often you “respected their space,” versus how often you took their spot on the couch when they went to the bathroom for no reason other than the pleasure of seeing their annoyance. You’d probably say that you did the latter more often, and for that reason living with someone who’s “like a sibling” to you should probably be avoided.