College · Life's Milestones

Do’s and Don’ts of Your First College Semester

You’ve heard it a million times. But do you actually listen to the advice? Probably not. This year I am a freshman in college. It’s coming to the end of my first semester and I’ve definitely noticed some things I would and would NOT do ever again. To save you guys from making the same mistakes I did, I’m going to warn you about 6 do’s of your first semester and 6 don’ts.
First let’s start with the DO’s of first semester:
1. DO eat at the dining halls.

I know there’s always that ONE dining hall that everyone says not to go to and it’s either that or you walk across the entire campus to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s worth it. Just trust me on this one.

2. DO schedule breaks between your classes.

Breaks are the perfect time to take a nap. I know you’re going to say “But I don’t nap now, why would I in college?” Let me tell you why, “sleeping” at a decent hour (aka before midnight) is a GOOD day. Breaks between classes give you a little bit of extra time to either nap, finish homework, or just in general relax. You’re going to need that extra time.

3. DO take Friday classes.

I’m not really sure why everyone wants to avoid taking Friday classes. Yes you don’t want to go to class, but that’s everyday. Thursday’s will just turn into Friday’s and then you’ll hate taking Thursday classes. Not to mention, you’re classes on Monday and Wednesday are going to be longer. Aren’t classes already long enough? Point proven. Take MWF classes.

4. DO go to class.

For some reason college logic is “Oh the professor doesn’t count attendance, why should I go?” Newsflash… why do professors still take attendance?! Because the departments check. And if you happen to be failing the class, they know you haven’t been going. PSA: the offices do send notice home if you are failing a class after midterms.

5. DO the homework.

“You don’t have to read anything for that class” is a lie. DO the readings that are assigned. Just do the homework to begin with, most likely it’s worth 20% of your final grade. Also, make sure you do the homework as directed. If it’s a simple homework but you write it instead of typing and printing it, the professors do not accept it. And then you lose an entire grade level just because you didn’t type it. Point is, listen to directions and then follow those directions.

6. DO get involved and go to events.

Chances are, in college, you have loads of extra time. Classes are most likely over by noon or one which leaves the entire afternoon to do homework before hand and clubs afterwards. Don’t just sit on your booty and watch Netflix in your dorm room. Make friends. Go to Trivia night with those friends. And then make new friends at Trivia night. Then join the club that hosts Trivia night, and all the other fun events on campus. Get involved. Get your friends involved, too!

These may seem really stupid and obvious, but people do them. I know, I don’t understand either.
Next, the DON’Ts of your first semester of college…
1. DON’T procrastinate doing your homework.

This is my biggest “bad habit”. I put things off until it’s a day before its due. BAD IDEA. Don’t wait until the last minute to write a four page essay on duct tape. Leave enough time before it is due to have a friend proof read it. Or practice a speech. My math class actually allows us to turn our homework in early, he’ll grade it, and then we can fix our mistakes and turn it in again. There are benefits of getting it done early. I promise.

2. DON’T miss the bus.

My campus actually has a bus tracker app. Unfortunately, it’s not always flawless. You think the bus is arriving then it disappears off the tracker and you find yourself sprinting to your 9 am class across campus. Make sure you get up a little bit earlier than usual if you are planning to take the bus. And always have a backup plan for when it doesn’t show up.

3. DON’T leave your laundry in the machines.

Luckily, my dorm building has a bunch of machines and they are never all full at the same time. Well, except on Fridays. Side note: don’t do your laundry Friday afternoon or night because you won’t be able to get a machine. Back on subject, if you leave your laundry in the machine for too long, especially on laundry day, people will not hesitate to take your clothes out of the washer or dryer so they can do theirs.

4. DON’T order out food a lot.

My roommates order out food at least twice a week, I don’t understand how they can afford it. Hello. You are a college student. You pay thousands of dollars for your food plan. USE IT. Ugh, this just makes me aggravated. Use your food plan. Don’t spend money on eating out often. Those college loans are going to be coming back to haunt you in the future.

5. DON’T go out every night.

Or even every weekend. Your liver does need a break. Personally, I don’t drink but I know there are plenty of college students that do, my friends do. I encourage you to have fun and enjoy college. But you do not need to get obnoxiously drunk every weekend or thirsty Thursday to have a good time.

6. DON’T take 8 am classes.

BIGGEST mistake I did all semester was take an 8 am public speaking class. When signing up for classes you think “Well, high school started at 7am so I should be fine taking an 8am” Wrong. You stay up later at night. You don’t want to get up at 8 in the morning. Not to mention, the walk you have to prepare for and get up earlier for. The end.

There are the 12 do’s and don’ts that I have learned in my first semester of college. Consider my advice when signing up for your first courses. Bottom line: You don’t want 8 am public speaking classes.

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