Biggest Mistakes College Students Make In Their First Year

As exciting it may be to move away from home and head off to further education, starting new life as a college/university student can surely be overwhelming.

In this post, we’ll talk about 5 biggest mistakes college students make in their first year (sometimes in their second and third years too).

I don’t want to sound like your mother but if you will be aware of these common mistakes, won’t abuse your freedom too much and use your time more wisely, then you will be much better off.

To make this post more cheerful, at the end of the post I attached a funny video highlighting the difference between high school and college life.


5 Biggest Mistakes College Students Make

biggest-mistakes-college-students-make

Skipping Classes

You should have seen this one coming, eh?

The first mistake has to do with your class attendance. You will miss a lot of them. It’s just inevitable.

I know I am guilty of this one. Yes, I missed some lectures too.

See, you will wake to your annoying alarm clock, thinking of all the things that you should do for the class, or maybe knowing that you are not prepared, or simply feeling lazy because you have all the freedom – and guess what?

You will end up crawling back under your blanket and successfully miss on a new information you were supposed to gain in the class that day.

This happens a few times and before you know it, you’ve missed a whole semester of lessons and you are hopelessly behind.

And here’s the tricky part.

Being confronted by the amount of work you need to catch up on, this will lead to even more skipping and therefore it can seriously affect your grade. They say freshman year doesn’t count but guess what, second, third and fourth years DO count, so build the foundation in that first year.

Therefore, no matter how lazy you feel, get your butt up, show your face and learn. You still remember that you are paying thousands of dollars for that “privilege”, right?

One more thing to mention here.

If your lectures are in the morning and you have trouble waking up early, or if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), then consider getting yourself a Phillips HF3520 Wake-Up Light.

It was recommended by a friend of mine only recently and I wish I had it during my university years. Click here to read the full review of the wake-up light.

Sleeping in leads to falling behind, falling behind leads to having a mountain of work you have to tackle, and having so much stuff to catch up on leads to the following mistake – pulling all-nighters too frequently.


biggest-mistakes-college-students-make

Pulling All-Nighters Too Often

Oh, those all-nighters.

We all have been there, done that.

Unfortunately, it’s a VERY bad idea to leave everything last minute and study for the exam the night before.

You need to get proper sleep because we tend to function better and reason better when our bodies are well-rested.

In his article “The Science Of The All-Nighter”, Steven Holbrook shares 5 facts that might dissuade you from pulling an all-nighter:

  1. Your memory gets worse. If there is no sleep, there is no time for your brain to repair and refresh itself. Therefore, your mind and your memory are less functional.

  2. Your average GPA will be lower (and this was proved by official university research). After all, sleep deprivation, headaches and general irritability are distracting when you are trying to take an exam.

  3. Your study techniques are ineffective. Clearly, cramming for the exam is not the best study method.

  4. Sleep deprivation results in a short-term euphoria. Apparently “[w]hen deprived of sleep, your body actually jolts you with a surge of energy to help you get through your objectives, giving you a euphoric sense of intense satisfaction and motivation. That would be fine, except it’s not real. Your body is actually trying to make you stop what you’re doing and rest.” Crazy stuff, huh?

  5. Your chances of having a stroke increase as you age. That’s how sleep habits can affect your health. So be wise and start to take care of yourself early.

So, these were the 5 facts that Steven shared in his article and which were supported by serious research.

I understand that we’ve all been guilty of pulling all-nighters, but it’s recommended that you try to reduce those or have no all-nighters at all.

Trust me, if feels a lot less stressful when you learn throughout the semester, and then all you do is basically refresh the information that’s already in your head and you walk to your exam calmly and sure of your skills and knowledge.

Try that!


biggest-mistakes-college-students-make

Watching too much Netflix

“Netflix-marathons” – ever said that?

Again, we all are guilty of this one – but if you get social on your campus and participate in extracurricular activities, then you won’t have time for movies as much.

Netflix can be addicting and it can seriously mess up your schedule, sleep regime and your study methods. Remember what happens with skipping classes and then pulling all-nighters.

Well, nothing good happens.

And I am not saying that you should absolutely disregard your favourite TV shows but simply be careful with getting yourself into binge-watching.

Just a friendly advice 🙂


biggest-mistakes-college-students-make

Partying Hard

I know that college/university isn’t all about education.

The thing is that excessive drinking is common during university year but it’s not a safe practice. If you choose to party, it’s suggested that you drink responsibly.

You don’t want to make yourself a fool and have everyone gossip about you.

Besides, excessive drinking has serious effects on your health and affects the level of energy you have that you will need for studying.


biggest-mistakes-college-students-make

Spend too much money

Another VERY common mistake college or university students make is living off credit cards and overspending.

Whilst your shopping trips, party booze and other random stuff may be fun, the financial burden that you will experience after won’t be fun at all.

Neither will be working day and night at some McDonald’s place to keep your head above board.

College is already hard enough as is, why add yourself extra pressure and stress?

If you DID end up spending a lot of money on your credit cards, and are struggling with budgeting then one option is to speak to professionals.

Another option is to learn about the real and easy ways students make extra side cash while in college and try to get yourself out of debt with your own efforts.


Final Thoughts

Remember about these 5 mistakes college students make and prepare yourself well for college/university.

Honestly, I wish I let my younger self these couple of points. At least, I may have come away without a student debt!

On the other hand, having a student debt partially forced me to seek online opportunities and that’s how I ended up learning about freelancing, and then blogging for business and making money with my websites.

However, I’d rather come to this without the stress about financial burden, and I am sure you would too.

And now I’d like to share a funny Youtube video that highlights the difference between high school and college life:

Do you have any advice for students? Or anything else you’d like to know?

Do you agree with the aforementioned biggest mistakes college students make? Let me know in the comments below!

Biggest Mistakes College Students Make In Their First Year
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