By now, your guidance counselors and parents have probably given you a long list of things to make sure you do in college. Go to class, join some clubs, apply for scholarships, get an internship — these are all good pieces of advice. But you might be wondering if there’s anything you should avoid doing in college. In fact, there is. Avoiding these six common mistakes will help ensure your college experience is more productive and more enjoyable.
Mistake #1: Living in a Single Room
Socialization is a core component of the college experience. Learning to socialize with others who are both alike and different from you will serve you well in your future career. And while it may sound silly, the type of dorm room you choose can have a big impact on how well you learn to socialize.
Avoid staying in a single dorm room unless you have a medical reason to do so. Living with one or more roommates in a shared room or suite will fully immerse you in the college culture.
Mistake #2: Only Taking Classes in Your Major
Yes, you need to focus on the required coursework in order to earn your degree in your chosen major. However, it would be a mistake to pass by this opportunity to take other classes and broaden your horizons. Try signing up for at least one adventurous class outside your major each semester. This will give you a more well-rounded view of the world and may even help you discover a new passion.
Mistake #3: Taking on Too Much
Too often, college students over-fill their schedule with extra classes, work experiences, social obligations, and meetings. It’s good to be productive, but there is such a thing as taking on too much. Make sure you leave a little down time in your schedule so you can kick back and unwind. You’ll learn more when your mind is fresh and rested.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Mental Health Issues
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Depressed? Anxious? It’s a mistake to shrug off mental health issues and hope they go away on their own.
There is no shame in admitting that you’re struggling mentally and emotionally. The sooner you seek help dealing with these issues, the better you’ll be able to address them. Colleges usually offer free therapy for students, so make an appointment with an on-campus therapist, and start talking through whatever is troubling you.
Mistake #5: Not Asking For Help
There are benefits to being able to work independently, but it’s also important that you know when to ask for help. If you’re struggling to understand a certain concept or solve a certain problem, reach out to your teaching assistant or professor. It’s their job to help students learn. Asking for help can save you hours of unproductive study.
Mistake #6: Procrastinating
Especially when you’re a new student, it’s hard to know how long a certain project will take. So, if you put off starting the project until the last day, you may not have time to do a good job. Procrastination can really wreak havoc on your GPA. A better approach is to start every project early, and aim to get a little more done each day. You won’t have to rush, and you’ll have more opportunities to seek help and ask questions, if needed.
College isn’t always easy; there are bound to be some challenges along the way. However, if you are able to avoid the mistakes above, you should generally have a good time while also furthering your education.