A Whole New World: 15 Things Not To Do During Your Freshman Year

by Linda Tell

For the past seven days, university students across the US have been participating in what some may consider to be the best week of the school year: welcome week.

Although classes have yet to commence, most students have already moved in, leaving them floating in a limbo of sorts. So, as one can imagine, the days and nights are spent doing what American college students do best: partying.

Unfortunately for me, my first welcome week experience was pretty unwelcoming.

At many schools, freshmen typically travel in packs; mine was no exception. I remember one night in particular when my crew was searching for a frat, and we were hopelessly lost.

A boy dressed in a muscle tank suggested that we ask for directions (yes, I’m ashamed to say that I was, in fact, friends with someone who unironically wore muscle tanks).

We eventually flagged down two gentlemen who looked like upperclassmen. I was relieved when they enthusiastically pointed us in the right direction, even wishing us good luck as we turned away.

We followed the sidewalk for an hour or so before muscle tank checked the map on his iPhone. It turns out that we were heading farther and farther away from our destination.

I thought back to the two upperclassmen shouting “good luck” as we marched away in the wrong direction. They were mocking us the whole time. Needless to say, we never made it to the frat.

As a seasoned college student, I don’t want to repeat the wrongdoings that I had the misfortune of experiencing. I feel as though it is my duty to point university newcomers in the real right direction.

Unfortunately, I have an awful sense of direction. So, instead, I’ve decided to point the freshmen in the metaphorical "right direction."

Of course, the Internet is full of checklists with iconic college activities that you must do before leaving, but let’s not kid ourselves: Freshmen have more important things to worry about.

So, using what I have learned so far, I came up with 15 things not to do during your freshman year of college:

1. If you want to get good grades, don’t start watching "Lost" during finals week. This rule goes for a lot of addictive television series, but mostly "Lost."

2. Don’t attend an ABC (anything but clothes)-themed party without bringing a change of clothes. Your dress made of Natty Light cardboard boxes WILL fall apart.

3. You are not too cool for a backpack.

4. You are not too cool for a winter coat.

5. Just because your GSI/TA (graduate student instructor/teaching assistant) seems young and hip doesn’t mean she’ll buy you alcohol.

6. No amount of Vitamin C supplements will protect you from the common cold. In fact, I recommend you stock up on Nyquil now.

7. Don’t assume homework is optional. Those random 17th century readings WILL be on the midterm.

8. You didn’t just conveniently receive a text right as you passed that guy or girl from last night. Don’t look at your phone. SAY HI.

9. Don’t miss the sporting event because you went too hard at the tailgate party.

10. Don’t forget to call your parents.

11. Don’t fear the freshman 15. It probably will happen, and it’s worth every bite of late-night pizza, sip of Keystone and snooze on the early morning run alarm.

12. Don't actually purchase a real Halloween costume. It's all about DIY these days.

13. Don't try to convince your friends that you have more work than them. Stress is not and should not be a competition.

14. Don't befriend people who make you look good; befriend people who make you feel good.

15. Don’t waste time. Four years goes by in what seems like four seconds.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It