Freshman Fail: 8 Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Year Of College

by Lenny Prosser
SkyLand Entertainment

You did it! After the long and painful college application process, you finally made it to campus.

But hey, don’t get too cocky, now. Keep in mind you are back to the bottom of the food chain.

That’s right. You’re a freshman, and everyone knows it. I’m not sure if it’s in the way we talk, the way we look or the way we confuse street names, but everyone knows we are “fresh meat.”

So, just from personal experience (feel free to laugh at me), here are some tips to avoid being catcalled ("Hey girl; you a freshman, right?!”) at 1 in the morning:

1. Avoid “Freshmen” Accessories

I know a lanyard seems logical. It's great for holding campus identification cards or dorm keys.

However, avoid putting the lanyard around your neck. Just don’t do it.

There is nothing that screams "I am a first-year student" more than your ID in a lanyard, wrapped around your neck.

2. The Dos And Don'ts Of Frat Party Attire

Although your new, distressed jeans may be super trendy, do not wear them to your first night out at a frat party. Most likely, you will be dancing shoulder to shoulder, side to side, practically neck to neck, with what feels like the whole freshmen class.

The overcrowded, sweaty, almost pitch-black basement will be hotter than your AC-less dorm room.

Instead, stick to a crop top and high-waisted shorts. Not only will you appear to be an upperclassman, you will also not pass out due to heat exhaustion on your first night out.

3. Know Your Facts For The Frats

If a guy at a party asks you what year you are in, and you feel like getting crafty enough to say, “Oh yeah, I’m a sophomore,” make sure you know where on campus sophomore living is.

Because you already know his follow-up question is going to be, “Where are you living?”

So, when you can only name the freshmen buildings, your cover will most likely be blown. Get 'em next time.

Another rule of thumb is to never ask, “What frat is this?” to any upperclassmen guy. Instead, look for letters on shirts or on the walls of the messy frat house if you are really that interested in where you happen to be.

4. Don’t Fall Asleep In Your First Lecture Hall

I know a room filled with 200 hungover students may seem extremely intimidating, so make sure you do lectures right. Be early enough to get a seat from which you can at least see the professor’s face.

Because when the first thing out of his mouth is, "My exams are f*cking hard," you know you will want to write effective and detailed notes. Especially when, in most lectures, you will be graded based on only a few exams for the entire semester.

You will want to make sure you can at least see the notes on the board.

5. Showering 101: Where Do I Put My Leg?

You may want to get used to taking cold showers if your dorm has no AC. Trust me, you'll survive.

Also, do yourself a favor and figure out where to put your leg when you're shaving. The last thing you want to do is awkwardly slip in the shower, on those infected floors.

Oh, and bring a towel with a Velcro wrap around you, or at least a secure robe. Because sometimes, the hike back past all the guys' rooms can seem like miles in just a loose bath towel.

6. Did You Say “Freshman 15?”

Whether you have an unlimited meal plan or only a certain number of meals per week, you will still start to feel the Freshman 15 within a few days. Perhaps it's simply a mental thing, or perhaps the pounds are actually creeping up on your hips.

But be cautious.

Why is it that, just because they offer five types of desserts, we think it’s okay to have a cookie, a scoop of ice cream AND a Rice Krispies Treat?! (And this is after you just ate a grilled cheese with fries).

7. Do More Squats And Fewer Shots

Speaking of gaining the Freshman 15, let’s talk gym.

Know where the gym is, and when you finally find it, don't act like it's your first time there, either. A meathead on my floor told me last week to put makeup on because guys think the gym is the best place to meet chicks.

I’m not sure how credible my source is, but some mascara never hurt. (Oh, and deodorant. Never forget deodorant!)

8. Friends: The Fake, The New And The Old

Normally, any conversation within your first few weeks on campus include stupid questions about your hometown, dorm or major.

Just be prepared to answer those when you're meeting anyone for the first time. However, if you are at a party and a creep decides to approach you, have fun with it.

Instead of being Lenny, the communications major from Russell Hall, put a spin on it and call yourself Lindsey, the criminal justice major from North Campus.

Also, take note of the genuine people and be cautious of those with fake intentions.

The fake ones will try to merely use you for your clothes, homework answers and party "ins." And remember, just because you are many hours away from your home friends, doesn't mean you should forget them.

A text only takes a few seconds to send. Even though you are “so college” now, don’t forget your “so high school” hometown friends.

So, whether you're at a dining hall, sweaty frat party or overheated dorm room, you are a freshman.

Don’t let all of these tips worry you, though. Embrace it.

This is a time of "firsts" for many. Everyone was once a freshman, and most likely, they would kill to be in your position right now. That being said, enjoy every second of your first year on campus.

Good luck, freshie!