I have finished out my first year of college and the next is approaching very fast. As a part of my preparation for yet another year of hard work and determination, I typically like to do some reflecting to learn and grow from my mistakes. Here are the mistakes I made in my first year-in hope that it will prevent you from making the same in the future!

Don't make these mistakes during your freshman year! Learn from these college tips.

I stopped looking for scholarships.

When I officially got into college, I completely forgot that scholarships exist. I was so caught up in making the most out of the college experience, that I missed the part that included the potential to leave college debt free. So, while that was a major slip up for me, I know what to get on top of for this school year.

The best part is when you’re in college there is an overwhelming amount of scholarships available to you; even more than when you were in high school. A lot of college students forget to keep applying for this “free money” unfortunately, but that may make it easy for people like you and me to get in and win as much as possible.

I signed up for everything!

Typically, colleges will have some type of get together to let freshmen students know what campus clubs and organizations are available to them. Freshmen students will normally go to these festivals and sign up for every single club they see…I was one of those freshmen. A lot of “college ready” sites will tell you to do exactly that, but it is probably one of the worst mistakes you could possibly make.

When you’re in college, you get a college email address. With that email address comes a constant flood of emails from your university telling you about schedule changes, crime on or around campus, advertisements from the university partners, your professors updating you about tests, and the list goes on and on and on. On average, you may receive at least ten emails each day. Signing up for every club you see, only makes your daily email read a lot more extensive than it needs to be. I suggest you go to your colleges’ club fest with a plan.

Start by choosing a number of clubs that you want to sign up for; I suggest three or four as a target. Then, go to the event and circle around the entire layout deciding which clubs interests you the most. From there you would talk to the ones that you might want to sign up for, but don’t put your name on any paper until you’ve decided on the three or four that you are most drawn toward. This process takes a bit of time, but trust me, it is well worth it. If you don’t end up liking a particular group you signed up for, you can always ask to be taken off the email list and find out what other clubs are available to you through friends and your schools website.

I waited until the day of registration to pick my classes.

Registering for classes in college is like The Hunger Games part three thousand and two. Everyone is trying to get the classes they need to fit with their major, which makes it all just a bit competitive. When I went to register for my classes for the Spring semester, I was not at all prepared and because of that, not only did it take a lot longer than it needed to, but I also didn’t get a few of the classes that I really needed.

When you know registration time is approaching, look up the requirements that need to be filled for your major and see if those courses are available in the semester that you are registering for. Save yourself a headache.

I didn’t take advantage of all the free events on campus.

I say free hesitantly here, because in all honesty the events and giveaways that are created for students really aren’t free; you already paid for them in your tuition and fees. That being said, why wouldn’t you take advantage of the stuff you already paid for?

If you’re like any and every other college student, you don’t have money to waste. Having the opportunity to go to some really awesome events and not going is wasting money, if you really think about it. Putting it in this perspective, I wasted quite a bit of money out of pure laziness. Don’t just think about the money though, you could have missed out on meeting a potential BFF or a cute guy you could swoon over for the entire year and never talk to. If you have the time, go have some fun.

I was afraid to speak up in class.

In high school, being smart and putting effort into you school work may have been lame, but college is a whole other sphere. When you’re in college, being a smart cookie is where it’s at! It took me way too long to realize this. I spent the entire first semester afraid to raise my hand even an inch into the air, for fear of being seen as a know it all. By the time second semester came around, I shook all of that off because who cares, right? Everyone is in college to learn more about the things that they care about. Passion and curiosity is always in style when you’re in the classroom.

All of this being said, these were my mistakes and I hope we both and can learn from them. There’s a new school year rapidly approaching and I am excited to hit the ground running. We both will make new mistakes and that is one hundred percent okay if we learn from them with epic grace.


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Tahjma VanBuren is an introspective lifestyle blogger from North Carolina. She is currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Tahjma VanBuren is your favorite nerd, quote hoarder, explorer, and goal setting junky! You can find more of her on her blog tahjmavanburen.com.

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6 thoughts on “Five Mistakes I Made in My First Year of College

      1. I’m from NC too which is why I was surprised when I finished reading your article. Thank you and good luck to you on your second year!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Tamira, it’s a great article. I remember when I was at college I was afraid to tell something in a classroom. And then I regretted it. My marks were very bad. But then I rallied and began to act on the lessons and my grades became better. So I advise to everyone don’t afraid to say in the classes.

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