College Preparation & Planning

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mistake I made as a Freshman that I Would DO AGAIN

It’s freshman year. All your possessions are unpacked, you’re officially moved in and ready to take new classes, meet new people and live the college life you’ve always dreamed of.

The way you think college will go is never the way college will go, but that’s the beauty of it. Mistakes happen, and even though they were embarrassing or mind-wrecking at the time, there are some that aren’t just unique to you.

All of us go through the same experiences and they are just a natural part of this time in our lives. As a senior, there are a few mistakes I made as a freshman that I would do over in a heartbeat — if not simply to restart the four greatest years of my life once again.

1. Missing a big party

There’s no denying this: when you’re in college, the only reason you need to party is the simple fact that you’re in college. The minute I realized my daily 8 a.m. economics class would detain me from ever attending weekday parties, I was convinced my future collegiate social life was doomed. But three years and many parties — and even more missed parties — later, I realize there will always be a next one.

2. Doing poorly on an exam

Failing teaches you more than just the simple fact you don’t know the material. It demonstrates to you the kind of effort you will need to achieve your goals and gives you a reason to work harder for what you want most.

While the definition of failure differs from person to person, the first time I did poorly on an exam I had a mental breakdown. But as I went further into my college career, I learned more about the dos and don’ts of college exams (insider tip: talk to your professors, they’re here to help you). As it turns out, the tests got easier. I just needed the first failure to get me going.

3. Going in with the wrong major

The best part about college is that life changes from day to day and year to year. It’s a time in our lives when we’re encouraged to make mistakes and figure out what we’re really passionate about. I changed my major halfway through my sophomore year and haven’t looked back since. Early exposure to classes I didn’t like helped me figure out what career I actually want to have, and changing majors isn’t that dramatic — it’s worth a semester of confusion for a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment. If you do it for yourself and your life now, you won’t have regrets later.

4. Changing friends

As a senior now, some of the friends I have are the very same ones I hung out with my freshman year — but a good majority of them are not.

If you find your group of friends your first year and continue through the rest of college and life together, congratulations! But if not, don’t worry. There are so many people on most college campuses that you have the chance to make new friends every day. Eventually you will find the people you’ll stay in touch with until old age, but don’t feel tied to one group. Personality change is a trademark of college — let your friends change with you.

5. Being scared

I’ll admit it: I was scared out of my mind when I first went to college.

And why shouldn’t I have been? It’s a big change in our lives, one of the first biggest changes we’ll have. If you’re a little nervous about moving, making new friends and experiencing life truly on your own for the first time, that’s OK. Soon, the days will become easier, you will settle into a routine, and you will understand why everyone loves this amazing, one-of-a-kind time in our lives. Good luck!

About the Author: Claudia Tran is a pre-law senior at the University of Missouri studying psychology and sociology. She enjoys reading on the lawn of her sorority house, rooting for Kansas City sports teams and regularly quoting the television show Friends.

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