20 Mistakes I Made In College

Hey guys,
Another day, another college post for me to remember those horrible awful days. Not because it was horrible in itself, but I made so many mistakes that I wish I could’ve changed now.

First, a little background.

I enrolled in a very high ranking college where I live. It was in 2011. Normally, we have free education, but my university is private, so it costs lots of money. And I’m talking lots. If one doesn’t have a scholarship, then the probability of that person to not be able to afford that college is %99. I had a partial scholarship and my father said he can cover the rest, and he wanted me to go to that college so bad. I did too, more than him. So I packed and moved to another city.

Sooo, I know 18 does not count as a young age, but I feel like I was a baby back then. I remember that I sent my clothes to dry cleaning because I didn’t know how to do laundry. I was that clueless back then.

Let’s start the list, shall we? ​

1. I hung out with the wrong crowd. – Don’t hang out with the wrong crowd. You will be destroyed.

We have to have an English classes-only semester before we start studying our majors, and only one semester if you are already above intermediate. That preparatory year should be spent studying English, but nobody really does. I wasn’t studying at all. Everybody was partying, including me. When you have that kind of lifestyle, you start to hang out with certain types of people. All my friends were partiers, and we would sleep all day and club all night.

This kind of schedule becomes a habit after some time, and it starts to affect all parts of your life. One major part is your friends. You should hang out with people who support you, who will pick you up when you are down. Real friends watch their friends’ backs. They should add value to your life and you to theirs. I’ve met so many people during my college years who fed on only drama. People who fake friendship to gain something from you. People who are liars and deceivers. People who only care about how much money you have. People who already have money and attend college for fun. These kinds of people will destroy both your academic and personal lives. And they will graduate somehow, but you might not.

Put yourself first. If you feel like cutting cords with some of your fake friends, do it. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.

2. I spent so much money on things I didn’t need. – Don’t spend your money on stupid things. Track how much you spend and what for.

I spent my money very foolishly, especially during the first years of college. Party life and constant shopping were killing my finances. I was ordering takeout food all the time. I spent so much money on transportation. I took private lessons in some classes I could’ve easily studied myself. The list goes on and on.

Track your finances very closely. College is the first step to adult life and managing your finances is adulting 101. If you don’t want to go broke during your years of college, take some accurate steps in this area. It will prepare you for the real world.

3. I had a f*cked up sleep schedule. – Control your sleeping patterns.

I wrote a whole blog post on this. Go check it out. Summary: have a clear sleep schedule. Don’t go to sleep different times every day. Don’t be a night owl. Wake up early and start the day. Sleep schedule f*ucks up your life very quickly and if you want to manage your life, this should be the first step.

4. I didn’t know how to study. – Learn how to study specifically for your major.

I used to look for studying techniques because I was failing in almost all my classes. I thought I was doing something wrong, as if I did not know how to study. I was a STEM student, and I’m telling you, most of the posts on how to study and blah blah don’t work on STEM. Now I’m majoring in Psychology and they work great, but they didn’t work for my engineering classes. Every class needs some special techniques for you to get a good grade, and if you are studying wrong you might feel like you are stupid. You are not. You are just not accustomed to this kind of classes, but you will figure out in time. Ask your teachers and people in your class if you need to. If you are a freshman, ask sophomores, juniors, seniors etc. Try to get tips from people.

5. I didn’t participate in any extracurricular activities. – Join clubs.

This is the easiest way to make friends and have fun in college. I only joined one club during my 8 years of college, it was a sport I was already doing, and I met my best friend in college in that club. You share the same interests so it is easy to bond. Joining club also helps you fill your spare time.

6. I wasn’t doing anything that I already didn’t know. – Learn to do new stuff. Pick up a new hobby.

As I said, I only joined one club, and I was already doing that sport. What I regret now is that I missed many opportunities by not joining more. I always said I wanted to learn how to dance, but never took dance classes that were offered at my university. Don’t do that, try new stuff. There are so many things to do and in college, they are only one step away. Take advantage of your free time and fill it with something you always wanted to do.

7. My attendance was s*it. – Never, ever cut classes. Attend all of them.

This is NOT FAILING 101. This is a no-brainer. I shouldn’t even be telling you this. But I did this so many times. Guys, I had two semesters where I didn’t even attend 1 single class. ONE SINGLE CLASS. I had no idea what was going on. I had to take a leave of absence for that whole year because I had some issues, but it didn’t change the fact that I was clueless about college life.
Attending even half of my classes in one course gave me an automatic C. It is that important. You will NOT FAIL IF YOU ATTEND THE CLASSES. Period. You will, however, have very hard times if you missed some.

8. I didn’t participate in classes. – Ask questions when you don’t understand. Know the TA. Go to your teacher’s office hours.

Ahh, this is my nightmare. I had no problems with this in highschool, but in college, I f*cked up. WHERE ARE MY FELLOW STUDENTS WHO HAVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ASKING QUESTIONS IN CLASS? Don’t worry, you are not alone. I hate speaking in class and I hate asking questions, but this step is necessary. It is necessary for understanding the subject as well as having those attendance points.

If you think that you can’t speak in class in front of all the people, speak with your professors after class. Speak to your TA’s. Got to their office hours.
Being present in classes is not enough. You need to actively participate.

9. I didn’t know anyone in my classes. – Know the people from your classes.

Some people might not agree with me on this, but I think this is crucial. You need those people for class notes, studying, group projects, for knowing what happened when you missed classes. My motto is being friends with at least 1 person from each class. This is hard for some classes because they might be electives and outside your major, but try to do it anyway.

10. I didn’t ask for help. – Asking for help is OK.  

This fact is in all circumstances you might face, not just classes. Asking for help from your professors is OK. Asking for help from your classmates is OK. Asking for help from your advisor/administration people is OK. Let me spare some examples here and say: ASKING FOR HELP IS ALWAYS OK. If you don’t ask, nobody will give it to you. If you think you can’t do something by yourself, get help.

11. I had no idea what my university offered. – Use the university’s resources.

This one is major. Did you know most of the colleges offer some kind of mental help? Mine had psychiatrists and psychologists. FOR FREE. And I didn’t know that. When I learned that I can get therapy in my school for completely free, I signed up immediately. It saved my life.

Most colleges have seminars on a variety of subjects. They have free workshops. Most colleges have free gyms, personal trainers. Use those. Most colleges have pools. Use those. Use whatever you can. They are there for people to use it.

12. I chose a major that I hated. – If you hate what you study, change it. You won’t start to love it magically.

THIS. Believe me, I would know. I spent 5 years studying something I hate. Never, ever spent that much of a time and effort on something you hate to do. It will only make you miserable, nobody else. It is OK if you thought you wanted to major in X, wanted to study Y and so on. People change. Ideas change. We also make mistakes. It doesn’t mean that we have to stick with the choices we did when we were 16. You can’t do something you hate for the rest of your life. Go talk to your advisors and administration people how you can approach this subject.

13. I didn’t have any system. – Planning is important. Know what is going to happen and when.

This little piece of paper saved my entire semester. Go check my blog post.

14. I didn’t do any internships. – Apply for internships, and definitely do at least one.

I never did an internship, but I am planning to do one this semester. I feel like this is something every one of us should do in order to gain real-life experience. College is great, but in the end, it is only in theory. You need practice also.

15. I started studying one-two days before the exams. – Start studying at least a week before.

Studying two days before a big exam won’t work. Just saved you some misery, no thanks needed. Start at least a week before for midterms and finals. If you don’t need that much time, start anyways and you’d be finished early. Your mind will be more relaxed, anyway.

16. I was limiting myself. – Invest in your future, don’t limit yourself with what you study.

There are so many ways to invest in yourself. Just because you are majoring in some kind of field doesn’t mean that you only have to know about that major. Learn extra skills, attend conferences, and find what you like.

17. “I don’t know who I am anymore”. – It’s OK to not compromise.

It was in college where one day I looked myself in the mirror and said: “I don’t know who I am anymore”. It is OK to be lost sometimes. It is OK to question things and not be happy with everything. Things change and you change too. It might come weird at first and you might feel like you don’t know yourself.

The thing is, only you know who you are. If you don’t want to compromise on things that you believe, for people who are not worth it, then you don’t have to. You might feel like “How the f*ck did that happen to me?” but sh*t happens. It happens to every one of us. Events and circumstances don’t define you. Only you can define yourself. During these college years, you will learn the extent of what you can endure. It will challenge you, but it will also shape your personality. Be strong for yourself.

18. I didn’t graduate on time. – It is OK if you don’t, either.

Yeap, I said it. Don’t make it a big deal. You are not a failure. It doesn’t define you.

19. Be open to change.

These years of your life are some of the most important times and you will face great challenges. If you are stuck in a certain kind of mindset, you’d have hard times. There will be times you will question yourself and your abilities. In those times, it is important for you to adapt to new situations and change your views and beliefs. Don’t limit yourself. Try to be more open-minded and anticipate the future with an optimistic mindset.

20. Have fun.

There will be no other time like college years in your life. Academic achievement is great, yes, but try to have fun also. There should be a good balance work-times and fun-times.

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