For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Nov 15 2017
by Emily McKeon

The 12 Things I Regret Doing The First Quarter of College

By Emily McKeon - Nov 15 2017

The wind has swept in a bitter chill here in Philadelphia. The winter coats have officially been dug out of the wardrobes and trunks, scarves securely wrapped around the necks of shivering students with thirty-pound backpacks strapped to their straining shoulders. In a few short weeks, the beginning of a new chapter will be in sight. However, before I reach that beautiful light, I have been reflecting on my first quarter of college. Here are twelve things that I personally regret so far:

1. I didn’t immediately get to know my floormates.

During my school’s “Welcome Week,” I had ample time to go out into the common area where nearly all of my 30 floormates were hanging out. I distinctly remember the sudden panic I had when I could not recall most of their names. It was an eye-opening experience, and thankfully, I slowly developed friendships with everyone on my floor over the course of the quarter. However, I still feel a slight hesitation on their part, most likely due to the fact that the bond is not as strong as it could have been.

Takeaway: Start socializing sooner than you think.

2. I didn’t put any effort into clubs.

I put effort into sorting out and picking the clubs that I was genuinely interested in. However, once it came time to actually attend meetings, I found myself drained from classes and not having the energy to even get out of bed. Signing up for five different clubs was completely unrealistic for a freshman stilling learning the ropes. I am glad that I eventually found my niche and joined the school newspaper.

Takeaway: Take on activities that will fit into your everyday schedule and not cause you further stress.

3. I dropped a course that would have helped me in the long run

On the first day, I had five classes back-to-back. It was a tough day and led to me dropping German, my last class of the day. I do not regret dropping this course, but I do regret not replacing it with a four-credit course that could have counted towards my graduation requirements.

Takeaway: Give it a little time before making any rash decisions.

4. I didn’t check in on my family as often as I wanted to.

My first week in Philadelphia, I called home almost every night. As the weeks dragged on, the phone calls lessened to the point where I was calling home only if I absolutely needed to. Otherwise, I would send a text every so often. My relationship with my siblings is not as strong as it was when I was at home.

Takeaway: Keeping in touch is nice, and a nice break from studying.

5. I skipped a class on a subject that I was not confident in.

Everyone has that one subject that is an absolute drag; mine is math. I attended every single class up until the moment I overheard my professor say that he does not take attendance. Since that moment, I skipped twice, both being the day before an exam. I do not recommend it. You will inevitably see a slip in your grades, and skipping one too many times will lead to a habit you cannot shake.

Takeaway: Every time you skip a class, you're throwing money out of the window.

6. I didn’t participate in class.

I chalk this up to being nervous. This is my first quarter with new professors in a completely different environment than high school. Even when I knew the answer, I was so afraid I would be wrong. In a classroom of twenty-something students, it is nerve-wracking.

Takeaway: Professors remember those who participate. Participation may or may not help your grade.

7. I didn’t take advantage of office hours.

When people say that office hours are the best, they are not joking. I finally went to my English professor’s office hours and found that he will read my essay and make recommendations. How awesome is that? I really wish I had taken advantage of this for all of my professors as these are great for ideas, papers, and any questions you might have.

Takeaway: Your professors are here to help you. Use those office hours to ask questions or just talk!

8. I didn’t use the meal plan as often as I should have.

The sudden realization that I am paying a ton of money for a meal plan hit me when I saw that I still had a ton of meals left with the quarter coming to an end soon. The worst part? Meal swipes do not roll over to the next quarter.

Takeaway: Money matters in college. Use your meal plan! You don't want to have to pay out-of-pocket for food when you're already paying for food.

9. I didn’t take advantage of the library and all of its resources.

Did you know that your school’s library is a magical place that has all of the answers you seek? Neither did I until I stepped foot into it well into the quarter looking for a quiet place to do work. As an English major, I’m ashamed of myself.

Takeaway: Show some love to your library.

10. I stayed up too late and felt it the next day.

This one took me awhile to grasp. Netflix also played a large role in this. Trust me, getting four hours of sleep is not enough. There were times I found my professors shooting me worried glances after I stared at a wall for ten minutes straight.

Takeaway: Late nights are for the weekends. All-nighters are never fun.

11. I rented books I should have bought, and bought books I should have rented.

I quickly learned that if you expect yourself to write in your books, buy them. Having to write out all of my notes was a major pain in the neck. Buying my math textbook was a horrible idea because I maybe used it once. Thankfully, I carefully chose which books I will buy and which I will rent for next quarter.

Takeaway: Do some serious research into what you should buy and what you should rent. Ask people who have taken that class for advice.

12. I didn’t appreciate the weekends.

I go to school in a city, a place that is always buzzing. I spent most of my weekends laying in my bed and watching Netflix. While there is nothing wrong with needing some lazy time, I also realized that a few subway stops away was Chinatown and Fishtown and a million things to do and see and taste.

Takeaway: Appreciate your area, explore your area, and when in Philly, run up the Rocky Steps.

Undoubtedly, the first quarter was a bit rough. It took some navigating, but I finally got to a comfortable position as a college student. Here’s to the next quarter.

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Emily McKeon - Drexel University

Emily is an English student at Drexel University. She has written for CollegeXpress, Spoon University, the Triangle, and currently edits for MAYA Literary Magazine as well as here at FreshU. Follow her on Twitter @mckeon_emily!

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