The Biggest Mistakes College Students Should Avoid Making


Mistakes Happen - But There Are Some You Should Avoid


No one gets through life - let alone college - without making some mistakes, both big and small. Mistakes are one of the important steps for young adults in learning, maturing and growing, and we all make them from time to time. There are mistakes during college that are not a big deal - but there are mistakes that can have a substantial impact on your education and future.

Avoiding these mistakes is the best way to keep from having to deal with sometimes serious consequences.

1. Using Alcohol and Drugs in the Dorm

At most colleges and universities, alcohol is part of many parties, and those parties are attended by plenty of students who aren't twenty-one. Also, at lots of schools, young adults experiment with drugs, which is never a good idea - but it's important to be aware that these things do happen. 

The consequences of getting caught with alcohol or drugs in a dorm can be severe - at some schools, it can result in expulsion. 

At Minnesota State University, Mankato, for example, these are the alcohol violations that will result in disciplinary action:

  • Possessing or consuming alcohol on campus.

  • Possessing empty alcohol containers on campus (this includes all alcohol bottles, cans, beer bongs or other containers).

  • Hosting other people in your living unit with alcohol present or being consumed.

  • Being in a living unit where alcohol or alcohol containers are present (regardless of whether you are consuming).

  • Disrupting or disturbing others in the residence communities related to alcohol use on or off campus.

  • Engaging in criminal activity in the residence communities related to alcohol use on or off campus. Examples include, but are not limited to theft or destruction of property, vandalism, physical assault, and sexual assault.

    These violations are typical of most colleges and universities. If you think you can get away with consuming alcohol or using drugs in a dorm, you are mistaken - and it can ruin your college career.

    2. Blowing Off Classes

    Especially freshman year, when the intoxicating thrill of freedom can overshadow the responsibility of completing an (often very expensive) education, getting to class every day can become a choice, not a requirement - and that's a huge mistake. Attending class is one of the top indicators that a student will do well, and more and more instructors are including participation in their grading matrix. 

    Skipping classes will also keep you from making important connections with other students, including being part of study groups, sharing information and ideas, and making personal connections that can last a lifetime. In a smaller class, the instructor will be aware of your absence, and may view your lack of attendance as a lack of interest or concern about your performance. In a large class, while the instructor may not see that you are not there, you will quickly get behind on lectures and notes if you skip class regularly.

    3. Hiding in Your Dorm Room or Apartment

    It's hard to make friends.

    It's difficult to put yourself out there and connect with other people. Unfortunately, the world will not come to you if you are hiding out in your dorm room or apartment and waiting for your social life to begin. Getting out and meeting people is the only way to make friends.

    Are you not sure where to go to connect? Here are a few suggestions:

    • Dorm activities
    • On campus clubs
    • Intramural sports
    • Part time jobs
    • Volunteer as a tutor, mentor or campus tour guide
    • Join a theater group, choir, or other performing arts organization
    • Rush a fraternity or sorority

    It's not easy to put yourself out there and risk rejection or disappointment - but it's worse to not try at all. It takes just one good friend to make everything much easier and more fun - and with one good friend, you can find lots of other people to connect with together.

    4. Not Taking Care of Yourself

    You probably don't need to be reminded that staying healthy is a top priority, especially when you are studying late into the night, eating food that may not be the most nutritious and coming into contact with dozens of new people each day. But this is your reminder anyway. Wash your hands - get enough rest - eat a few vegetables - go for a walk. A little bit will go a long way.