As each semester comes to an end, it’s only natural that we have a few regrets about how we spent it. Grades not up to our standards? Maybe we should have worked more (or partied less). Didn’t get to spend enough time with our friends? Maybe the decision to take 18 credits and work part-time was a little too much.
As college students, every semester presents a new opportunity to start fresh. Here are five common mistakes that many college students make every semester, along with some advice to make sure they don’t happen again.
1. The Problem: You weren’t involved enough.
Every college student’s first semester is filled with an endless list of things to do: bonding with other students in the dorm, becoming accustomed to the difficulty of college level courses, and more. But once the initial freshman excitement wears off, you might find yourself just… bored!
If you decided to take things slow and didn’t join a sorority, apply to join the school newspaper or take on a part-time job, you may begin to feel underwhelmed by the college experience.
There are numerous reasons why getting involved on campus can help you feel more connected with the university as a whole. Joining organizations can help you meet more people, develop career interests, take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, expand your interests beyond your particular major and ultimately, just have more fun.
Phillip Smith, director of public relations and social media at Westwood College, suggests that students join clubs to connect with other students.
“Participation in clubs can build skills, resumes and contacts. For example, student council builds civics skills, enrollment in honor societies looks great on resumes and participating in degree-related clubs builds relationships with other individuals you may meet again in your line of work,” Smith says.
Not sure where to start looking?
• Attend your college or university’s club fair.
• Keep your eyes open when you walk around campus for groups of students promoting organizations or flyers on bulletin boards.
• Talk to your friends and see what they’re involved in.
• Visit your school’s website and find a list of all the recognized organizations on campus.
Once you make the decision to join an organization, team or sorority, you’ll be happy that you have more to do than worry about your classes and lounge around the dorm.
2. The Problem: You were TOO involved.
Many overachieving college students face problems when they become too involved in on and off campus activities. Erica Avesian, an Her Campus contributing writer and junior at the University of Michigan, has witnessed this problem firsthand.
“I made the mistake of trying to do too much last semester,” Erica says. “I was taking 18 credits, in three student groups, writing for two publications and tutoring athletes. On top of all of this, I was going out two to three times a week. There was no such thing as ‘free time’ in my life.”
Though being involved is great for your resume and your happiness, becoming too involved can negatively affect your mental and physical health.
This is how Erica learned that she needed to slow down. “I worked on all of my homework assignments/papers to the point of perfectionism. All of this hard work combined with my responsibilities and busy social life took a toll on my health. I now know to let some things go next semester and stop trying to be Wonder Woman,” Erica says.
To avoid dealing with the same problem, make sure you prioritize. Creating a good work/life balance now will help you once you graduate from college and get out into the “real world.”
So do some internal reflection. Make a list of your commitments and decide which ones you can reasonably drop and which you can’t. If you need to resign from an organization or student publication (or just resign from a leadership position in them), do so. Remember, like almost everything in life, quality is more important than quantity!
For three more problems (and their solutions), check out the complete article.
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