Mistakes to Avoid at the Beginning of the Semester

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As a senior, I’ve made lots of mistakes in how I’ve handled my college experience. I’m happy with how everything turned out, but if I could do it over again there are definitely a few things I wish I would have started doing sooner. Here are a few mistakes to avoid – from someone who’s made them all.

not introducing yourself to your professor

After class ends it might be tempting to leave as soon as possible and avoid the rush of people out the door, but spending just a minute introducing yourself to your professor will go much further than you think it will. Taking an interest in their course, asking smart questions, or even just saying hello gives your professor an opportunity to get to know you as a person, not just another face in a crowded lecture hall.

not ordering food ahead of time (if you can)

Dining halls are packed for the first few weeks as everyone attempts to figure out their schedules and favorite places to eat. Virginia Tech thankfully partners with GrubHub, and you can use their app to order food from any VT dining hall ahead of time. That way, you can order your food before you even leave the classroom and skip the line when you arrive to pick it up.

not saying hi to your hall-mates

If you live in a dorm, you’re going to be spending more time with your neighbors than you think. Getting to know them well makes sharing common spaces much easier, and if you’re lucky you’ll make good friends who live just a few feet down the hall. Knock on doors, say hello, offer to get food, play a game, there are lots of simple ways to get to know whoever you like.

not actually reading your syllabus

I know more and more professors are requiring a Syllabus quiz to ensure that you read it, but don’t stop there. Make sure you understand the requirements of each assignment and read carefully, some professors tend to hide things in the fine print. But if it’s in the syllabus, you are responsible for knowing it.

not creating a schedule

Knowing your responsibilities, engagements, and all the specifics of them is key to balancing all that college has to offer. With classes, clubs, extracurriculars, a personal life, sleep, exercise, etc., it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Take just a few minutes to create a schedule or calendar so that you know when/where you have to be.

At the end of the day, your experience is what you make it. Whether or not you choose to follow these guidelines, the most important things for your college experience are staying on top of your work, finding some good friends, and making memories that you’ll have for life. So the biggest mistake to avoid? Stressing too much.



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