A Guide to Avoiding Common Freshman Mistakes at the University of Maryland

Maryland Freshman

By Allanna Wallace
By Allanna Wallace
Unigo Campus Rep at the University of Maryland

Freshmen year of college is typically remembered as one of the best years in a college student’s life. However, it may also be the year in which a student makes the biggest number of mistakes.

Maryland Alpha Phi 
Alpha Phi girls during Greek Week at the University of Maryland 

My biggest mistake my freshmen year was isolating myself in a single dorm. Originally, I was placed in a double with a roommate who drove me insane. At first I tried hard to get along with her by going along with her laidback-hippy lifestyle. This required me to share everything I owned, for example, my shoes, new clothes and DVDs. She proceeded to lend my belongings out to the entire floor without asking my permission. I watched in frustration as my belongings got damaged or lost. After a few weeks I couldn’t take my living conditions any longer and requested to be moved out of my room. I opted to move into a single room rather than take a chance on another random roommate. Later I realized that I made a mistake. Moving into a single room led me to spend the remainder of my freshmen year quartered up in a tiny room by myself. My experience in the dorms was the opposite of what a student’s first year of college should be like. All freshmen should make an effort to be social and make new friends because experiencing new types of people is what college is all about.

My best decision freshmen year was to attend all of my classes. I will admit that I missed one class (it was an eight A.M class and I had a bad cold) but having a good attendance helped me achieve a high grade point average. Attending class allows students to stay on top of what is going on in their courses and not become distracted by other aspects of college life. In addition, teachers reward students who attend class and punish those who don’t by throwing pop quizzes and hinting at test questions.

Melissa Gill, a sophomore kinesiology major, said her biggest mistake during freshmen year was not attending one of her big lecture hall classes.

“I took PSYC100 which is supposed to be such an easy class but I ended up getting a C,”she said. Melissa thought she could skip out because it was a large class and the notes from each class were posted online. Unfortunately, the professor gave a lot of pop quizzes and those zero quiz scores from missed classes ruined her grade.

According to Melissa, the best decision of her freshmen year was finding her roommates on Facebook. During the summer, she was browsing the University of Maryland Class of ’11 Facebook group when she saw a post from a group of three girls who were looking for a fourth roommate. Melissa responded to the post and moved in with the girls in the fall.

“They became my best friends and I am so glad I picked them,” she said.

Courtney Retzky, a sophomore business major, also said the best decision of her freshmen year was joining Greek life at Maryland. Courtney said joining the sorority, Alpha Phi, helped her to “make close friends and have a lot of fun.” Her biggest mistake, she said, was not taking advantage of going to the campus recreation center when she lived so close to it.

“Now I go every day,” said Courtney, who moved into her sorority house at the start of her sophomore year.

More than anything else, freshmen year is a learning experience. Every student makes mistakes and then they learn from them.