Don’t Send That Friend Request and 7 Other Things Not to Do in College

Upperclassmen can’t stand the blundering frosh descending on the campus in September, maps in hand, asking “Is this the way to the psychology building?” and “Know of any good parties tonight?” If you don’t want to look like a clueless freshman, keep these common mistakes in mind and you’ll be on your way to a smooth transition. And they said getting in was the hard part…

Friend request: denied!

Nothing is more exciting than finally joining your new school’s network on Facebook, but hold on before going wild with the friend request button. Running into that person you added as a friend in August but never talked to is just awkward when you pass each other in the dining hall every day. Your profile is a first impression, and showing off your cleavage or your six-pack in your photo is actually a turn-off for a lot of people. If you just can’t bear to detag those drunken ‘80s night photos, consider making your profile private. Your great-aunt and future employers just don’t need to see that.

Keg stand anyone?

Maybe you were the wild and crazy guy in high school, the life of the party, and maybe you’ll come to be loved as the party animal in college too—but don’t try to be the center of attention as soon as you set foot on campus. Upperclassmen aren’t impressed by freshmen who walk into parties acting like they own the place already. Take some time to figure out the party scene before you end up shotgunning beers in a toga at a classy wine and cheese party. You don’t want to be known as “that guy who crashed a private party and threw up in the trashcan.”

Valedictorian? So what?

You can still be proud of that perfect 2400, or your 4.0, but the days of comparing SAT scores or slyly mentioning your GPA are over. The only reason everyone cared about that stuff in the first place was because you and your friends were worried about getting into college. Now that you’re in, give it a rest! Your new friends could care less that you got accepted early decision.

Hi Mom, it’s me…

Don’t forget to call your parents sometimes. But you don’t need to call Mom for help every time something goes wrong. Never learned how to do laundry? Read the instructions on the back of the detergent bottle. Learning to be resourceful and independent is a key part of the college experience. Your parents can’t bail you out of every sticky situation you get into anymore. Just think—getting locked out of your room naked will make for a good story someday.

Thanks for the memories

Don’t let memories of all those good times senior year of high school keep you from connecting with new people in college. That story about the time you and your buddy broke into the school naked might be a good ice breaker, but if you find yourself saying “this one time in high school…” a little too often, come up with a new punch line.

Fwd: you sound sooo dumb lolol!

Once you get your college email address, your inbox will be flooded with more messages than you know what to do with, from RA reminders to academic information. Lots of these messages will be sent out to large email lists. Don’t forget the difference between “reply” and “reply all.” You’ll be really embarrassed when you accidentally “reply all” and your whole Chem class, including the professor, gets the message that “Man I was soo wasted last nite I didn’t study at all for the final!” or “Nah not worried about the problem set cuz I got the answers from my roommate!”

Nice to meet you

Don’t be shy, but keep in mind that you’re going to meet all sorts of people in college, from all corners of the world. Starting a conversation with a new acquaintance by talking about “daddy’s jet” or how you think all Democrats/Republicans are ignorant isn’t a great idea. Watch out before scoffing about how “English majors are a joke,” in case your new roommate has always dreamt of studying Chaucer. And just a tip…don’t say “so are you a freshman too?” to someone you’ve just met. Upperclassmen don’t take this too kindly.

Making the grade

Your professors aren’t like your teachers in high school. If you’re lucky, you will connect with a few favorite profs before graduation, but a lot of your college teachers won’t know your name. Don’t take it personally. They’ll expect you to be on top of your work, so if you’re used to reminders from your teacher before each due date, it’s time to learn how to use a planner and a syllabus. “But you only told us about it once!” isn’t an excuse when you forget to hand in your final paper.



Photo courtesy of Silverisdead

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