What NOT to Do in College – Advice from Someone Who Learned The Hard Way

Not that long ago (ok, it was a bit long ago), I too was entering my freshman year of college. I was pretty excited, but I also had no clue what to expect. How did it go? Well, if I’m going to be completely honest, each semester spent there was a series of trials and errors, most of which cost me tons of money, humility, and time. So here’s some advice – from a person who has made some terrible mistakes – on how to avoid three major mishaps most college students seem to make.

 

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Do do not get into the habit of skipping class…. ever. It’s the fastest way to get kicked out of your University. Attendance is noticed even when it’s not recorded. What I mean is, if your passing or failing comes down to a few points, a professor will remember those who were respectful of attendance and may allow you to earn those extra points. Think missing one class is no big deal? College classes move faster than any classes you have ever taken in high school. Time management is one of the most important things you learn during your freshman year. Want my advice? Email your professor immediately and apologize if you miss a class. Do not ramble on about your flu, dead fish, or how your car got towed, just make it short and let them know you’d like to make up the class if possible. And don’t forget to ask a friend or classmate to take some notes if you’re not going to be present.

 

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Clicking Amazon’s “Buy Now” button is so easy sometimes – it doesn’t feel like you’re spending a dime until you get your first credit card statement. I made the mistake of ignoring my first three payments and soon the fees, interest and amount snowballed into an unpayable debt which lingered on my credit report for seven years. Oh, how quickly we can go into thousands of dollars of debt with nothing to show for it other than some outdated clothes from Urban Outfitters. My advice is to look into opening an account with a local credit union and sign up for a basic secured Visa card. A basic secured card is a pre-payed credit card, one who’s usage will never hurt your credit by going over a limit, yet it still helps you build your credit. Opening a card and account with a credit union makes banking a lot easier as well. They have fewer fees and seem to be a bit easier to work with from my experience.

 

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Do not send, take or upload photos of yourself doing anything more than something G-rated. Ask yourself, would mom and dad put this on the fridge? Any photo can go viral in seconds and ruin your privacy and image for years – all it takes is one upload from you or someone else. Scared? You should be. Also, remember that some photos can remain on the internet FOREVER. So that spring break photo you were so proud of because it garnered 300+ likes? That could be the first photo a new employer sees of you post-graduation. Avoid all of this by setting your social media security on the highest level privacy-wise.

 

Hayden West

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