8 Mistakes Everyone Makes In College, & How To Recover

By | Friday, August 17, 2018

Life is just a series of mistakes. Is that too dark? Everybody makes mistakes in college. Everybody has those days. And most things can be turned into a Hannah Montana song, apparently. As I near the end of my college career, I’ve begun reflecting on mistakes I’ve watched other people make and, let’s be real here, mistakes I’ve made myself. Though I firmly believe we can always learn from mistakes, sometimes recovering from them can be tough. I mean, I tried to help you avoid some mistakes. I wrote a post on 10 mistakes freshmen make and how to avoid them. But, maybe you didn’t read that in time. Or, maybe you just made still a mistake regardless. Maybe blogs are not infallible (they’re definitely not). It happens to the best of us. Here are some more mistakes everyone makes in college and how to recover from them.

1. Getting lost on the way to class

This happens to the best of us. Oftentimes all of those buildings look the same and if you’re carrying a map, you could really make yourself a target for ridicule. Anyone who’s ever seen a super dramatic episode of any sitcom knows that freshmen are often automatically deemed “fresh meat” to prey on.

How to recover: 

First of all, try to avoid this by asking someone who looks friendly and nice. If you are not great at judging the arbitrary qualities of “friendly and nice,” look for someone who is alone. Typically, anyone who would send you on a wild goose chase would do so to impress their friends. Someone completely alone will probably help you. Also, try asking an adult who looks like a professor or employee from the college

If you’re totally lost and end up late to class, just slip in the back. Apologize to your professor afterward and be honest. Chances are they won’t be mad if it’s the first week. For the future, take time to explore campus and figure out where classes are. Uploading a map of the campus onto your phone is a subtle way to navigate your way around without looking like you’re entirely lost and confused.

2. Hooking up with someone you see often  

It happens. Awkward eye contact might ensue. It’s not the end of the world. This is especially useful if you live on a small campus. Don’t rearrange your entire life to avoid these people, instead, master the awkward eye contact.

How to recover: 

Just say “hey!” and keep on walking. You just took control of an awkward situation and made it entirely unawkward. You’re literally acknowledging them and moving on. Less confident in your approach? Pretend to be on your phone and not see them. This doesn’t always work because you might not have a phone and it’s pretty obvious what’s going down.

3. Locking yourself out of your dorm 

still do this and I’m a senior. If you have a single room, however, skip the first step to recovery.

How to recover: 

See if your roommate is around and can unlock the door. If you also locked your phone in your room, trek to the nearest friends’ dorm to see if she or he can call your roommate for you or message her on Facebook. If you’re in a pickle, however, and don’t want to do this, find the RA. If that fails and you cannot find or track down the RA in your building or another RA, call campus security and tell them you’ve been locked out. Next time? Hook your keys and ID on a command hook next to the doorYou’ll never forget them again.

4. Overwhelming and overscheduling yourself

I still do this on a daily basis lalalala….This is one of the mistakes everyone makes in college and beyond. Don’t wait until you have a full-on, crying on the crusty carpet of your dorm, chugging coffee to feel something sort of meltdown. Nip this in the bud! Or, if you’re currently having a meltdown, continue reading!

How to recover:

Map out your schedule. Make a list of all of your obligations. Then read this article: 12 Signs You Should Quit. This might have helped you cut out some of those obligations. If it didn’t, continue to the next step. Figure out what brings you happiness or helps propel you forward in life. Keep those things. Cut out anything that isn’t necessary. Choose your most important and favorite clubs on campus. Give 100% to those and cut the others. Do this with friends, too. Not to sound savage, but if you’re overwhelmed, it’s extra important to cut out friendships that aren’t meaningful. If your planner isn’t working for you the way it does for most YouTubers and bloggers, find another method. The reminders app on the iPhone is how I stay on top of my crap. So is my giant wall calendar and Google Calendar app.

5. Talking shit to the wrong person 

The easy answer is “don’t talk shit!” but life isn’t easy. And sometimes gossip is really fun. And sometimes you don’t realize you’re gossiping to someone who’s friends with the person you’re gossiping about. Or sometimes you don’t realize who is listening.

How to recover:

If confronted, own up to it. This is college. Express your grievances in this confrontation and apologize. Or, if you’re not sorry, um…own up to it and move on. Be mindful of who you speak to. Find those ride or dies who you can freely gossip with. And always check to see who’s listening. If you’re the only one gossiping in the group, find a new group or stop gossiping. They’re probably not very into it or they might just be preparing to report back to whomever you’re chatting about.

6. Sticking with friends you’ve realized you have nothing in common with  

Freshman year is prime time to make temporary friends you don’t really like that much or have much in common with. But, you’ll cling to each other like life preservers in a scary, giant ocean because freshman year is scary. But, once freshman year is over and you settle a bit and realize you might not love the friend group you’re in, you can do something about it!

How to recover:

Be open and honest. You could ghost these people, but they’ve been important at some point and that’s kind of shitty to do. Of course, friend shifts happen naturally, but if your group isn’t catching the hint that you’ve found different main friends, feel free to be open and kind about it.

Join a new club. Invite the nice girl from philosophy class to grab lunch. Message the nice boy from orientation. Actively try to make some new friends. You’re never trapped anywhere with anyone. Don’t feel guilty about making new friends.

7. Blowing your budget 

College is expensive. Being on your own is exciting. Sometimes your friends spend a lot of money and you feel peer pressured into also spending a lot of money. A lot of factors can contribute to this.

How to recover:

First, read “My Ultimate Guide to Being Money Smart in College blog post. Absorb it. Print it and put it in your wallet. Try getting an on-campus job. Combat the spending with some extra income. Create some sort of limits. What’s your maximum you’d like to spend on food per month? Entertainment? Budget out your money so it lasts longer. If it’s really out of hand, talk to your parents before they give you a stern talk upon finding the credit card bill.

If your friends are wildly spending and planning expensive activities, stand your ground. Play the “I’m a broke college kid! Let’s do something cheaper like watch a movie.” Playing the relatable-broke-college-kid card is an easy way to be cheap.

8. Distancing yourself from professors 

In high school, it was weird to chat with teachers like they were people, but in college, it’s the norm. I often chat with professors more like friends than people who are giving me a grade, and it works for me. Even if you’ve distanced yourself from some professors you really liked, you can still recover!

How to recover: 

Visit their office hours! Ask them about what they mastered in if you’re interested. Tell them how a topic they brought up in class interested you. Ask them for help on an assignment or tips for getting into the field. Absorb “How to Form Relationships with Professors” for more advice. If it’s more of a delayed response and you do not currently have the professor for a course, drop by their office hours. Admit you’d been too shy and nervous to talk to them last semester or last year but mention how much you enjoyed their class. It’s always good to have these relationships for references and just general support later on in your college career.

New Yorker. Lover of sharp wit and soft kittens. Blogger behind

Image via Unsplash


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