Giving away your freshman status:
Every school has freshmen, and these new faces are generally tolerated if not outright welcomed. Then they go ahead and do something that flaunts the fact that they have no idea what’s really going on – from failing to refer to traditions or buildings by their proper nicknames to sitting in the front row in a large lecture hall – and they start to lose their cute status and get rather annoying instead. I remember enthusiastically introducing myself to someone who I assumed was a freshman in the dining hall during my first semester; it turns out he was a graduate student trying to catch a quick bite by himself, and he was not amused by my assumption of his freshman status.
Buying all the books and trying to do all the reading:
Your first college textbook bill will likely be your highest – more experienced students quickly realize libraries, student textbook exchanges, and borrowing from friends are all far more economical. Also, most students eventually come to terms with the fact that the seemingly insurmountable pile of readings is actually insurmountable, and instead become more effective at skimming and forming study groups to split readings.
Thinking class timing doesn't matter:
The naïve freshman usually selects courses based purely on the course title and summary, undeterred by the 9am start times or Friday quizzes. The realistic upperclassman first filters by course time when browsing for classes. A few weeks of sleep deprivation and even the most exciting-sounding lectures can sound less appealing than a couple extra hours of sleep, and it is a sad day when Pavlovian conditioning connects engaging lectures on the psychology of happiness to the dreaded sound of your third alarm.
Going crazy with your newfound freedom:
When given complete freedom over many previously-structured aspects of their lives, from food choices to sleep schedules, most students completely abuse this privilege before acknowledging the logic of their previous routines. It turns out that subsisting off junk food and two hours of sleep is not a sustainable lifestyle, although freshmen certainly are not alone in completely ignoring all guidelines for good health. Nonetheless, there is a reason we call it the “freshman fifteen” – while the rest of us occasionally indulge in wrecking our bodies, the completely-liberated freshman usually takes this to an extreme.
Trying to do it all:
Good grades, social life, enough sleep. An infamous triangle suggests you can only pick two of the aforementioned three, with most students opting to overboard on the first two. In reality, you can have all three, just in moderation. That might mean occasionally taking B’s, working on Saturday nights, or staying up in time to hear the birds chirp outside, but enough of these experiences will inspire you to become more efficient with work habits.