The 8 Biggest Mistakes Students Make
About a week ago, I came across a video on my friend Kevin’s channel med school insiders called seven regrets of my 20s and watching his video got me thinking about some of my own regrets and mistakes specifically from my college career. Because by no means that I have a perfect college career. By and large, I’m happy with how things turned out. And I didn’t make any huge mistakes.t
there are definitely some things that I would have done differently if I were magically time. warped back to my freshman year. Now all that is unlikely to happen as I haven’t angered any wizards. lately. I still think that detailing these mistakes and going through what I would have done differently will be useful for other people who might be finding themselves in a similar situation in the near future including possibly you that’s because one of my most important beliefs is that you can learn just as much from the failures of others as you can from your own as long as you can call that little voice in your head that says yeah but that won’t happen to me right then you can start to use the experiences of others to prepare yourself potential situations in your own life so today I’m gonna be sharing eight stupid mistakes that I made in college and the lessons that each one of them taught me
first of my list with mistake I made in both my freshman and my sophomore year, which was starting out the semester way too gung ho, thinking I could do a literally every single reading assignment, every single piece of homework everything and then fizzling out after just a few weeks, I’m not gonna lie, I came into college as a very ambitious student, as is befitting somebody who would make an entire website on academic success. And I wanted to do really well in my classes. I wanted to ace every single test and do all the reading.
So when I started my semesters, I told myself, I’m going to read every single reading assignment and I’m going to take notes on every single thing that I read. But as you can probably guess, that didn’t last for very long and there’s a big difference between say, my first week Mrs. Class Notes, which I’ll show right here, and, well, the market lack of any notes beyond that. Now, I have to say that I did get lucky because a lot of the classes that I went to had a lot of overlap between what was presented in class and when
was in the actual reading assignments and homework. But if I had been in classes where a lot of crucial information was locked the textbook, then that burnout that experienced a few weeks into the semester could have really hurt me.
Mistake number two, which is a bubbly, fizzy and caffeinated mistake all throughout college. until probably my senior year. I was absolutely addicted to energy drinks. And I’d like to tell myself that this wasn’t because of the caffeine content. It probably was. Caffeine is a surprisingly addictive substance.
But I was also addicted to energy drinks because they provided what the author Taylor cork calls and his book Starbucks beverage entertainment, they were something that made a study session just a little bit less boring because I knew I got that colorful, can have fizzy, sugary liquid next to me while I went through my math assignments. The lesson here for those of you who haven’t already gotten addicted to energy drinks is don’t let it happen because it can very well happen both for those beverage entertainment reasons and for the caffeine reasons you don’t need nearly as
much caffeine as you think you might as long as you’re maintaining a good sleep schedule. And if you do want to use caffeine or you enjoy drinks that have it, maybe stick to coffee or tea instead, and they’re a lot healthier. And if you aren’t going to Starbucks and buying $4 lattes, they are a lot cheaper as well.
So the next mistake on my list here is jumping the gun when it came to selecting an internship. So this goes back to my sophomore year of college. I spent the summer before that year and the very beginning of that year going as hard as I could to try to get an internship. I went to every single networking session that I could learn about.
I went to all the career fair. So I went to all the pre career fairs and the pre pre career fair breakfasts, I met recruiters from dozens of different companies. I handed out tons of different resumes and all of this work definitely paid off after the career fair season after all that kind of died down. I was presented with no less than seven interview offers at several different companies. And I was pretty stoked about these but I didn’t end up going to any of them because
Before even my first interview was scheduled, I got a call from one company that said, Hey Thomas, we really liked your resume really liked talking with you at the career fair. We think that we don’t even need to interview we would like to offer you an internship sight unseen because we think you’re a great candidate and I was ecstatic when I got this call. And because I was ecstatic and because I was so stoked that they had offered me an internship. I never been offered an internship before I took it right away. No, I don’t want to say that this decision led me down the wrong path, because I’m very grateful for the experiences I got at that internship.
But as a result of taking it right away, I cancelled all seven of those other interview requests. I didn’t even give them the chance to see if they were going to be a better opportunity than that first one. And I remember later during that summer, talking with other people who are my classmates and friends and asking them what their internship experiences were like, and some of them actually ended up getting internships that paid a lot more than mine did. So I think the lesson here is don’t jump the gun. If you get a job offer. You’re going to think that this is the only one that’s going to come to you, you’re going to say
That if you let this opportunity slip through your fingers, you’re making a horrible decision. But it is totally okay to say thank you so much for the opportunity. Can I take a few days to think about it from there, you start to analyze your options. And since I did this internship, and then I went and started my own business and haven’t worked a full time job since then, I don’t have the personal experience to tell you about how to do this correctly.
But I did come across an excellent answer on Reddit about this exact same question. So I’m going to link to that in description down below. And I highly recommend you give it a read in case you find yourself in this situation in the future.
All right. Mistake number four on my list is dropping my very first programming class. So this goes back to my very first semester of college my freshman year, I ended up taking the engineering level Java programming class. And this was because even though I was a business student, weirdly, the business Java programming class, even though it was easier than the engineering level one had a prerequisite that I wasn’t going to be able to take until my second semester Whereas that engineering one had no prerequisites. And I was like, I want to start learning Java, I want to start programming.
This is what I came to college for. So I started that class. And immediately I found it really, really difficult. The labs are difficult.
The homework was difficult. And I even found it difficult to follow the lecture material while I was sitting in class. So, and it pains me to admit this. After about a couple of weeks, I actually dropped that class and just resigned myself to taking the business level Java class instead. And this mistake is really an echo of a mistake I made back in high school where I didn’t get a very good grade in my calculus class because I shied away from the tough problems. The moment a problem presented itself to me, and I thought, I can’t do that.
I don’t even know where to begin, I would disengage I would basically give up and as I learned the intervening years, this is not how you become a better problem solver.
You can’t just disengage the moment a problem seems like it’s too tough to solve. If you focus on it, you’re eventually going to find the answer. And if you can’t do it on your own, you can ask for help. I didn’t do this, which meant that I wasted a bunch of time during my freshman year because I dropped that class and wasted all the hours
I put into it prior to the day I dropped it. But it also meant that I ended up going into a Java class. That was, frankly, too easy for me. I could have done the engineering level Java class if I had really buckled down and focus on the problems, but I didn’t. So if you find yourself in a class that you feel is just too hard, make sure that you’re actually working to solve those problems. Ask yourself, have I really put in the time? Have I really focused or that I just disengage and tell myself that’s too hard?
related Post: Major Mistakes Students Making During Graduation
All right. Failure number five here, kind of related to number four, I failed to take advantage of Professor office hours for a lot of my college career.
When I got into my junior and senior year I started to get smart and I started to use them a lot more often. But freshman and sophomore year, I hardly ever went to Professor office hours and what’s worse, I remember professors actually offering completely free review sessions you know, after class when people could just come and ask whatever questions they wanted in review for tests and I skipped these two these are
gold mines. I remember going to a couple of these during my again junior and senior year and using them to get really good grades on tests because teachers would essentially answer questions straight from the study guides.
I skipped these in my first couple of years of college and I skipped Professor office hours, which meant that again, when I got stuck on tough problems, I wasn’t utilizing the resources that I had available to me I was just disengaging and telling myself I can’t do that. So if you’re in college, or even if you’re in high school, use the help you have available to you. Professors are there to help you not just by lecturing to you at the front of the classroom, but by working one on one with you as well.
Alright, steak number six. And this is I think, the most emotional one on the list here. I titled it in my list seeking companionship in the wrong places. So to put a long story very short the February of my junior year I ended up breaking up with the girl I was dating at the time and for a while I was totally fine being single but as many people end up finding the start to get lonely after a while and
Remember that my senior year fall started. And I found myself in what I would say is the closest to a depression that I have ever been in. I don’t think that it was a it was a true depression. And I haven’t really experienced what other people have experienced in that realm of things. But it was a very sad and kind of down period of my life. And what I tried to do to fix that.
I thought that I needed to go out and find someone else to date. But I went about it in the wrong way. I started going to bars like almost every single night, and I’m not a huge drinker.
But I would go out there because the only solution to finding someone to date in my mind was that I had to go out to bars, like where else do you meet people who actually want to get in a relationship, right? And this was the complete wrong approach because I would go number one, put myself in an environment where I was very unlikely to find people who had similar interests and passions and values to what I had, but also I psyched myself out every single time I went into a bar nightclub because I went there with the express purpose of finding somebody.
That meant I put a ton of pressure and anxiety on myself. And this went on for a few months. Until one night on a whim, I decided to go to the anime club party at my school because my roommate was the president at the time. So this was just a completely fun thing to do. I had absolutely no expectations from it. And once you know it, that’s where I met Anna, my girlfriend who have been with for six years and I met her there because I put new expectations on myself. I didn’t have any anxiety which allowed me to be myself and that’s why she was attracted to me.
So if there is a lesson here at all, I would say don’t put so much pressure on yourself to find a companion go out, do things with the intention of finding friends and having fun and while you’re doing those things in the process, you’re likely to meet people who again share passion so you might be attracted to and they might be attracted to you and you’re not putting pressure on yourself. So you’re going to be yourself in those situations.
Alright, steak number seven is not doing my due diligence when it came to the costs of college and this is
Typically is referring to the cost of living on campus. But when I was researching what it would take to live on campus because I wanted to live in the dorm, so I can meet as many people as possible and be as close to the opportunities as possible. The first bit of information I found on my colleges website is that I had to pay for the dorm up front for an entire semester, which I believe was about 30, $500
each and every semester. And I didn’t look past that. I said, Okay, I don’t have 30, $500. So I went out and took out student loans to pay for it. Only later in my college career. When I started to really get to know the college’s website for a part time job that I had been hired for did I learned that there was actually a month to month payment option for that dorm.
So to give you some context, my original plan going into college was to get an apartment off campus so I could pay for it month a month with my part time job earnings. I didn’t have parents that could pay for my college. So I knew I would have to basically cover everything myself and I wanted to minimize debt, but eventually decided against the apartment idea because again, I wanted to be in the thick of things I wanted to be on campus and meet me.
Many people as possible, all that good stuff, but I didn’t do my due diligence. I didn’t learn about this month, the month option. And had I done that I probably could have paid for my dorm month a month with my part time job earnings, or at least taken out far fewer dollars in student loans. So the lesson here is, do your due diligence. Don’t take the first bit of information you have at face value, especially if it’s going to involve you taking out a large student loan, dig in, ask questions, challenge your base assumptions, and you might find something that could save you a lot of money.
And that brings us to our final mistake on my list, which was failing to take advantage of what I call the fun opportunities and I call them the fun opportunities because I have to separate them from the professional opportunities in college. I really did take advantage of professional opportunities.
I was in Business Council I started a blog I was in all these like academic standards committees and computer advisory committees, all these things that I had done just basically a boost my resume and that may actually be another mistake that I think about when writing this list.
But when I put off all the things that seemed really fun. So to give you some context here, my college has over 800 student organizations and clubs, including things like downhill, dirt boarding club, skydiving club, all these outdoor adventure clubs. And when I was a freshman, I went to this thing called club best where everyone except these booths, and it was basically this entire event designed to show the freshman just what was available and what they could join.
And I remember seeing all these clubs and thinking these seem awesome. I want to do all of these. But I’m here for four years. I can do them whenever I want. I have all the time in the world.
So of course, I let other things get in the way. Let homework get in the way I let video games with friends get in the way that all these events that I thought would build my professional presence on my resume, get in the way and four years went by without me ever doing any of those things. I never did the skydiving club. I never did the downhill dirt boarding club. I didn’t none of it.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation where there’s something you want to do you feel like you’re all the time in the world to do it. You have to commit to it, find a way to set a date or commit to it with a friend. So it’s actually going to happen. Even if something seems really fun.
If there’s a little bit of friction required to get into it, or if it’s going to take some time, you’re always going to find something that quote unquote, comes up and makes you put it off a week, and then another week, and then another week until one day, you find yourself on your deathbed and you really regret never going downhill dirt boarding.
Now one potential regret that I think we didn’t have to put on this list was failing to use my free time to work on independent learning projects, because this was definitely something that I did in college. While a lot of the guys in my dorm use most of free time to play video games.
I use the vast majority of my free time that wasn’t taken up by classes or projects or part time jobs to work on independent learning projects that really interested me and that really paid off in fact, all the hours that I spent my dorm learning PHP and Photoshop video editing gave me the skills that I needed to build and refine college info geek which eventually turned into a full time business for me so well, I’m not suggesting that you never hang up
Friends are never played video games because I definitely think you should do these things. I do want to leave you with one parting thought. Whether you’re in college or high school, or even in the professional world, make sure that you’re using at least some of your free time to pursue independent learning projects that interest you don’t just come home and spend all your free time on Netflix or video games or hobbies that only result in consumption, learn something, build something. And remember that since you get to pick the project, your higher level of interest in it almost always lead to faster learning and you never know how it’s going to pay off in the future. Now, if you want to accelerate your learning in that project even further, you should also check out skill skill Sure, has library of over 20,000 courses taught by expert teachers and practitioners in a ton of different areas including graphic design, web development, story, crafting, and even marketing. All their classes are hands on with projects that you can immediately sink your teeth into. So you’re learning actively right away. And there’s also a chat area where you can ask questions and get feedback not one class that I want to highlight for you this week is Thomas low risk class. I’m creating a UX design portfolio. And this is partly because creating a portfolio is an essential skill for anyone doing creative work.
But also because the class uses a free tool, call it sigma, which to spoil things a little bit as a tool that I’ve been using to craft a brand new version of the college and booking website. And this tool is amazing. Anybody who wants to get into the field of web design I think should start learning it. So if you want start going through that class, or check out any of the other classes and sculptures library, then click link description down below and sign up and when you do, you’re also going to get a free to month unlimited trial of their service. You can learn as much as you want into months and after that a premium subscription to their service is less than 10 bucks a month and you can cancel at any time so it’s risk free and honestly I think it is an awesome service want to give a big thanks to Scotia for sponsoring this video and being a big supporter of this channel. And as always, guys, thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video and got something out of it, maybe consider leaving a like you can also subscribe right there. If you don’t want to miss new videos when they come out every single week. You can also get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades right over there. Watch one more video on this channel right around here. Or follow me on Instagram at Tom frankly thanks for reading guys and I will see you in the next one.