Being a Big (Wo)Man on Campus might make you feel great about yourself. Your beloved Senior T-shirt screams authority, letting all of the lowly underclassmen know you’ve already “been there, done that” and are on the road to college.
But after you don your cap and gown, walk across the stage and smile for the cameras while receiving your hard-earned high school diploma, things will become drastically different. Your senior status will be nothing but a memory, and once you move into the dorms or start classes in the fall, you will be the low one on the totem pole. Age and year aren’t nearly as “important” in college as they seemed during high school.
There are other differences, too. Make an effort to break these bad habits before starting college:
1. Bragging about yourself. Your 2300 SAT score might be Über impressive, but no one will really care about that in college. The same goes for the fact that you were valedictorian or senior class president. It’s okay to talk about yourself—how else will people learn more about you when you first meet?—but quit the bragging.
2. Dropping names. Bragging about your accomplishments is annoying, but name dropping is nearly as bad. Letting everyone know that your rich cousin hangs out with celebrities or your parents work with bigwigs will start to drive everyone crazy pretty quickly.
3. Playing hooky. Senioritis happens to even the most scholarly students, but don’t ditch class to head to the mall or the beach during college—yes, even if the professor doesn’t take attendance. Whether you realize it or not, you’re spending an awful lot of money on those classes and the stuff that you miss might be covered on upcoming quizzes or exams.
4. Lying and making excuses. Your high school teachers didn’t fall for the dog ate my homework excuse, but you might feel fine concocting other creative explanations about your late or missing assignments. In college, don’t even bother. Quit lying to your teachers now so you won’t even be tempted to lie to your professors.
5. Showing up for class unprepared. Bring required textbooks to class. Bring paper and pens or pencils. In fact, bring anything that you think you might possibly need to help you get used to the habit. College isn’t the time to borrow a notebook from the guy sitting next to you. He’ll probably look at you like you’re nuts.
6. Constantly running late. There are no warning bells in college that remind you to rush to class. Some professors even lock the door when class begins and will not let late students enter the room. Start now—whether you’re driving or walking, give yourself extra time to get where you’re going.
7. Surviving on junk food. Chips, candy and your other favorites are fine every now and then, but subsisting on pizza and ice cream will most likely cause you to gain weight (hello, Freshman Fifteen!) and feel so lethargic you don’t want to do anything. Eat real food.
8. Letting Mom do your laundry. A lot of teenagers—even ones who know how to do laundry—let their mom wash their clothes just because she’s always done it. Stop now so you can get used to doing it yourself. College comes with more freedom, but more boring responsibilities, too.
9. Having a messy room. If you have to wade through clothes, papers, books, CDs and other miscellaneous stuff to get from your doorway to your bed, grow up and clean your room. A messy room won’t fly when you have someone else living with you.
10. Faking sickness. Pretending to be sick so your mom will let you stay home from school might seem like an easy way to get out of tests, but faking illness in college won’t do much good. If you miss an exam, you miss an exam—sorry!
11. Oversleeping. If you’re prone to oversleeping, set a regular alarm clock as well as one on your phone. Don’t expect yourself to stay awake until 4 AM and get up by 6:30, either. You’ll either roll over to go back to sleep or act like a zombie for the rest of the morning.
12. Being a perfectionist. Good grades are important—especially when you’re trying to get into college—but they aren’t everything. There are certainly exceptions, but for most things if you spend so much time worrying whether or not it’s perfect, you will do little more than drive yourself crazy and waste a lot of time.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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