Updated: Aug 26
We all want our student experience to be fun! And there are plenty of ways to do that, no matter what year of college or university you are in. The last thing anybody wants is 4-8 years of misery and regret. To ensure that your college experience is enjoyable, there are certain things that you should be cautious about and try to steer clear of.
The list that I will be sharing today is full of things that some people might want but never need, and some could land you in major trouble if you do them at all.
Here are 6 things you should avoid to have a better student experience:
Many students go to school intending to keep their heads down and focus on themselves. Focusing on yourself is beneficial for staying on track with your goals, but relationships can be just as helpful to your overall well-being. Studies show that mental health problems are rising among younger individuals, including university students. Part of this increase is due to social isolation and a lack of social support.
As a student, it is important to create a social life early on, because it gets harder to make friends later in life. After school, you have fewer chances to see people who are somewhat similar to you. Most people make lifelong friends in school or at work, because they see them often and they can relate to them easier. It is also healthy for you to get out and meet people. Research has found that building connections can help reduce things like anxiety, depression, and stress.
There are loads of opportunities to meet people at school. You have clubs, organizations, classes, events, etc. And if you need to build up to in-person interactions, there are online groups you can join to help with confidence. It does not matter what you do, as long as you are doing something to connect!
2. Excessive Partying
Parties themselves are not a bad thing, it is good to unwind from the stress of student life sometimes. But excessive partying can do more harm than good.
The more time you spend out partying, the more likely you are to be influenced into doing something that you probably did not plan on doing. Peer pressure is a real thing - especially at college or university parties. If you are going to attend parties, be aware of what is going on around you and what you are getting into. Remember that you can make your own choices – it is not the end of the world if you say no to something.
The danger of parties can arise when drugs and alcohol come into play - they can do serious damage to your body. Research says that drinking or taking drugs in excess can lead to health problems such as cancer, brain damage, and cirrhosis.
You do not have to resent parties or avoid them altogether - but understand the risks that may come with them if you do not set limits and stick to them.
3. Unhealthy Relationships
We are all shaped by the environment around us. The people you surround yourself with can affect who you become. Because of that, I want to talk about the effects of unhealthy or toxic relationships.
A toxic relationship can negatively impact your emotional and mental health. Research has shown that unhealthy relationships can be draining and may lead to an increase in risk for psychological distresses - like stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. It is also important to notice when a relationship is getting to an unstable point and take the necessary steps to fix the issue, so that you can save your sanity and maybe even the relationship if you choose to. Some relationships can be worked on and change for the better, while others that cross boundaries might be healthier to end.
One way to assess your current relationships is to audit them. I have done this before and it has helped me learn more about each person I talk to, identify problems within these relationships, and cut off a few ties that were not good for me.
The audit can be simple - ask yourself a few questions about the person you are thinking of.
Some examples of reflective questions can be:
Is the relationship I have with this person mutually beneficial? How so?
Where will I be if I keep this person in my life?
Would this person help me if I was in need? (and vice versa)
Asking questions like these can help you understand how each relationship is going and determine how helpful or harmful they are for you. Flipping these questions and asking yourself if you are being the best that you can be in your relationships, can help you make some positive changes and maintain your healthy relationships!
4. Skipping Class
As much as you may not want to, you do need to go to class. Each lecture, discussion, and activity offers a unique opportunity to learn, grow, and develop important skills that will serve you well in your future career.
By showing up and actively participating in class, you have the chance to engage with your professors and peers, ask questions, and gain valuable insights that you would not get otherwise. Each class is a chance to build your knowledge and expand your perspective, setting you up for success both in school and beyond.
Remember, attending class and fully participating in your education is a choice only you can make. It is a choice that shows your dedication, commitment, and determination to succeed in all aspects of your life. By choosing to attend each class, you are investing in your own future and setting yourself up for success.
So, let's make the choice together to prioritize our education and attend each class with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Your future self will thank you for it!
5. Living In The Past
College or university is a time when you can experience tremendous growth - but the only way to do that is to focus on the opportunities in front of you. It is natural to reflect and think about your past, but dwelling on what happened will only hold you back from seeing what is in front of you.
The past should only be used for reference to build a new future - not as a refuge to hide from the present.
When you focus too much on the past, it can be difficult to move forward and progress toward your goals. It is easy to get stuck in a negative mindset and feel overwhelmed by past mistakes or missed opportunities. However, by focusing on the present moment, you can build a foundation for what you want your life to be like later on.
You can get a jump-start on your growth by being active at school. Participate in extracurricular activities or network with peers and professors whenever you can. This can help you learn more about what is going on around your school - keeping you grounded in the present.
6. Not Planning For Anything
I truly believe that planning is one of the most important skills you can develop. It is not just about setting goals or making to-do lists, it is about taking control of your life and creating a roadmap for your future.
When you take the time to plan ahead, you are investing in yourself and your future. You are setting yourself up for success by prioritizing your goals, breaking them down into achievable steps, and taking action toward achieving them.
Furthermore, planning can help you stay organized, manage your time more effectively, and avoid feeling overwhelmed. By creating a clear plan, you can ensure that you have enough time to attend classes, complete assignments, study for exams, and engage in extracurricular activities.
But perhaps most importantly, planning can help you build confidence and resilience. When you have a clear plan in place, you are less likely to feel lost or directionless. Even if you encounter setbacks or obstacles along the way, you can use your plan as a guide to keep you on track and motivated.
So, my sincere advice to you is to prioritize planning in your life. Whether you are using a planner, a to-do list, or a digital tool, find a planning system that works for you and commit to using it regularly. It may take some time and effort to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it. With planning, you can take control of your life and create a brighter future for yourself.
If you need help creating a plan, I wrote a previous blog on The Importance of Life Planning as a Student and Where to Start!
Make The Most Out of Your School Years
College or university can be an amazing experience full of growth, new friendships, and endless opportunities. To make the most out of these years, it is important to avoid certain things that may dampen your experience.
Isolation, excessive partying, unhealthy relationships, and skipping classes are just a few examples of things to avoid. School is already stressful enough, the consequences of these negative activities are NOT worth the hype.
Instead, focus on building a social life, participating in healthy activities, surrounding yourself with positive and supportive relationships, and attending classes. Your college or university years are a time to learn, grow, and develop important skills that will serve you well in your future career.
So, how will you plan to make the most out of your school years?
Let us know in the comments below 💬👇🏼
Abbot, G. (2021, October 21). How social interaction affects university students' mental health. Psychreg. Retrieved from https://www.psychreg.org/social-interaction-affects-university-students-mental-health/
Department of Health & Human Services. (2016, October 20). Partying safely. Better Health Channel. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Partying-safely
Laguna Shores Recovery. (2022, March 28). Dangers of toxic relationships and Mental Health. Retrieved from https://lagunashoresrecovery.com/dangers-of-toxic-relationships-and-mental-health
McAlpine, K. J. (2021, February 17). Depression, anxiety, loneliness are peaking in college students. Boston University. Retrieved from https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/depression-anxiety-loneliness-are-peaking-in-college-students/
Written By: Avion Howard