2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Graphic by Daman Singh

Mistakes all first-year university students are bound to make

By Julieanne Acosta, October 24 2023—

Going to university is exciting, but also challenging for everyone. Yes, everyone will have different experiences but I am a firm believer that most, if not all, first-year university students are going to make the same mistakes. While this is nothing to be ashamed of, because university marks such a big transitional moment for most students, it’s not crazy to assume that the transition is going to come with its own issues as students navigate a new environment. To prove this, here is a list of mistakes that all first-years make (if you are a first-year reading this and you’re thinking that I’m wrong, wait until the end of the academic year). 

Poor time management

Otherwise known as procrastination. The transition from high school to university is a big jump in terms of academic expectations and lifestyle in general. Poor time management can look like delaying assignments and not studying for a test until the last minute. But this can also look like cancelling your social plans because you didn’t give yourself enough time to complete an assignment and now your social and personal life has to suffer for that mistake. Because of the increased independence coming out of high school and the increase in freedom of schedule, it’s easy to fall into this trap. 

Skipping class

This one is deadly because once you do it one time, it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to continue doing it. Especially since the University of Calgary is largely a commuter campus, the temptation to just go home early and take a nap is strong. Even if it is one of those classes where attendance isn’t marked and the professor will most likely never know that you weren’t there, you never know what’s going to happen in class, and the odds are that the ones you skip will be the ones that you wish you didn’t. 


Especially during clubs week, it’s not uncommon to see first-years signing up for multiple clubs that they will most likely never go to again. It’s important to get involved in extracurricular activities but it’s also just as important to know what your limits are. Even in terms of choosing a day and time to meet with friends or go to a study session, make sure you give yourself some breathing room in between commitments as well. 

Mismanaging finances

For most, this is the first time that you feel financially independent. While this is a good thing for the most part, many underestimate how much they spend on their daily coffee, going out with friends and even on their groceries. Mismanaging your finances doesn’t always look like just going broke. It can look like neglecting having an emergency fund, accumulating unnecessary debt and overspending on non-essentials. This way of managing money can quickly drain resources.

University is a time for trial and error, so making these mistakes doesn’t make you any less of a person or a student. If anything, you just joined the club with the rest of us who have made the same mistakes as you. These mistakes can happen at any point in time — however, they just seem to be more common in the transition from high school to university life. Regardless, over time everybody learns from their first-year mistakes. It may not be as quick as you think and it may take your whole university experience, but university is a place to learn about yourself and grow. 

This article is a part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet