12 Tips for Avoiding Freshman Year Embarrassment at College

You can read every survival guide to college there is, but you’ll still have to hit the ground running when you get to school to start your freshman year. College is about change—that’s the fun part—but it’s impossible to prepare for everything. You have to juggle new friends, new surroundings, new classes, new mortifying situations...

Usually, our team is here to teach you important admissions and financial aid information. But we’re also a bunch of twenty-somethings who have been in your shoes. We’ve learned the hard way. On campus, we each survived dozens of humbling (read: embarrassing) experiences before finally tripping over our graduation gowns onstage.

Learn how to avoid embarrassment from our trials and errors. Well, some of them at least.

1. Check that you’re in the right classroom before you’re 20 minutes into a lecture on the human brain, wondering what it has to do with Shakespeare. -- Katelyn

2. Find your classrooms early if possible. Nobody wants to show up for class 30 minutes late (or miss it entirely if your professor has locked the doors). Don’t be the person that couldn’t find the room number for the lecture hall on the opposite side of the building and circled around it three times. -- Heidi

Nick is angry that he cannot get the door open.

New Girl / Tumblr

3. Even if the bathroom is right down the hall, bring your room key. No one wants to be locked out of their room with nothing but a bathrobe. -- Katelyn

4. If you do bring your room key with you to use the bathroom, don’t leave it in there afterwards, especially if your hall’s bathroom has a lock. -- Heidi

5. When the seniors on the softball team tell you to dress up as a goat, go full goat, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. Though they may stare, other students won’t care, and your teammates will love you for it. -- Megan C.

6. You are not too old to trick-or-treat despite what others may tell you. You might get lucky, end up at John Kerry’s house, and receive candy from his wife. -- Megan R.

7. Not everyone takes costume parties seriously. By all means, spend a couple of hours fashioning yourself eight octopus tentacles, but don’t be surprised when no one else dresses up. -- Gwen

8. If your best friend has successfully talked you into getting a tattoo, a) make sure that she is going to stay your best friend and b) don’t let it come as a surprise to your mother. -- Megan C.

9. Read the box of hair dye carefully before you apply it in the dorm bathroom. Strawberry blonde turns to fuchsia if it isn’t rinsed out quickly enough. Oops. -- Gwen

Nicki Minaj with bright pink hair

Nicki Minaj / Giphy

10. Move into your dorm room as early as possible. If you arrive late, your two other roommates may debunk the beds and rearrange the space so you are forced to sleep in the room’s entryway. -- Megan R.

11. Some classrooms or lecture halls will have a second doorway toward the back of the room that you can use. Find them! It makes it much easier if you need to sneak in and out of the lecture hall for a bathroom break. -- Heidi

12. Question your sleep schedule if you struggle to make it to brunch by 2 p.m. on weekends. Prioritize waffles. -- Megan R.

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