Are you a college freshman in CSE, excited about your first semester of engineering? Hoping that you could skip past some mistakes or blunders you might unknowingly make? We are here to help! Here are 5 Mistakes Freshmen Make During 1st Semester CSE that you could learn about to help you avoid the roadblocks that first-year students face in college. From classes to the campus and even to mental health, we have got you covered.

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Sakshi and Her Story of Wanting it All!

After years of dedicated study and months of exam anticipation, Sakshi finally got into the CSE program of her choice. She was extremely excited to start college as soon as possible; after all, who wouldn’t be happy about their dream college? Once she got to campus, she made lots of friends and attended almost every outing with them. Sakshi’s fun seemed to go on…until her first class test. It was then that she realised she had made the mistake of barely attending classes and neglecting her studies, which ended up affecting her marks and her overall GPA.

Sakshi tried to catch up with her lost studies, staying in her room and pulling overnight study sessions to regain her regularity with her studies. She even spent hours on her laptop, searching for just the right sources to read and learn from. Unfortunately, this resulted in her second mistake: not using the campus resources to her advantage. Only later was it that she found out that her college had a library equipped with all the books and e-learning portals she could possibly need to save her time and get her back on track.

In her attempt to catch up with her studies, Sakshi now made sure that she restricted her outings and even her participation in other college events. She did not realise that the college’s coding club was hosting a hackathon, an event she could learn from and gain experience from. While her batchmates participated in the event and got real-world exposure, Sakshi remained reliant on books. Her mistake was that she did not understand the helping potential of extracurricular activities.

Overall, Sakshi felt bombarded with work. After missing the hackathon, she tried to start balancing extracurriculars with her regular studies and making space for extra work initiatives too. Unfortunately, she was unable to manage her time properly, which led to her inability to meet deadlines and having to lose out on at least one subject in her studies.

At the end of her first semester, Sakshi was mentally and physically spent. She was stressed about work, compromising on her sleep and meals to catch up on all the initiatives she had taken up, and was unable to enjoy the college life she had been looking forward to. Moreover, she was too afraid to tell anyone what she was going through what if they judged her? It took a few more days of stress for Sakshi to realise that her final mistake was not asking for help when she needed it. If she had just asked for help and guidance, her first semester would have been very different than the one it turned out to be.

5 Mistakes Freshmen Make During 1st Semester CSE

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Going to college can be a daunting yet exciting experience for a first-year CSE student. It is important to keep certain fundamentals in mind to enjoy a great college experience. Let us try and learn from Sakshi’s story and delve deeper into the details of the 5 mistakes freshmen make during 1st semester of CSE, to help you have a smoother journey with your start of college life.

Paying Inadequate Attention to Classes and Studies

Many first-year students think skipping classes will not affect their grades, but this is one of the 5 mistakes freshmen make during their 1st semester of college in CSE. Attending classes is essential for success, especially in a computer science engineering college. Students who fail to attend classes regularly risk missing important material, assignments, and announcements. 

  1. Consistent and planned studies are the key to success. First-year students who attend classes irregularly and then cram for exams or wait until the last minute to complete assignments may not perform as well as students who study regularly.
  2. Missing out on lectures is like missing out on the essence of CSE. Don’t forget fun in-class activities with student-professor interaction, especially if you are in a teaching-intensive program.

At Kalvium, the lecturers and professors are industry professionals who offer practical experience and valuable advice during their in-class sessions. Their advice helps in the real-world job market, not just for exams. In such cases, attending and paying attention in classes is necessary to succeed. Read our article Kalvium Curriculum: Full Stack Developer by Year 1 to know more about how classes at Kalvium take you on the path to success.

Not Taking Advantage of Campus Resources

While it may seem rational to self-study, your college campus and resources can only help you go further in your journey. Study hard, but more importantly, study smart.

  1. When a college offers a whole platter, don’t take up just one single food. CSE colleges offer many resources to help students succeed, such as tutoring services, study groups, and career centres, which you can use effectively.
  2. On-campus resources take you places off-campus too. They provide various opportunities and can help students find internships, career prospects, and mentors. They can also help students stay informed about upcoming industry trends and technologies.
  3. Additionally, campus resources provide access to multiple academic and extracurricular opportunities, such as research facilities or library services, that help with an enhanced learning environment.

For example, Kalvium has multiple interactive, engaging and productive resources to help enhance the student experience on campus. Various learning software and extracurricular activities like coding clubs and hackathons promote vibrant student life on campus and act as an excellent method to improve college education. Hence, not taking advantage of campus resources is another one of the 5 mistakes freshmen make during their 1st semester of college in CSE.

Not Participating in Extracurricular Activities

CSE students are used to high volumes of studies. But, as a CSE freshman, you need to get used to letting loose too! Participating in extracurricular activities is the key to enjoying, while also learning and gaining a lot of experience.

  1. Become a more skilled and qualified version of yourself. Extracurricular activities can help students become better problem solvers, learn how to work in teams and develop communication and leadership skills.
  2. Extracurriculars offer a twofold benefit, almost like a ‘buy one get one free’ offer: First-year students who do not participate in these activities miss opportunities to meet new people and develop new skills. These include hard skills or skills related to CSE, such as programming, understanding hardware and software, and learning about the up-and-coming technology in the market. These activities also build up soft skills such as teamwork, communication, time management and multitasking.
  3. Additionally, extracurricular activities can help students make connections with professionals in the industry, which can be beneficial when looking for jobs or internships.

Kalvium provides a balanced curriculum, with both academics and extracurriculars taking equal importance. Coding clubs and hackathons are important extracurricular opportunities at Kalvium. Read more about these opportunities here and avoid one of the 5 mistakes freshmen make during their 1st semester of college in CSE.

Not Managing Time Properly

Time management is critical in college. Balancing all your different commitments, while still making time for enjoyment and relaxation is the key to a happy first semester.

  1. Procrastination is the most common problem that you must deal with. It seems mundane but it can have serious consequences. First-year students should prioritize their tasks, create a schedule, and stick to them to avoid missed deadlines, poor grades, and stress.
  2. Break down tasks to ace time management. Creating a plan and schedule for completing assignments and setting realistic deadlines helps me complete tasks more efficiently.
  3. Positive reinforcement for the win! Make sure you reward yourself for completing tasks or take short breaks to recharge. This increases motivation and helps you complete more work in less time.

At Kalvium, time management is given the utmost importance and experts are always ready to guide you towards the best way to complete your tasks in an efficient and productive manner.

Hesitating to Ask for Help

First-year students often hesitate to ask for help when struggling with coursework. Especially in CSE courses, students tend not to seek help or support and bear a lot of academic, social and emotional pressure. This phenomenon is highly unsettling for new students in the first semester and could result in harmful, self-destructive or damaging behavioural patterns or responses. 

  1. It is important to know what taking care of yourself looks like. Eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are vital to staying healthy and alert. Mental health also plays a huge role, and taking breaks and enjoying your college life is essential instead of staying wrapped up in constant stress or emotional turmoil.
  2. Remember, help is always at hand. It is important to remember that professors, teaching assistants, and classmates are all resources that can help you succeed in your career and to have a fruitful and happy educational journey.

Dear Reader, Let’s Talk Mental Health is one of Kalvium’s articles focusing on the necessity of a stable mental and emotional state, and how Kalvium prioritises mental well-being. Do give it a read and practice healthy habits for mental health as first-semester students.

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What’s the Verdict?

Let us quickly sum up the 5 Mistakes Freshmen Make During 1st Semester CSE:

  1. Paying inadequate attention to classes and studies could affect your final grades and exposure to the computer science engineering job industry overall
  2. Not taking advantage of campus resources results in poor usage of your campus facilities and acts as a hurdle to proper learning.
  3. Not participating in extracurricular activities leads to decreased exposure to the practical aspects of CSE and shall also keep you distanced from learning productive skills like multitasking, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork
  4. Not managing time properly, would lead to missed deadlines, stress, incomplete projects and an unhealthy work pattern for the future job market and potential employers
  5. Hesitating in asking for help: one of the most crucial mistakes to avoid to have a happy and healthy college life with a peaceful mental and emotional state

So, first-year CSE students here’s to the beginning of your college life. Now you know what are the 5 Mistakes Freshmen Make During Their 1st Semester CSE, but more importantly, you know what you can do to avoid them. Have a wonderful first semester!

Register today for Kalvium’s cutting-edge first-of-its-kind liberal engineering program and have the most amazing experience with your first semester and the entirety of your college life.