1. Overloading yourself – You have class, fraternity, girlfriends, work, working out, other student orgs, ect… Live life to its fullest, but don’t burn yourself out.
2. Forgetting your parents – You have two people in this world who love you no matter what you do in life. Keep them involved and keep your relationship strong with them. You will be glad you did.
3. Credit card debt – You are not responsible enough to have a credit card. I’m damn near 40 making a good living and I’m not responsible enough to have one.
4. Summer internships – Someday you will need to get a job. This requires an interview. The poor stiff interviewing you will want to know what experience you have. Without an internship, you won’t have any. This means you will end up graduating and moving into your parent’s basement. This makes #2 above critical.
5. Picking a useless major – I’m not going to be pretentious prick on this one, ok, maybe I will be… If you want to live in a big house and drive a nice car, your chances are higher if you pick a more demanding field of study. Your call.
6. Getting bad grades – I put this in here to see if you are paying attention. As long as you pass, your grades really don’t matter. I’m damn near 40 and no one has ever looked at my GPA. That is through 3 career changes. I am sure they looked at them when I applied to grad school, but I didn’t mess up #5 above so I was cut some slack. I also scored well on my GMAT so my GPA really didn’t matter.
7. Resume mistakes – When I hire, I don’t want a description of your job. I want to know what you did and what results you had. If you were an intern, and you completed 5 studies that saved the company $100 million dollars, that is what I want to see. Action (5 studies) and result (saved $100 million dollars). If I want the fluff, I’ll ask you in your interview.
8. Not getting life experiences – It kills me to meet young people who are boring. Go somewhere and do something memorable. Have a life experience which will lead to a hell of a story. This will make you more interesting and more successful in life.
9. Drinking and driving – Statistically, this is about the only way young people die. Not worth it…
10. Too casual sex – Lots of obvious reasons for this one. One not so obvious is this – someday you are going to want to marry a good girl. If you tell her you’ve been with a zillion girls before her, it may be a deal breaker.
11. Schedule poorly – Never again will have you such control over your daily schedule. Make it fit around your lifestyle. Enjoy it before you enter the 8-5 grind.
12. Letting others tell you want you should do – YOU control your future. YOU know what is best for you. Take advice, but make your own decisions.
13. Staying in bad relationships too long – The longer you stay with Miss Wrong the longer you will be apart from Miss Right. Don’t be scared to kick crazy to the curb.
14. Not reading – Educated people don’t only go to school. They read. Read for enjoyment. Read things you are passionate about. My books THE FRATERNITY LEADER and THE CHAPTER PRESIDENT are probably a good start (how’s that for a shameless plug?).
15. Cutting class – I see this as an integrity issue. Your job is to be present in class. Sure, somedays you will mail it in by daydreaming in class. But you will have met your commitment and be counted present. This is a critical habit to get into. 90% of becoming successful in life is just showing up.
16. Being a dick in writing — Never send a text or email that is negative or critical of someone else. It just isn’t worth it. It will always be interpreted wrong and feelings will get hurt. Either don’t send it or have the conversation over the phone or in person.
17. Not having real conversations – Take the time to create real connections with those around you. These relationships are what makes life rewarding.
18. Being rude by being distracted – Put the damn phone down. Look people in the eyes and be real. The text will be there in 5 minutes when you are alone.
19. Taking classes alone — If you are reading this, you are pretty damn smart. I get that. However, super-successful people are those who know how to collaborate. Find a partner and take classes together. You will achieve more with less effort.
20. Medical insurance – My buddy DS didn’t have health insurance. I busted his stones for an entire semester about getting it. He finally did. A month later he needed an emergency appendectomy. I saved him $40k…
21. Not taking advantage of free time – You are in college! If you are wasting your free time playing video games or watching TV or sleeping 15 hours a day, shame on you.
22. Not getting to know your professors – This is the simplest way to get more out of class. You will be more engaged if you feel a personal relationship with your instructor, and he will feel obligated to make sure you learn the material. It’s a win-win.
23. Getting engaged – Holy hell 2. No one should get married in their early 20s. You don’t know who you are yet. Wait a few years. If it is meant to be, it will work out. Trust me, there is no huge rush.
24. Not asking the girl out – Someday, you will be middle-aged, fat and graying with a wife and a house-full of kids. And you’ll think back to the girls you should have asked out and wonder why you didn’t. Have no regrets – you only live once…
25. Not asking the question in class – If you have a question, but are too scared to ask you are a pansy. You deserve to stay ignorant.
26. Buying a fancy car – Huge waste of money that you probably don’t have…
27. Not applying for financial aid – This is free money! If nothing else, borrow it and invest it. You need to learn how to make smart money decisions now.
28. Waiting too long to get help – There is a ‘you’re screwed’ point in every class. If you get there, you will be too far behind to catch up. Don’t wait to get there.
29. Screwing up career fairs – Here is how a career fair works (coming from a guy hiring at them). I have to find a certain # of people to interview when working the booth. You will give me your resume, and we’ll have a short talk. I’ll scribble down my thoughts on you on the back of your resume after you leave. This 60 second interaction will determine if you get an interview. You don’t have long to be memorable.
30. Pulling all-nighters – This is a huge waste. There is a point of diminishing returns. Get a good night’s sleep because by the wee hours of the night before the test either you know the material or you don’t. Cramming won’t help.
31. Not exercising – Don’t become a fatty. It’s a hard lifestyle to overcome.
32. Wasting time online – I love Chive and Barstool too, but don’t let it become a huge time suck.
33. Not living in a place that will help you succeed – Put yourself in environments where you will be successful. Don’t live in places or with people that get in the way of that goal.
34. Joining the wrong fraternity/sorority or joining too early – The #1 question (by a ton) I get on this site is about people joining the wrong fraternity and now they want to change. It’s possible, but extremely difficult. Don’t screw this one up. I wrote a book – How to Join a Fraternity that helps prevent this from happening (shameless plug #2).
35. Living off campus too soon – I enjoyed the hell out of living on campus. It was a great life experience. I think people don’t get the full experience if they leave campus too soon. Just one guy’s opinion.
36. Partying during the week – You can’t party like a rock star at night and function to your full potential in class the next day. That is why God created weekends.
37. Not using the meal plan you are paying for – Eat the dining hall slop and save money. Not doing so it idiotic.
38. Being an idiot on Facebook – This has been beat to death but it too important not to list.
39. Studying too long – You don’t get extra credit for figuring it out yourself. The objective is to learn the material. Study efficiently. If you can’t figure it out, ask someone. This will save you time that you could be spending learning other material.
40. Getting a job you hate – You are probably like me and have to get a job to make ends meet in school. This struggle will suck now, but will make you stronger in the long-run. Find jobs that are fun. There is no need to suffer. There are fun jobs out there.