Being a Senior in College, there are things I wish I knew before I had even clicked the dreadful submit button on the application. There are decisions that I would like to have made during freshmen year and foreknowledge that would have helped any student to better prepare for the days after graduation. So I compiled a list of 30 things a student should know before leaving mom and dad for College. Items in bold are the ones I found to be the most important.
- Start putting some cash away in a emergency fund for rainy days.
- Learn to Cook nutritious meals that do NOT consist of pasta.
- Form an exercise plan and get into a routine.
- Learn to wash clothes!
- Learn some basic car maintenance such as checking tire pressure and oil level.
- Go to a school that YOU want to go to, not your parents, or your friends.
- Student Loans: STAY AWAY IF POSSIBLE. If you can’t afford college, try to fill out scholarship applications, financial aid, and perhaps even get a part time job. It’s easier to pay for your education as you g,o rather than paying off a $40,000+ bill accruing interest.
- If you can, choose your roommates VERY CAREFULLY! Living with someone that are incompatible with your personality/habits might not seem like a problem at first, but it can ruin friendships/relationships, and cause a lot of stress.
- Always carry some cash. I always try to keep $10-$20 dollars with me at all times. It can really come in handy if you need to grab a cab at 2am or get some quick grub from mike in the hotdog stand.
- Pepper spray. You don’t have to be a girl to carry some spray. Most college campuses allow Pepper spray to be carried for self-defense. There are a lot of creepers that roam campus specifically because they know young students are more oblivious to their surroundings around campus coupled with the fact that campus P.D. isn’t always around. A simple “I have Pepper Spray and will use it. Stay away from me.” is enough to deter most would-be assailants.
- Befriend your professors during office hours. College professors typically devote more time to being around school grounds than your High School pre-calculus teacher. If you have any difficulty, they will usually spend hours with you to help you get through the course.
- Join a club as a freshman. In doing so, you get exposed to new people that can teach you the ropes and make some friends.
- Live on Campus if possible. It will be cheaper than paying rent + utilities elsewhere and you are constantly around other students.
- Pick a hobby not related to school. Sometimes you will want to get as far away as possible from school, so it helps to have some disassociation between the things you enjoy and school.
- You are human, so give yourself a brake once in a while. Go to the beach, golfing, etc..
- Choose your major based on what you want to do rather than the expectations of your peers.
- Simultaneously do an internship or community service based around what you want to do. This will open up doors when you graduate and will also help meet some cool people who share the same interests as you.
- Call mom and dad at least once a week. They raised you for 18 years, the least you can do is give them some comfort in knowing you are alive. Plus, mom may send you a fully cooked lasagna once in a while.
- Be responsible with alcohol. Peer pressure drives a large amount underage teenagers to consume unnecessary amounts of alcohol to fit in. This in consequence promotes rash decisions such as driving under the influence.
- You are a child with little to no experience about life, and need to recognize this. You have no tolerance for alcohol, and you have no experience to assess the consequences resulting from your actions. So take it easy.
- Learn to manage your money, because the world is full of schemes to take it away from you.
- School may or may not be your thing, but it is important to maintain an attitude of being a life long learner.
- Do NOT get a pet (a fish is OK) . The idea may seem cool at first, but quickly you realize that you will be neglecting your pet due to your studying and social habits.
- Travel as much as possible. Unless you expect to end up working for a big international corporation that requires constant travel, you will find your self strapped for time to travel to new places.
- Related to the previous point, learn a new language. Most Colleges have study abroad programs with scholarships that cover your tuition costs and more.
- Be sure that going to College is something you want to do in the first place. It’s at least 2-3 years of your life that does not guarantee you will get a job. Some companies such as Google, value your experience a lot more than the paper you hang on your wall.
- There is nothing wrong with going to Community College for a year or two.
- Avoid Technical schools like the plague. Technical schools sound good in the TV commercial which usually shows a student with a 25-30 thousand dollar car in the background, but the truth is that credit hours are usually non-transferable to accredited Universities, and they may actually cost thousands MORE in a place like ITTTech.
- Free Food everywhere!!! If you are tight on a budget, keep an eye out for school events as they will usually be accompanied by free Subs,Pizza and etc..
- Enjoy your experience to the fullest. This is a point in your life where you have a kind of freedom that is associated with “youth.” You have all your life to go to bars and hang with friends, so why not go hiking, skydiving, or even mountain climbing while your limbs still work without needing Advil twice a day!
“Youth is wasted on the young.” George Bernard Shaw
Education is more than just a degree, learning is more than an action, it is a state of mind. Remember to always be open to new things and to not take things at face value.
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Have any tips we didn’t cover that could be useful for new students? leave us a comment down below.