There’s no denying that college is difficult. The work-load is triple than in high school, you meet all kinds of people, you’ve got so much more to balance. Sometimes it can all get a little overwhelming. That’s why we rounded up ten things every college student should know, from day one to the very end.
Learn the safety hazards
It is so crucial to your overall well-being that you learn about areas on and off campus that you should totally avoid. Check with local police or campus security. I know, we sound like an over-bearing mother but your security is a serious matter. No one but you can ultimately protect you and there is no shame in playing it safe.
Store emergency numbers in your cellphone and post them in your dorm room too. And always, no matter what, carry identification with you. Better safe than sorry couldn’t be more true here.
There’s really only three rules here – don’t buy textbooks too early, save yourself money by buying and selling textbooks online, and buy used books at the campus bookstore. Here’s the kicker, some schools will say that you are absolutely required to buy every single assigned textbook every semester but guess what, you aren’t getting your money’s worth if you do that. Students and professors are not one and the same. If at all possible, talk to previous students who took the course you’re taking, ask them if the textbook is needed and then decide if you’re going to spend your money on one or not. Also, don’t ever buy new books, especially not from the campus bookstore. Stick to used books at every chance possible. Plus, if you buy books online and then sell them back online, it’s a total win-win situation.
Professors are not the enemy
I mean, how dare we! Professors are evil. Well actually, they’re not. They are there to educate you, to help you develop so you can go out and conquer the world. Talk to your professors, ask them questions, tell them about yourself, visit them during office hours (not many students actually do that), and make sure professors know your name. They’ll see that you’re trying and your hard work will pay off. They will be more willing to help you out and you never know, they could be a great reference later on.
No major? No worries
Don’t stress so much if you’re undecided, as a freshman or otherwise. Most college students change their major at least once! You are not locked in by your major, even if you chose it your freshman year, it doesn’t matter. Your freshman year is a time to explore, take classes in subjects you never even considered or have ever studied before. College is an open book, a place to develop and discover. So don’t get hung up on choosing a major, just focus on yourself and your own happiness. You are not doomed to a life of plumbing services (but that’s not a bad thing, they make good money).
Get involved in campus life
This one is a no-brainer. Your social activity is a massive part of your overall college experience. It’s so important to get involved on campus in clubs, organizations, or athletics so that you can meet new people and even create friendships that will last for years to come. You’ve got to enjoy yourself and the people you’re with, it’s all about the people you’ll meet, the experiences, and the memories you will make. That’s what makes college so special. It helps you grow as a person and you never forget a moment (unless you blacked out).
Take a chance and study abroad
Studying abroad is an invigorating experience, there’s nothing like it. Immersing yourself into a new culture, the foods, the people, there is something special tied to that and it never leaves you. Getting to throw yourself into a new language, witnessing a new culture while you’re in it, tasting new music, theater, art, and nightlife is so magical. This just helps to bring the classroom to life and your life changes for the better.
Advisor’s are important resources
Advisors’ are there to help you with so much, from scheduling to guidance to course selection questions you may have. You don’t have to figure things out on your own, that’s what an advisor is for.
Balance work and play
You probably have a heavy academic schedule, extracurricular’s, a job, and a social life – all of that combined is very challenging. You can’t spread yourself too thin though otherwise you’ll burn out pretty quick. Be sure not to take on too many classes, just an amount you feel comfortable with, and if you have to work, get a part-time job working just a few flexible hours a week. Jobs on campus are a great tool to achieve all this. You especially can’t forget that you need to rest, relax and socialize on top of all that so take care of yourself otherwise you’ll crash and burn.
Get an internship
If you think internships are a waste of time, think again. Right now, job recruiters look for a candidate with practical experience, it’s not about just having a degree. It’s about experience. Internships provide you with practical, real-world experience, plus you’re networking (meeting new people who know people who can one day really help you). Besides, you never know, you may even receive a job offer from the company you interned with before you even graduate.
Keeping and sticking a simple monthly budget will help you to manage your money so that you don’t overspend and it makes paying bills much easier. We aren’t saying you can’t spend money on fun things like movies, fast food, mini golf, what have you. But you should allow yourself a weekly allowance for such things and stick to that. Also, don’t ever use your credit card for entertainment purposes, only use it in the case of an emergency – the last thing you want is to have credit card debt. Stick to your budget and remember the little things do add up fast but managing your money the right way will help to keep you out of debt, as much as possible.