It’s really crazy to think that on September 7th, I’ll be starting my senior year of college…where does the time go? I feel like just yesterday I was a freshman in high school. Since I will be finishing my degree over the next year, I thought I would write a blog post about things I wish I knew before college or things I wish I had done differently. I hope it helps you out if you’re in college now or if you are going to be a freshman in the fall!
School comes first.
This should be a given, but I feel like for some people it’s not. You’re paying to attend school, so that means you should go to your classes! I know that waking up at 8 AM absolutely sucks, but failing a course (that you paid for!) sucks even more. I’ve definitely had my share of skipping classes to nap or hang out with friends, but for some of my courses, I wish I hadn’t. You may not think that skipping a class here or there will affect you, but it can. Study before you go out with friends. Finish your homework before you go to work. Make school your priority.
Don’t spend all of your money on food.
I’ve lived on campus and I’ve also commuted and I’ve noticed that doing both has made me spend a lot of money on food. Whether it be a breakfast sandwich on my way to class or ordering a pizza for myself just cause, it adds up. If you have a meal plan at the dining hall – use it! I had the unlimited plan so I could go in multiple times for lunch or dinner, which worked out for me. I suggest doing unlimited (although it costs more) so you don’t accidentally run out of meals before the end of the week (my school offered other meal plans, ex. 15 meals per week, 3 per day for 5 days, or however many days you split it between). I definitely wish I went to the dining hall more (even though the food wasn’t that great) so I could have had more money in my pocket. If you’re a commuter, bring food with you. No one is going to judge you for carrying around a lunch box – you’re being smart and not spending extra money.
College is so much different than high school. College doesn’t have cliques and everyone is there for the same reasons – to further their education and to make friends. I found it so much easier to make friends in college than I did in high school. I was worried that college was going to be worse and that people weren’t going to like me or they were going to judge me – I was totally wrong! I have made so many friends by just being myself and starting conversations with strangers. Don’t let other people sway you, stay true to yourself and you’ll be so much happier.
Save your money.
Trying to keep a job while you’re a full-time student is pretty hard, it’s also hard to keep your money in your pocket. Be aware of your spending and create a weekly budget if you have to. You never know when you’ll actually have to buy the textbook that your professor had on the syllabus and that would be a bad time to have an empty wallet, right? I like to use Swagbucks to earn some extra money. You can earn Swagbucks and redeem them for gift cards or Paypal credit, which can be quite handy! I also like to use Dealspotr to find the best coupons and deals, you can even earn points from validating or reposting deals which you can also redeem for Amazon gift cards. Putting away $50 a week (if you can afford it) is a good option too, you never know when you’ll need to dip into your savings account!
Review your financial aid.
Does anyone else find the word “financial aid” scary? Maybe it’s just me, but I do get worried thinking about my student debt and having to pay it off in the future. As a student, you have the option to accept or decline financial aid awards from your college, which also includes certain loans. Make sure that you are aware of what loans are being offered to you and the interest rate on them. You can also pay the interest on your loans while still in school, to help avoid super large loans when you graduate (if you can afford to do this, I do recommend it!) Interest rates can be anywhere from 2.7% to 7% and above. Check out Earnest if you’re interested in refinancing your student loans! Refinancing can get you a lower interest rate.
I hope you enjoyed the post! What’s one thing you knew before starting college? Let me know!
Thanks so much for reading, as always <3
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