It’s official. I am now a rising sophomore in college – where did the time go? I ended my freshmen year with a pretty low average G.P.A but I made it to the finish line! LOL. Here’s some tips that may help you along the way of your freshmen year that DEFINITELY would’ve helped me – academically, and financially – if only I had listened to the people that tried to give the advice to me.
1. Don’t Spend All Your Money The Summer Before School or on Buying Clothes/Dorm “Essentials.”
It will be very tempting to spend all of your money at grad week (I spent $500 in one week) not realizing that you now have adult responsibilities you have to handle. Put 75% of your graduation money away for much needed expenses that will later occur in the Fall. Also, everything that is listed on the “What To Bring” flyer is not needed. Honestly, you will not need 80% of those items. Only spend your money on what you really need. Trust me, I ended up buying an $80 rug that was not needed – and then my roommate flooded the room, so my poor rug took the hit for that one 😦
2. Financial Aid & Dreaded Loans
As many of you know if you’ve read my other article talking about financial aid and loans, I received a year worth of scholarships that covered all of my educational costs. However, plenty of people didn’t experience that great fortune. IF you have to get loans – which many will have to – only get the needed amount! I have friends that took out all of their loans and didn’t realize nor care about future consequences. I even had friends that were buying tv’s for their family, paying water and light bills back home for months, making down payments on cars, eating out everyday, 3x a day! A lot of people don’t realize that outstanding student loans can mess up your credit if unpaid – which can affect getting a job – can affect you getting a house, can affect you getting a car, etc. Also, if all of your loans are covered by the ones offered from the federal government… take those! Those are usually cheaper over time, interest paid until graduation, the best deals, and no hidden gimmicks.
3. School First, Partying Last
A saying as old as dirt, yet few actually follow it. I actually didn’t do any partying my entire freshmen year – bummer I know – but it wasn’t because I was studying, it was because I was sleeping! I use to not go to class for days because I’d be sleep until 3:45 in the afternoon. College is stressful and without time management, it will seem like a tough load to manage and will overwhelm you. In highschool you have your parents to worry about you making it to school and getting you there everyday. In college you have ABSOLUTE freedom. You don’t have to do anything but fail – except his time you’re actually paying to do it. First, cut out all distractions and study. I honestly reccomend studying 3 hours a day for every course. Yes, when my professors told me that I did the same thing you’re probably doing right now – thinking that this person is crazy for reccomending this! But it’s a good technique. College exams are different from highschool tests. College exams may cover things that wasn’t even taught in class, while highschool the work is spoonfed to you with a test review. Second, AFTER PASSING YOUR EXAMS OF COURSE, party your a** off! I never said don’t have fun in college. Unless you’re a super senior, you only get to experience college for 4-5 years and then it’s over. Plus the extra connections won’t hurt – remember networking is key!
This is something that I unfortunately know little about. I went to a college that a good friend of mine was also planning to attend. Therefore, I didn’t actively go out and make friends or connections. I hung out with her and that’s it. While others were out clubbing, in organizations, etc. – I was either sleep or hanging out with her. I cannot emphasize enough how important connections are! Connections can take you a long way well beyond college. For those who are thinking about “going greek” definitely need connections. Also, scholarships that are only available to students by professors nominating them are essential to one thing… Yes, you guessed it, networking!