As classes are approaching for the fall, I thought it would be great to give out key tips about college. I am entering my senior year as an undergrad and have learned quite a bit in my few years. How this idea came about. Well, I had originally gotten together with a group of friends to work on Delaina’s (check previous post to see who Delaina is) YouTube channel, ok_delaina. Check that out by the way as she debuts her first video. As usual, we got way off topic with random things and started to discuss how it is to be in college. Bam! *Cue lightbulb over our heads* We talked and came up with a very extensive list of things to do in college. It was very long so I decided to break it up into three parts.
I decided to start with simple, everyday tips. The basics to survive college.
- Don’t buy NEW textbooks
This is the NUMBER ONE RULE AT ANY COLLEGE. Do not spend hundreds of dollars on a book that you will literally only use once for that one paragraph that your professor feels you really need to know. You probably don’t need to know it. Do not be afraid to email your teacher to ask if you have to use that specific edition. If not, get an older edition as those are usually cheaper. Also, a lot of times professors don’t utilize textbooks the first week of school because they know that not everyone can get the book on time. For the past year and a half I have used the website, thriftbooks.com to get my textbooks. They sell all kinds of books at discounted prices which is great. I have bought older edition books as well as specific edition textbooks needed for that semester. My junior year of college, I spent a total of $45 for my fall semester textbooks. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good, Amen.
- Care Packages are life
This is mainly for family and friends to send to those that will be living in the dorms. Every college has different policies, but I did live in the dorms for two years before moving off campus and our dining hall was buffet styled so we could not bring food back to our rooms. This caused for many nights of ramen noodles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That can get highly repetitive and sad. Not just that, but even though we live in dorms, we still need everyday items like trash bags, laundry detergent, Ziploc bags, etc. A care package does not have to be food only. Also, just because someone moves off campus doesn’t mean that a care package is no longer appreciated. We are still poor college kids, we just have to pay rent now.
- Pack snacks
Depending on your class schedule and dining hall policies, this might be the most important tip of all. If you have class from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., you should probably take some snacks with you to munch on in between class. You will get sick of eating at the dining halls after about a month. This is where care packages can come into play. Parents, friends and family, send snacks. Not just snacks, but individually packaged snacks so us college kids can just throw them into their backpacks and go.
- Make friends
College is a stressful time in life. It can be better and less stressful when you have others to share it with. It is wise to make friends that share the same major as you so you can study together and help each other along the way. There are many organizations to be apart of, so take a leap and join. Take time out to enjoy college, there are many things to do on campus you just have to find out what they are.
- Apply for link
The one thing that I really love about college is that nobody is there to judge you for what you do. I was parked next to a car once that used a red solo cup as the tail light on their car. Genius idea right?! With that being said, don’t be embarrassed to apply for food stamps. You would be surprised at the amount of college kids that I know that qualify to receive food stamps. If somebody wants to judge you, let them. They are paying out of their own pocket every month just to eat. I am not sure if you would qualify for food stamps if you live in the dorms since you do not pay rent, utilities, or things like that but it wouldn’t hurt to try. It is assistance that is there to ASSIST you.
- Do I need to be cute?
A lot of times you can differentiate a freshman from the others on campus by how they dress. The last time I can even remember trying to be cute in class was my freshman year, and it lasted about a good 3 days. After that, it was regular jeans and sweatpants. Or maybe pajama pants. Honestly no one pays attention to what you are wearing. You will see some people either twice a week or three times a week, depending on your schedule. If I can barely remember what I wore myself on any given day, then I can guarantee the guy that sits next to you three times a week doesn’t remember either. Some people have the energy to wear makeup and heels to class, that is awesome. But if you are not that person, do not try to be.
- DORM RULE: KEEP TOILET PAPER ON DECK
This is strictly for those living in the dorms who will have a roommates and/or suitemates. A suitemate is someone that you do not share a room with but share other areas with. For me, our dorms were situated so there were two rooms connected by a single bathroom. So there were two people to a room but four people total to a bathroom. Tragic. Simply tragic. If you can, get to know your suitemates and be friends. Work out schedules so you all aren’t rushing to get ready if you have similar class times. Not everyone wants to share their toilet paper. That is fine. Learn your suitemates and always keep at least 3 rolls of toilet paper in your dorm room at all times.
- Opt out of health insurance
This one is very important and can save you quite a bit of many every year. Many of us do not worry about health insurance as we are under our parents’ plan. If you are not, then ignore this tip so that you can be apart of your school’s health insurance that is offered. If you are with your parent’s plan, then remember to opt out of the school health insurance so you are not paying for insurance that you do not need. I have to do so every year, but it takes about $600 off my bursar bill which is great so it is worth it.
- Get an on campus job
There are down sides to working on campus. You make minimum wage and you cannot work over 20 hours each week. That doesn’t allow for a huge wage to survive on, but if you live in the dorms it could be extra income. Now if you do not have to work, then don’t. It is added stress that many college students take on because they need to not because they want to. But on campus jobs are easier than off campus jobs. For one, they make sure that your school work comes first so they always work around your varying schedule every semester. Working 20 hours a week can be a plus at times as any other job will have you working a lot more and not care about your classes. Side note added in from my lovely sister, Delaina, who works two jobs on campus . She made me aware that regardless of having two jobs, your total hours worked cannot exceed 20 hours a week.
- Find your niche
Find what you like to do. You have to learn to make the best of your new surroundings. Living in the dorms, it will be better to make friends and not to isolate yourself. Finding what it is you can do well, whether it be to knit or do hair, can help to make friends while also making a side income. I found that my niche is making and selling body butters and soon body scrubs. I find it quite relaxing while also making some extra money on the side.
That is all.
That is all that I have on college life for now. College life: Part Two will debut next week so please comment on any tips that you find would help those entering into college.