College: 7 Jewels for the New Kids

It’s been more than a year since I grabbed the most expensive piece of paper the government has to offer and ran into the world with false hope, unrealistic expectations, and empty pockets. Silly me and my ridiculous sense of entitlement for thinking all I had to do was finish college to land a decent job. WRONG! There are sooo many things I wish I would’ve done while I was a carefree student living off Ramen and those (deeply missed) refund checks. I hope by sharing these tips, I’ll inspire you to make better choices during your undergrad experience.

7. PARTY

Despite being involved with several social circles, I was rarely thrilled about partying. I was definitely the “grandma” of the crew. I had my share of bar-hops and kickbacks, but nothing too serious. I preferred my own company: snuggled in bed, binge-watching Netflix shows, and sipping Moscato (possibly the entire bottle depending on the semester)…After all the 10 page essays, late nights/early mornings, and occasional bouts with insomnia that you will most certainly encounter—you owe it to yourself to get out every once in awhile.

6.  EXPLORE

There is stored potential within all of us. However, if we never explore different interests or stray from the norm- there’s no real way of discovering our buried talents. We should find what we love to do and create our own happiness. The day where one had to wait for the perfect career to come along and provide them with the life they so desired is long gone. Entrepreneurs are born every second of the day. They make their own dreams come true…What’s stopping you?

5. GRANTS/SCHOLARSHIPS

Do you know how much FREE money is laying around waiting to be collected? Too much to let a measly essay or two stand in your way of applying for it. Acquire as many grants and scholarships as you possibly can before and during college. Holding down a job while trying to maintain your academic and social life can prove to be extremely stressful. Don’t be like me—write those papers and get that money!

4. SAVE

Those refund checks (if you’re even fortunate enough to get them) will NOT last forever. I was so used to my grandparents doing everything for me that I didn’t have to worry about this biting me in the butt until after graduation. I’d never really had any responsibilities, so I spent everything. Now, I at least had the common sense to buy my textbooks before deciding to go berserk.

Word of advice: Never go to the bookstore. Aside from the crazy priced books, the school paraphernalia is the absolute devil! There is no such thing as a “clearance” item- trust me. Also, learn how to budget early and cook your own meals. I bought hoodies in every color, ate like the Queen Elizabeth herself, and had enough AliExpress hair to put Diana Ross to shame. It was madness!

3. STUDY

I actually never learned HOW to study before college. In high school, I made A’s and B’s in my sleep. Half the time, I didn’t even know there’d be a test until the previous class period. Cramming was my specialty and so far it worked without any problems. Until I made my first D in college, I thought I had a fool-proof plan: procrastinate until the night before a major quiz/exam, get with some fellow procrastinators and exchange (poor) notes, and skim through them on my way to class the next day. How could I possibly fail? Oh and don’t get me started on SparkNotes and Quizlet!

 

2. NETWORK

I literally can’t emphasize this one enough. You can never be too involved on campus. Do all that you can for as long as you can. Build relationships and seize opportunities. This also includes internships. Sometimes we don’t want to ditch our pride to work for free, but many times—experience can take us further than money. I know you all have heard the saying: It’s not always WHAT you know but WHO you know. It’s such a dated cliche but it still holds some value.

1. PLAN

Graduation will come sooner than you think. Unfortunately, we are usually ill-prepared for life after college. It’s inevitable for most of us (especially those who seemed to barely get by in the first place). Sadly, the Post-Grad Blues is a real thing. Too many of us don’t find jobs, let alone stable careers for quite some time. To make things worse, depression can also come creeping into our lives causing all kinds of unwanted chaos. Applying for opportunities well in advance of your special day could either make a difference or change nothing. This is why it’s so important to have backup plans and an open mind. The world doesn’t owe us diddly squat. We either have to work with the scraps it gives us or learn to grow our own garden.

 

 

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