Getting into college is an amazing opportunity, however, there are a couple things that not too many are aware of or prepared for while starting this new chapter in their life.
I have heard many stories myself about the wonders of college and what it has to offer, but as life would have it, not everything comes easy, and, as in most cases, the unexpected can easily turn your good day into a horrible week. Now don’t get me wrong, college can be good in many ways, however it’s also extremely important to know what exactly your getting into before you decide to make any life changing decisions. With that being said, here are 5 things you need to know about before going to college.
1. Have a Meal Plan
If you’re like me, it’s easy to think that buying food on campus is similar to buying lunch in your high school cafeteria. Unfortunately, the reality is a little more complicated then that. Of course, you will be given a variety of choices to what you can purchase instead of the usual meal schedule, however the prices are slightly inflated then what they would normally be. For example, a bag of chips can be $3 instead of $1.50, or a spicy chicken sandwich can be $5 instead of $3. One meal alone can cost you around $10 to $15 daily, and by the end of the week you would more than likely have gone through roughly $50 total, which you could have instead either put towards your graduation bill, or saved for your next semester.
To prevent this problem, simply make your own lunch at home, or perhaps come up with a plan that will determine what you can and can’t spend on campus all together. Frivolously spending so much on food alone just because it’s convenient doesn’t make it worth it, but there would be no harm doing so occasionally, especially if your certain you have the extra cash to afford it.
2. Be Involved
Anyone can obtain a college degree, but having a little extra under your belt will easily help you stand out more when applying for jobs in the future. For instance, the more involved you are with clubs and sports, the more recognition you will receive. Your drive for success will open more doors for you than most realize, not to mention the more connections you have with other people can greatly benefit your future career choices. I highly suggest that you look into possible internships that can accommodate with your class schedule. Much like involving yourself in campus activities, looking for work off campus can be just as effective, if not more.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
It can be difficult to ask for help. No one likes feeling helpless, especially when your in an environment that expects you to perform the best to your abilities. However, college is a place for you to learn about what you don’t know, so if you have trouble understanding something, all you have to do is ask. Through personal experience, it can be a little daunting asking for help in a room full of people, not to mention worrying over the possibility that your question had not only already been answered, but somehow you’re the only one who either didn’t hear it and/or understand it. Thankfully, there are a couple of places colleges have you can go to for help, such as the guidance counselor’s office, the mental health administration and your professor’s office. Help will always be available to you, and all you have to do is ask!
4. Getting Home Sick is Completely Normal
It’s ok to miss family!
Leaving the nest and finally moving into a place you can happily call your own is a very memorable and emotional moment; but of course, after a few days of staying out late with friends and eating tubs ice cream for dinner, it does start to get a little lonely; but don’t worry, that feeling is completely normal! As exciting as it is exploring your independence as an adult, there will always be a part of you attached to the people who raised you. Home is where the heart is after all, and while you might feel lost and uncertain about the choices you’ll make for yourself, your family and loved ones will always be just a phone call away if you ever need them.
5. Always Plan Ahead
Keeping a schedule on hand will prove itself to be very useful in the long run of your college years. With proper planning, you can stay on top of your finances, class schedule, and any important events. This particular tip will definitely come in handy if you ever decide to involve yourself with campus activities! Using a planner can also open up your schedule for more free time, as you could easily reschedule a previous arrangement for another, or perhaps give someone a more accurate time frame as to the next time your available for them.
Fun tip: an amazing thing about planners today is that they don’t exactly have to be all pen and paper, as you can easily set up little reminders here and there on your phone or laptop. Overall, having a good planner can certainly ease the stress and anxiety of wondering what’s due and when, and trust me, the last thing you ever want to do is forget about a project worth half your grade!
At the end of the day, as useful as this information can be, not everyone will understand the importance of keeping themselves steady unless they find themselves stuck in their own social or financial troubles. Yes, being a college student can be difficult, and it’s ok to not know everything, but being prepared will always benefit the outcome of your efforts, and in this case, it will benefit your time and hard-earned money.