I began college about ten years ago, and man, have things changed. My college experiences definitely was not normal, and I am thankful for that. I think we all wish we could turn back time *cue Cher*, and tell our younger selves some truths. So, let’s take it back over the past ten years, share some facts to my younger self, and some that may help you if you are going through college, or about to go. Who knows, these may just be useful in every day life too!
Once upon a time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
Yeah, I know, a freshman who doesn’t know what they want to do…shocking! I was an athlete in high school, and I somehow did not plan on anything past that. As a freshman, I somehow decided I wanted to do psychology, and yes, I am still asking myself what on Earth I was thinking. I eventually found my way to the business side of the college world. I finally decided that I wanted to do something focused around business, and yes, we were all thankful for me deciding something.
What this all boils down to is that I wish I had planned on what I wanted to do. I wish I had thought about what industries interested me. Would this have saved me a ton in student loans? You better believe it. It would have also saved me a lot of time switching majors, taking classes I didn’t need, and a lot of hours crying over textbooks. Plus, you are able to prepare for your program before you ever get there!
Sometimes I need to thank myself for some things….
Seriously, the best choice I have made in my life, not only college, is not drinking. I never thought that underage drinking was cool or fun, and I still do not think that today. Call me a grandma, it does not bother me. Not only did this save me money, some situations where I probably did not want to be in, but it kept me in pretty good shape as well. I did drink after I turned twenty-four, so I kept up with it pretty long. Having friends and family still in college, drinking definitely makes an impact on not only your personality, but also your performance.
One thing I will say is that if you choose to do this, please be responsible about it. College is expensive enough, you definitely don’t need to pile any sort of legal fees on top of that. You can join some clubs, get a part time job, or just study, anything that keeps you out of trouble is always the best option. That party may be fun, but in my history, most parties are boring, the line to the bathroom is crazy long, and you will see your ex boyfriend from two years ago. Stay home!
College is honestly about finding yourself, seriously.
I mean, it is mostly about your education. So don’t use this to explain to your parents that you were too busy finding yourself to pass your 8am. If you can find who you truly are along the way to that degree, then do it. College is great because most often, we are placed in a totally unfamiliar area. New friends, no one knows where Target is, and you might have to pretend like you know how to do your own laundry. Make friends with anyone that you can, sign up for that elective, seriously, just try things out. It is the best time, everyone is messing up right now.
College has a lot of heartbreak. From failing exams to that really cute guy never texting you back, times can get hard. I was lucky enough to make some unexpected friends while I was in college, and my only regret is I had wish I met them earlier. Join study groups! They help you pass that impossible managerial accounting class, and you will get some of your best friends/roommates out of it, or at least that happened for me. College may be scary, but it is a lot less intimidating when you’re not alone.
Are student loans that scary? Let me give you some piece of mind!
The average student has a loan debt of over $30,000. I know, I choked on my tea as well. If you haven’t checked out my previous post on how to get (and keep) your finances in order, then read that post after this one! As scary as that number is, there is a resource that you can use to refinance your student loans with a much kinder interest rate.
Earnest allows you to not only get a rate for you consolidation, but they can save you quite a bit of money along the way. It saves students an average of $21,810 once they use this service, and is flexible with your payment options. Miss a payment? Just make it up! Make your minimum monthly payment fit in with your budget, and you can consolidate your private and federal loans as well. Pretty sweet if you ask me! Learn more about refinancing with Earnest here.
Some extra things I wish I knew…
- Don’t sign up for that 8am class, you know you are not going to go!
- Talk to your advisor, she has seen people worse off than you.
- Invest in Naked juices when you go to Costco. They start adding up at the store by your class.
- Do not buy the book until your first day.
- In the same vein, don’t buy that book new!
- A lot of people do not graduate in four years, and that is fine, you will survive.
- Don’t take out more student loans than you need, interest is a real pain.
*these links are for your benefit, and I receive no compensation from them*