I am graduating from my higher education world next month, and over the past few weeks I have been thinking about the things I wish that I had known when I started college versus what I know now.
1. Know the location of campus vending machines. Now that I don’t have a meal plan anymore, paying for food on campus is extraordinarily painful. I would rather haul back to my apartment than pay $8 for a two pieces of Wonder Bread, a piece of turkey, and chips. However, knowledge of all campus vending machines can be a vital survival tool. You never know when you will need some Skittles.
2. Don’t go to office hours in your pajamas. When you roll up to your professor’s office in your Angry Bird PJ’s, last night’s bed head, and crumbs stuck to your shirt, it says something about you. I know it’s not fair but, that’s how it is. If you brush your hair, wipe off the crumbs, and put on some clean jeans, your professor is probably going to take you a bit more seriously.
3. Find a good nap place. College is the land of no sleep so, trust me when I say that you should scope out a good nap spot for emergency sleeping. Nothing says, “Hey, come mess with me!” (stolen stuff, being scared awake) more than a student sleeping in a high traffic area so, find a comfy chair in the library facing a wall or window and claim a few minutes of shut-eye.
4. Buy an iron and some Febreze. If you are like me, you may not like to pay $3 to wash and dry a load of clothes. You might save said dirty clothes for three weeks until you can go to your parent’s house and use their washer. You might, at some point, be so desperate for clothes that you pull some jeans out of the dirty hamper. You might need said iron and Febreze to smooth the wrinkles and smell like fresh laundry. This is all hypothetical of course.
5. Figure out where the closest doctor’s office is and where you can get prescriptions. This includes asking your parents where your insurance is accepted. Being sick is bad enough as it is so, don’t put yourself in the position where you have to crawl around campus to find the clinic or use your GMaps app to find the nearest Patient First only to discover you have to pay a $100 co-pay.
6. Put a mini stapler in your backpack. You are going to thank me when you forget to staple your twenty page final paper at home and, your professor won’t accept it without a staple. Also, you can make a profit by selling staples to desperate classmates.
7. Get involved in something that you can put on your resume. Whether you join a club, become a research assistant, get a part-time job, or start an internship, this is the time to build work experience. You might even get credit for some positions and will have something to draw on when interviewing.
8. If you go home all the time, try to work your way up to staying at school longer periods of time. It took me almost two years to stay at my school through the weekend but, eventually I built up a homesickness tolerance. You really get much more involved with campus life and friends when you are there on the boring Sunday’s when everyone is lazing around watching TV. That’s when all the good bonding goes on.
What tips would you give college students?