They say your college years are your selfish years where you should focus on building yourself and your future career.
Through all the malnourished meals, missed 8 A.M.’s and questionable life decisions, most of us eventually make it through.
Attending a community college as well as a four year university and finishing college in 5 years versus the traditional 4 has allowed me to maximize my experience as much as possible.
I love giving advice, so I’m sharing the top 10 things I did right as a college student.
1. Living in a house
Try not to spit out whatever is in your mouth right now after you read this, but I paid $250 a month living in a house my final year of college. I know, crazy right??
I do have to admit that I went to school in Iowa, so the cost of living was affordable.
In my experience, I found that choosing to rent a room in a house is much cheaper than renting an apartment.
I remember my freshman year when I went to school in Austin, Texas I was living in a private dorm and my roommate and I were each paying between $700-$800 to sleep less than 2 feet away from each other in a room that I swear made us feel we were in a 8×8 box.
Renting an apartment depending on the amount of rooms typically starts around $500 a month and you’re stuck with less than a 1,000 square feet.
If you’re looking to save some money, you should definitely consider looking into living in a house. You’ll get more space to lay around and store your belongings.
Plus, a lot of the times old tenants leave furniture behind if they’re graduating so it’s a win-win for you.
2. Pot-lucking my freshman year roommate
You always hear about people having freshman year roommate horror stories, but you shouldn’t let the fear of getting a psycho roommate defer you from pot-lucking.
In my experience, my roommate and I were super comfortable with each other and cooler than the other side of the pillow (shout out to you if you know what show I’m referencing) most of the time.
It was such a wild experience going to school in a big city compared to a small town for so many reasons.
Let’s just say that we accumulated a handful of stories that are pretty crazy you wouldn’t believe are true.
She was from a small town and I was from a suburb outside the city so we had different upbringings, but have similar interests so we were able to grow and learn so much from each other during that time.
The best case scenario is that you’ll meet your best friend for life, you never know who you might meet so why not take that chance?
You can always move out or get a new roommate if things aren’t working out.
3. Living walking distance from a grocery store
Since I went to school out of state, it wasn’t logical for me to drive 14+ hours just to have a car, so I had to think twice about where to live off campus.
It’s not a nice feeling to have to rely on people for a ride just to go pick up a few things, so living walking distance from a grocery store was a must for me.
Not only do you get to run errands on your own time, but you get some exercise in without having to disrupt your busy college student schedule.
The greatest perk is definitely the fact that you can quickly run to the store if you forget something for a meal your whipping up or run out of chasers.
4. Taking prerequisites at a community college
If you haven’t caught on, I went to school in Austin, Texas before transferring to Ames, Iowa and since I knew I wanted to major in business, I was able to take general business courses that transferred for half the price.
The atmosphere was nice and the class sizes were small so it was an easy transition when moving away from home for the first time.
Even if you don’t know what you want to study you can still take course to fulfill other graduation requirements for subjects such as science, history and diversity depending on what university you’re aiming to transfer to.
5. Being single
To be honest, one of the best things I did for myself as a college student was not committing to relationship until my senior year.
Your college years are meant for personal growth and discovering yourself so it would be a shame to look back and wish that you had done things differently.
Being single allowed me to go out with my friends whenever I wanted, meet everyone and anyone, and make decisions for myself without having to think about someone else.
6. Holding a membership position
Let’s be honest, nobody cares about all the things you did in high school once you enter college so it’s important to get new material for your resume.
Colleges are flooded with leadership opportunities to fit your preferences whether it be within the Greek community, student housing, student government, or other various student organizations.
During my junior year, I was Co-Director of Multicultural Awareness on the Student Union Board and while it was fun, I learned that leadership/event planning was not what I wanted to in the future.
Despite that, I was exposed to so many cool opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise such as meeting Workoholic’s Adam Devine, Carly Aquilino from Girl Code, and the music artist Blackbear and David Koechner.
7. Adding a minor
With all the money student pay to get an education now-a-days it would be dumb not to get more for your money and add a minor or two, plus a minor typically take only take 15 credits to fulfill.
Minors help you supplement your major and has the potential to make you stand out among all the other post-grads fighting for a job after graduating.
In addition, minors allow you to take other courses in topics you’re interested in without the risk of getting a major that may be difficult to sustain after college.
A good example would be getting a minor in English versus majoring in English.
No shame, but we’ve all heard stories about people getting certain degrees and not being able to find employment after graduating.
8. Living in a new place every school year
Since my freshman year, I moved to a different place every school year. From a private dorm, to a campus apartment, to a house and then another house.
Moving every year allowed me to move forward and have a fresh start and space to create new memories with new roommates.
While this might sound like a lot, all leases come to an end so might as well live somewhere new. Plus, it’s always fun to decorate a new place.
9. Going to school out of state
I understand that this isn’t logical for everyone due to the rising cost of tuition, but it was definitely worth it for me.
If you didn’t know already, I’m from Texas and went to school in Iowa which was the complete opposite of what I was used to.
Moving out of state for college forces you to get out of your comfort zone because chances are you aren’t going to know anybody.
You basically get a clean slate and are able to meet new entirely new people who know nothing about you.
I can honestly say that I didn’t know a single person when I moved to Iowa, which felt pretty liberating.
Not to mention that it was the first time I was living somewhere with cold winters.
10. Working a campus job
Saving the best for last, because I would 100% recommend anyone to get an on campus job while attending university.
On-campus jobs are great, because they work around your class schedule, you don’t have to work weekends, the commute is easy, and the pay is typically more than minimum wage.
During my undergraduate, I worked as a psychology assistant where I coded videos for $11 an hour with no supervision, sounds like the dream job for an undergraduate right?
In addition, I’ve worked as a genetics lab assistant and a soybean lab assistant which were both pretty interesting jobs for someone whose not in the science field.
My final year I worked as an office assistant for the Math Department and while I had a few projects to do every now and then, I was able to do my homework while I was at work and got off at 5 p.m. without having to work weekends because the offices were closed.
Since I didn’t a car, these positions for perfect for me, because I could go from class straight to work within less than 10 minutes.
Check the student job board at your university to see what position are open, because the perks are too good to pass up.
It was really fun for me to compile this list of the 10 things I did right as a college student and I hope my experience helps you during this exciting phase in your life.
Do you know any recent high school graduates or current students? Be sure to send them this article, because they are definitely things I wish I knew before attending college.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!