If you’re starting university this fall, you are most likely excited and nervous at the same time—I know I was when I was entering my first year year of college. I couldn’t wait to get started, but I was anxious about the newness of it all. If this sounds familiar, I’m here to tell you what I wish I’d known back then.
You Accumulate a Lot
It doesn’t matter what field your degree is in or whether you want to be a journalist or a paralegal. You’re going to have more stuff at the end of the year than you did when you moved into your dorm. If you’re trying to squeeze it all back into a single room in the family home, you’ll have a heck of a time doing it. Your parents might not be so pleased, either. What took a day and a sedan to move in might need three days a truck to move out, so keep that in mind whenever you buy things for your dorm.
The Campus Bookstore is a Scam
Universities have to make money, after all. It doesn’t help your bank account balance, though. You might not think about it so much if Mom and Dad are footing the bill for textbooks, but you can save money if you buy books from friends or online from Amazon or eBay. Often, you’ll be just fine if you get an edition that’s a little outdated. Plus, book rental services like Chegg offer textbooks for a fraction of the price you’ll get on campus. Some schools will let use electronic versions, so keep an eye out for these. It’s much more convenient.
Take Advantage of Summer
By the time I finished my first year of university, I was ready to head home and party, but a couple of my friends decided to travel. One went on a road trip around the country with her friends, while another earned extra credits by visiting Europe and taking some classes there. It was all set up through our own college, and I regret not joining my friend on his quest. He got to meet knew people, try new foods, see some of the most exciting sights in the world and get credits for it. Even if your school doesn’t offer those programs, organizations like AIFS and CIEE do.
Plan Meals to Save Money
Sure, you can stop by the cafeteria or a coffee shop for every meal and snack, but that will bleed you dry and you won’t have anything left to do fun things. It’s also unhealthy, unless you are meticulous about your food choices. Chances are, you won’t get as many fruits and vegetables in your diet as you should. Plan your meals and do a little grocery shopping. If your dorm doesn’t have a mini fridge, rent one and store your perishables. Just don’t overdo it.