Are you in college? How’s it going? I’m asking because I walk by a college every single day on my way to work and seeing those students makes me think about my days in college. It wasn’t too long ago that I was waking up, going to classes and pursuing a higher education. So here’s my question, did you do college right?
I enjoyed my four years as a college student, but I definitely didn’t make the most of it. I graduated with a college degree and landed a full time job right after graduation. So I should be happy right? I am, but at the same time I wish I did a few other things – other than just graduate – while in college.
Travel whenever you can
This is the one thing I never did in college, partially because I couldn’t afford it and partially because I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity. One of my economics classes went on a two week trip to China and I didn’t go, I didn’t even consider it. I also wish I did a semester abroad in a fabulous place like Spain or Portugal. I only started travelling in my 30s and I have a lot of making up to do.
Get a credit card with a low limit
Despite my past credit card troubles I still recommend college students to get a credit card. Apply for a student credit card with a low limit and using it wisely helps establish your credit history.
This includes spending within a limit you can afford to pay off and under no circumstances should you accept a credit limit increase. Higher limits mean more temptation to spend and you don’t want to graduate with student loans and credit card debt. That’s not a good way to start your life.
You should also be actively looking for ways to save money to keep not only your credit card spending low, but your overall spending. Ways to do this are places like Frugaa.com where you can get discount codes, making a written budget, and planing ahead.
Work part time to gain experience
I found that there are two extremes in college, students – like me – who had to work for everything and then there are those who don’t have to work at all. I think there should be a happy medium. Working part time during college gives students real life work experience and at the same time lets them focus on getting good grades. It’s hard to dedicate the majority of your time to school when you have to work full time.
My grades definitely suffered because I had to work full time during college, but that was my choice. I could have gone to a local college and lived at home, but I chose to move 800 miles away and try life on my own. Working full time also guaranteed I had a job after graduation, but it left very little time to enjoy my college life.
Learn about budgets
Getting good grades, graduating with a diploma and finding a full time job are only part of the college experience. The other part is learning how to manage money. What good is a full time job after graduation if you can’t properly manage your money and end up getting into debt.
It’s a good idea for all students, regardless of your major, to take a basic finance class to learn about budgeting and managing money. It’s also a good idea to establish a relationship with your bank during college so they can help you set a budget and manage your money as you graduate from being a broke student and start earning a full time income in the real world.
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