Going to college is probably one of the best experiences as a young adult. It is during this time that one begins to explore adulthood, away from parents and guardians. Not only does a higher education enhance your knowledge and skills, but you begin to make decisions that may shape the rest of your life.
Four years seem long when you are a freshman, but it will go by really fast. And before you know it, real-life starts. Know that all that you learn and decide to pursue while in college is not set in stone. Life is impermanent, and it begins once you are making a living for yourself—that is when you genuinely figure out who you are and what you are meant to do in life.
Below are eight essential tips that can help you in the long-term while and after you graduate college.
College Loans Suck!
College loans are a way to pay your intuition, but keep in mind that you will have to pay it off after you graduate with interest. If you have no choice but to get a loan, please take the time to apply for as many scholarships as you can! That way, you won’t have to pay off over $80,000 or more on loans.
You don’t need to declare a major right away.
Many high school students are misled to think that they need to know what their major is when applying for colleges. That is a myth (side note: most people don’t even figure out what they want to do until their thirties). It is better not to know until you are a junior. Take the first two years to figure out what you want to do. It is okay to change your mind multiple times while you figure it out.
Choose a major that is right for you.
You are the creator of your life. You will be the one paying your bills. So, you should be the one choosing the major that is right for you. Not for your parents or any outside influence. This decision is yours and yours only because you have the freedom and will to pick the thing that will make you happy while making a living out of it.
Get to know some of your professors.
Get to know two or more of your professors. Statistics show that over seventy percent of people are hired through networking. I am sure that many of your professors have years of experience and wisdom to share with you as well as potential connections that could help you well in the future!
Internships are important.
The majority of internships are unpaid, but it is something all students should do before graduating. Internships are a proven way to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and experience while establishing meaningful connections. It is also a way to get your foot in the door that can potentially turn into a full-time job or career.
Although it does take extra effort to hold down a job while going to school, you can do it. It is essential to have some work experience. You need something more than a list of internships to include on your resume once you are out in the real world, looking for a job. It impresses employers when college students juggle school and a part-time job. It shows them that you are a responsible, well-rounded candidate.
College is not for everyone.
Not everyone is meant to go to college unless you are becoming a lawyer, a doctor, or a similar profession that needs years of education and practice. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs and authors are not college graduates. Their success comes from their passion, commitment, determination, patience, and hard work—five characteristics that do not require a college degree.
Stay away from Credit Cards!
Be aware of credit cards. Credit card companies tend to target college students. Right around the time you turn eighteen, you start to receive mail and emails, enticing you to become a ‘member.’ Don’t fall for it! Don’t enslave your self to credit card debt, no matter how tempting.
The thing about credit cards is, you must pay each month to keep your credit card accounts in good standing. A minimum payment is calculated based on your credit card balance, which is usually two to three percent. The minimum amount on a credit card is small compared to your overall balance. It’s also recalculated each month. This means that the average credit card balance can take over a decade to repay with minimum payments alone — and you’ll pay hundreds in credit card interest during that time.
Read: 6 Way to Get Rid of Debt
It is okay to make mistakes while in college— that is the natural way to learn and understand yourself as we grow. However, it is essential to be aware of things that can help you now so that you can build a great future after you graduate.