Every person’s college experience is unique. In spite of the frequent Red Bull induced all-nighters, the almost exclusive ramen noodle diet, and the parties I missed (and the many I attended), some of the most valuable lessons I learned in college didn’t come from a lecture or textbook. Rather, they came from experiences, triumphs, failures, and friends. Here are five lessons that I learned in college that I did not learn in the classroom:
College and budgeting go hand in hand. Not only is tuition expensive, but you will also need to pay for your books, school supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses like food, transportation, and once in awhile fun activities. In order to keep up with the monthly bill, many sacrifices were made! I had to work two jobs, and had to sacrifice certain luxuries like eating out, shopping and traveling. My circumstance is not completely unique, in fact, this is a common lifestyle for many working college students. So get comfortable in sweatpants and t-shirts! The crash course in budgeting that college provides helps us young adults prepare for the “real world”, where undoubtedly more bills will be waiting to be paid.
2. Time Management
In college it’s common to have multiple assignments due for different classes at the same time. Without a doubt, you will be busy studying in college, but remember, you also deserve a personal life. One way you can do this is to make a study schedule for yourself for each class for different days of the week. As your doing this, leave one full day for yourself where you are free of studying, preferably a day on the weekend. Use that day each week to hang out with friends, sleep in, or just be lazy. The following day you can go back to studying. If you want to maintain a good study schedule, you also need to maintain your sanity.
Your biggest priority in college is working towards obtaining your degree. With that being said, in order to get closer to that goal, college students must prioritize. If that means cutting down on watching TV or going out with friends in order to put in extra hours studying for a midterm, then so be it. Trust me, the sacrifice will be painful in the beginning, but once you look at your high test score, you will feel so proud of yourself! Prioritizing can be difficult, but your future and GPA depends on it!
To the average young person, the word accountability means “it’s time to start acting like an adult.” Adults must always be responsible for their own actions. As much as they want to crawl back into bed and let mommy and daddy handle all of their problems, responsibility is what students must learn while in college. Whether it is maintaining good grades, keeping up with your study habits, finding ways to earn money, or prioritizing your time, you will have to learn how to take charge of your own life and be accountable for it.
5. Learn Independence
It is common for college students to move out of their parents’ house and go live in a dorm on campus. However, not every students lives on campus. For example, my university gives its students the option to live on campus, in off campus housing, or to commute from home. Regardless if you live on campus or not, you will still have the experience of becoming independent.
If you live on campus, you will be away from your family for most of the year and will gain independence living completely on your own. You will be in charge of when you eat, sleep, study and play. Word of advice: Use that freedom wisely. If you live at home or off campus, you may have to provide your own transportation. Repeatedly, you may have to get a job while you are in college so you can learn to pay for more of your own things or just have extra cash on you. All of these life experiences are ways of gaining independence.
College is all about finding yourself and gaining your independence. It can actually be quite overwhelming sometimes. (Trust me, I know. I’ve been there.) I learned a lot of information in my classes at college, but the big life lessons came when I was least expecting them and it’s for those that I am eternally grateful.