Ah! It’s that time of the year again. With college right around the corner for a lot of us, it’s important to enter the new year fresh and ready to hit the books. Whether you’re new to the college lifestyle or just about to graduate, here are a few important tips that can help keep you awake, manage your social & school life, and help you avoid bad decisions.
#4: Keep in Touch with Family
College provides a golden opportunity to branch out, meet new people, and grow up. Just because you’re in the adult world doesn’t mean you should cut ties with your parents, though. Chances are you’re still going to need them for emotional support, the occasional home cooked meal, and free laundry services. Sure, they may be overbearing and annoying. When college life is getting you down, however, a phone call or Skype session with the family can make things all better. If you’re not already equipped, you may want to consider this tablet or this laptop as good portable options both compatible with Skype to keep in touch with the people who matter.
In college, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and maybe the occasional catnap. When presented with a full plate, however, sometimes you’ll have to cut your eight hours of rest short. This is where caffeine enters into the mix. Whether you’re staying up late to complete a term paper or waking up early for a class, a nice cup of Joe is guaranteed to keep you alert and energized. Granted, Starbucks and other coffee chains are bound to charge you a bundle for that measly espresso. There are a ton of very capable home coffee machines now that are a cheaper long term alternative. I personally recommend this or even this as the mercedes of coffee machines.
#2: Cook Simple Meals
When you’re living on campus, the dining hall will likely be your primary source of something resembling food. Eating pizza and burgers every day is tempting, but that’s the fast track to the dreaded and all too real Freshman Fifteen. Besides, you’re going to be in too much of a rush to eat a big feast. Rather than gorging on fries and the bowl of French dressing and carrots you jokingly call a salad, fix yourself up a quick, simple meal. Pro tip: Pick up a slow-cooker/crock pot. It will change your cooking life and you’ll thank us over your delicious 8 hour slow cooked beef stew.
#1: Budget Your Money
You thought books were expensive? Just wait until you see the bill for your tuition. Here’s a tip: try to apply for any scholarships and financial aid you could be eligible for. You can also take out a student loan. Just be prepared to spend the rest of your life paying it off. Even if your parents put aside a nice college fund for you, you’ll still need enough cash leftover for food and housing. Budget your money well and don’t overspend on luxuries. I strongly recommend using tools to help you budget and stay accountable for your cashflow. Check out Mint or the YNAB smartphone applications to track your spending or pick up a simple budget workbook to manually track your expenses.