Monday, July 11, 2016

Dive In! Going Away To College

Soon it will be move-in day at colleges across the country. Here are some tips gleaned from people who have been through it:

  • You will not need three sets of sheets, fancy dress up clothes, or 12 pairs of jeans.
  • You will, however, need quarters to do laundry, snacks, paper for a printer, some form of alarm clock,and a watch. Yes, you may be able to use your phone for these...but phones get lost and run out of battery. 
  • If you put reminders on your phone, don't forget to check it!!
  • Many dorms are not air conditioned. A small fan could be a 'life saver.'   
  • Did I mention the need for snacks?
  • Instead of rooming with a friend you've known since elementary school, consider a 'random roommate.' (assigned by the college). You will probably find a lot in common with him or her, and develop a great and possibly lifetime friendship.
  • Call your roommate before move-in day and compare notes: no sense in both of you bringing the same items, such as a small refrigerator or TV. The college will send you your roommate information 2-3 weeks before the semester starts.
        *out of consideration for your roommate, at least keep your part of the dorm neat

  • Join something on campus. Maybe three somethings. You will meet people, you will hear about activities, and you will often score free food.
  • Avoid paying the price for new books. Seek out used instead, making sure they are exactly the books you need (they have to have the same ISBN number, above the bar code on the cover). The campus bookstore will have some used books for sale, as will other students. See if there's a 'local' online posting for books or a bulletin board on campus with used books for sale.  

  • Do you use a 'swipie card' at the ATM for cash? Make sure it will work in your new location, without any fees. You might need to open a local bank account in your new place.
  • Once you are on campus, credit card companies will invite you many times to sign up for a credit card. Don't do it! If you get into debt, your parents do NOT have to bail you out!
  • Be prepared to have no money for at least the duration of your college years. By that I mean: no money. On the plus side, nobody else has any, either.

  • You probably do not need to bring a printer for your computer; there are plenty of printers you can use on campus. You will probably need to provide the paper, though. 
  • At the beginning and end of each semester, there is a virtual furniture store of items left behind by people who can't fit items into their dorms or don't want them anymore: watch for something left at the curb that you can use---free! (A good idea for furnishing your apartment afterwards, too!)
  • Ask someone for directions when you need them. This is not high school: Upperclassmen are very willing to help you out. They haven't yet forgotten what it's like to feel new and stupid.

  • Participate in your classes. Be engaged in the conversation. If you disagree, say so.
  • If you are struggling in a class, speak up for yourself. Seek out tutoring.
  • It's not likely, but if you have problems with a roommate that you can't seem to work out, speak up early, before it gets much worse and affects your life/schoolwork/motivation. Start by asking a resident advisor. In the end, you are both paying for the dorm, and both should be able to enjoy it.
   We interrupt this blog for an important money saving item:

                          Cars at College.........

(1) if you don't really need a car on campus, then don't have one there. You'll save on gas, parking, and maintenance emergencies when you're completely broke. If it's parked and not in use, call your insurance agent and see about dropping all insurance except comprehensive. More money saved-no gas to buy, no way you can get a ticket, and no scraping your windows in the winter!

                   and-the next one can really save you $$$..

 (2) If you feel you need a car while away at college, call and ask your insurance agent whether you get a break on the premium because you are not driving around in a large metro area anymore. Did you know that? It's worth checking out. You may save $5-$10 a month on your insurance premium.
  • Consider buying or making a huge calendar and writing out all dates of tests and projects.  Refer to it daily and budget your study time depending on what's happening.

  • If you are having any health issues, whether it's a physical problem or depression, seek out some help. The campus clinic will be a good start.
  • Instead of running home every weekend, stay on campus and see what's going on.
  • Think of your campus as your new home town, at least for the school year. Get to know it, and see about participating in the community. Maybe you'd like to help register voters. Maybe you could become a Big Sister or Big Brother. You might volunteer at an animal shelter.
  • When you are out at night, always go with a buddy. Tell at least one person your plans.
  • Let your family know what you're doing from time to time-not just when you need cash. They want to know!

Enjoy your new surroundings! Dive in!

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