1. Get a credit card.Obtain a credit card, in addition to a debit card. I know that credit lines and monthly payments may sound overwhelming, but consistent and responsible use now will be useful when you enter the "real" world later. For example, I use mine whenever I go to the grocery store so that there's always some activity on my account. A great rule is to ensure you only spend money you actually have, which you can pay back immediately, so you never fall into debt.
2. Consider studying abroad.I didn't and, while it was the right decision for me, I think that anybody who has the itch to travel should do so in college. You never know if you'll have the luxury of exploring another country once you graduate and settle into a full-time job.
3. Take a class outside your major course load.You may think you have it all planned now, but who knows? You might end up in a class that reveals a new passion within you and has you questioning your career plans—which is a good thing! Even better—take a class that challenges your beliefs. You may leave with stronger beliefs than you started or an expansion of your worldview, which is always a good thing.
4. Live on and off campus.I recommend this one highly because both offer such different experiences. Living in a dorm and frequenting the dining hall is a great way to make friends, but living off-campus in your own apartment comes with an array of responsibilities that will prepare you for the real world, such as paying rent, cooking and grocery shopping for yourself, and cleaning your own bathroom.
5. Get a roommate.By roommate, I mean a roommate that actually lives in the same room as you, not just one that shares an apartment or a suite-style dorm. Why? Because it's a college experience and you'll probably never get to (or want to) live this way again in your life. I, myself, lived in a triple my freshman year and my two roommates continue to be some of my closest friends to this day.
6. Get a part-time job or an internship.Internships are great for gaining experience in your field, and jobs are great for earning a little extra cash. Both will look good on a resume and teach you valuable career skills.
7. Study.Study. Seriously. Study. Do well in your classes. Hanging out with friends and partying on the weekends is an important part of the college experience, but so are writing papers and cramming for tests.
8. Do way too many things at once.Stretch yourself thin. Join a handful of clubs, take a job or two, apply for that unpaid internship, and make plans to meet up with friends. Figure out what interests you and learn your limits. We always hear about how stressed college students are, but we're also at that age that we can stay up until 4 AM and still functional fully the next day. Take advantage of it while you can!
- Complete This Bucket List Before College Graduation
- Your College Experiences Checklist
- Timeless Advice for College Success
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