Myths about College Freedom
College is a special time — you learn who you are and gain valuable knowledge while on campus. The freedom that comes with that experience can be intoxicating, but beware.
Here are some of the most common myths about freedom in college life:
You Can Eat Anything
Although this is true — dorms are packed with baked goods, ice cream machines and dessert bars — it doesn’t mean you should have fries and ice cream for dinner every night. The freshman 15 is real. If you want to maintain your health and weight, eat a balanced diet. It’s OK to splurge every once and a while, but daily indulgences will impact your waistline.
You Can Spend Freely
Chances are, you will be forced to live on a budget in college. The refund you receive after your financial aid is applied to college tuition will mostly come from student loans, which aren’t free money. You shouldn’t use those funds to buy clothes or gadgets, party or live beyond your means. More than half of college students run out of money mid-semester. Even if your parents are giving you money each month, that money will come with limits.
Sit down and set a budget that includes food, rent and any other monthly expenses. Once you know how much money will be eaten up by your budget, you know how much you can spend on extras each month.
You Can Take Any Interesting Class
Yes, it’s true that college is packed with tons of great classes and professors. You will, however, need to have a course plan in order to graduate in four or five years. Classes essential to your major and minor should take priority over elective courses. If you do find something you like better than what you’re currently studying, exploring a major change early in your college career will save you money in the long term. Meeting with an academic advisor also will help you stay on track or decide on a major change.
You Don’t Have to Buy Books
Although this might work in a few, rare instances, you will need the required textbooks for each class. Before you head to the bookstore, check your campus library and see if you can check out any course materials before class begins. Libraries often have a select number of books related to major courses. Also shop around online using the ISBN to find the same textbooks at a lower cost. This allows you to get the knowledge you need while staying within your budget.