I remember it like it was yesterday.
My parents had spent the day moving me into my tiny, uncomfortable dorm room after a 12-hour car ride the day before. As they dropped me off near the quad for the beginning of my college festivities, we said our goodbyes and I confidently walked towards my new life.
To this day, my mom says she wishes I looked back. C’mon mom – I’m way too cool for that.
Giving advice to college freshman is tough because everyone comes from a different situation and wants different things. However, as I’m now 9 years removed (time flies), I’m basically an expert. Here are some things that college freshmen can do to start winning at life.
My Best Advice for College Freshmen
Stay out of your comfort zone
Don’t be that kid that goes home every weekend and eats every meal in their dorm room during the week. So what if you don’t know anybody and you’re not the outgoing type? How many people do you think you’ll know at the first company you work for?
I’ll go out on a limb and say you won’t accomplish your dreams by hiding for your entire life. The more comfortable you are being outside your comfort zone, the more you’ll grow. Get out there and try new things.
Don’t buy new textbooks unless you have to
I made the mistake of paying full price for my textbooks during my first semester of freshman year. I was all worried about having the books on time and ended up paying way more than I had to.
That’s why it’s important to rent your textbooks or buy them used, assuming they have the same material. If you’re not sure, ask your professor and they’ll be able to tell you whether the updated version really has information that you need. The textbook companies love to make money (surprise, surprise) so more often than not, they release an “updated version” which only changes things you’d never notice anyway.
Take your parents’ advice
Your parents are old, so what could they possibly teach you? I mean, you graduated high school. You’ve got this whole “life” thing mastered, right?
Your parents may be corny, overbearing and nosy, but the number of candles on their birthday cake has to count for something. The best teacher is experience and the second best teacher is someone else’s experience. When your parents want to teach you what they learned from their mistakes, accept the favor.
Start thinking about your career now
I get it, you’re a freshman. Before you start thinking about a career, you need to find out where the gym is, where your classrooms are, and how to get “in” with the cool crowd, right?
This is my best piece of advice for college freshmen: after a couple months – and I’m not joking about this – you need to seriously start networking and thinking about summer internships. I know that can be a little overwhelming, so that’s why I put together this guide for you.
I didn’t land any internships during college. I thought I would be fine by just working summer jobs and getting good grades, but I ended up graduating with $170k in student loans (undergraduate and master’s combined) and no job lined up. Learn from my mistakes, kids!
Learn how money works
Money’s a funny thing. It’s so important for our daily lives, yet most people don’t care to learn about it. The worst part is that our society conditions us to give up our wealth. You can avoid that trap by taking control of your financial destiny. How do you do that? Knowledge.
The Money Master Intro Course is a 30-minute, self-paced video series that teaches you the foundations of wealth creation, step by step. This resource requires no prior knowledge – it’s designed specifically for people who want to learn about money but don’t want to be bored to death. Did I mention it takes 30 minutes? You can complete it while you eat breakfast!
Believe me – I wish this course was available before I made my college decision. Sign up here to get started today.
Take your classes seriously
Get good grades. Does this really require explanation?
You Shape Your Future Every Day
It might not seem like it now, but the decisions you make each day will help determine where you’ll be in the future. If you can strike a balance between your social life, professional development and your studies, you’ll be well prepared to take on the real world.
So go on, have some fun and go find yourself and all that stuff. Just remember to keep taking baby steps towards your goals each day.
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Josh Ramos
Josh has paid off $130k in student loan debt in 4 years. By founding Home at 30, he wants to help end the student debt crisis by helping students and young professionals make decisions that will reward them for a lifetime.