I started my college career at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in 2013. My first year I roomed with three other females and shared one bathroom (yikes!). Somehow we made it through the year, but it wasn’t drama free. Living with strangers is hard. Especially when you live on top of each other!! Don’t forget to factor in the added stress of college classes, maintaining a social life, and expanding your resume past your high school experiences. For these reasons and more, I believe that students today should intensely evaluate their after high school plans. For me, college was difficult in ways that I never expected. I did well academically, however a social life was very difficult. After my freshman year I moved off campus with two of my roommates. This made attending classes and staying involved with the university very difficult. By my junior year I had almost completely removed myself from the university and was working to expand my network in Columbus. These experiences I gained while earning my degree added to my quick success after college. I worked as a manager trainee intern at Hertz Rental Car. I was selected to be a Pepsi Power Patrol model for the Columbus Blue Jackets. I also was paid to model across the country in Texas, California, and South Carolina! All this said, know that there is no “right” way to do college. Here are a few of my tips to survive college or make the decision to follow a different path.
- College isn’t for everyone. This is going to become more and more true as classes resort to online platforms to mitigate COVID-19 risks. College is not meant for the individual, but the group. The attention you will get from your professors will be much different than what you experienced in high school. This means that self sufficiency and discipline are extremely crucial to find success. No one is there to make sure you show up to class, or read your assignments. Without discipline and a strong work ethic, college may pose a greater challenge than some expect.
- College is hella expensive. But the real problem comes after you graduate. You are forced to go through a Sally Mae training on how you will be paying back your loans. I remember my senior year doing this and being absolutely mortified. Most of my friends were crying and becoming depressed because they did not realize the loans they took out would take over 10 years + to pay off. To make matters worse, the interest rates on college loans these days are astronomical! My freshman year my loans were at a 3.5% interest rate. By the time I left college they were up to 7.5% and some of them had been accruing interest since I had started college! Be careful with the loans you accept from FASFA. Consider a credit union where you might get a better interest rate and can consolidate your loans easily.
- There are plenty of other ways to make money without a college degree. I take great pride in my degree and the experiences college gave me. However, trade schools or technical schools are severely underestimated. Students would do well to gain as many experiences in high school and college so they can figure out how best they learn, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and how to interact in the real world. It is also possible to get a company to pay for your degree – this seems like the best way to do college in my opinion. That way you are gaining work experience while earning the piece of paper that has been given so much value in today’s world.
- Work experience will get you very far. It really is about who you know, so make as many connections as possible. My connections have allowed me to travel the world, meet hundreds of new people, and grow into the strong, determined woman I am today. So, no matter where you are in your life, I hope these tips help you decide which direction is best for you! Feel free to reach out to me about any questions regarding college, work experience, etc!