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The Things I Learned in College

By: Candice Spitler



I have been in college for four years. I’m graduating from Bemidji State University on May 13, 2013. Literally, fifteen days away I will be considered a college graduate with a BFA in creative and professional writing. I’ve been thinking a lot this semester. I’ve been panicking, exhilarated, frightened, and apathetic this semester. May 10th, the last day of my college career is looming ever closer. It’s a bittersweet, freak-out moment for me. So, in celebration I wanted to write an article that entertained and educated at the same time.

One of the first things I learned about college was pertaining to money. I made some bad decisions when it came to owning my first credit card. I didn’t pay attention to my spending and I was a thousand in the hole. It took me a whole year to pay off my debt but it made me better at saving money. Every paycheck thereafter, I transferred fifty dollars into my savings account and didn’t touch it.

The credit card debt taught me about interest. The higher your debt, the more your interest takes away from your principle payments. It educated me rather quickly when I had to borrow loans for school. I took out what I needed. Don’t make the mistake of taking everything the federal government offers in loans. What you borrow must be repaid with interest. I’ve saved as much as I can but it’ll still take me years before I pay it all off.

Another thing I learned is how to be self sufficient. Your parents aren’t around to help you. I lived in the dorms for two years and nobody stopped by to help me with dishes. God I wished they would though! I learned to cook, clean, do laundry, do homework, and make money on my own. Once you move out of your parent’s house the motivating factor to move forward is gone. I wanted to sleep in every day of high school. Now that I’m in college I actually like waking up early. It helps to get a jumpstart on the day.

The freshmen fifteen is plausible! It’s the idea where you gain pounds after moving out of your parent’s house. For me there wasn’t an initial weight gain. It wasn’t until this year that I gained a few pounds. Not a lot by any means. Just a measly six pounds but I’m 5’ 4” and that shows around my belly. I’m not taking advantage of the free gym on campus. Whoops my bad. I’m eating what I can afford for food, which isn’t always fresh produce. Stay active, don’t indulge in sweets, and for heaven’s sake don’t drink soda!

Another thing I learned that bothered me was how my dorm always became so tiny. It was always the same. I would move in for fall semester and the room would be bare except for six things. There is a desk, a rolling chair, a dresser, a bed, an end table, and a bookcase. I would move in with my boxes and move the furniture to accommodate everything. Sometime in the future (I don’t know why and I don’t know how) the room would eat up extra space whenever it could. I’m assuming that I bought random things and never used them. Go figure! So my advice is to bring the essentials and only the essentials. Don’t be like me and have a gravitational pull to everything.

The dorms aren’t always a cheaper alternative to living off campus. However, I used to drive forty-seven miles into town to attend classes that started at 8 a.m. My gas bill was incredible! It was easily around four hundred dollars a month. Not to mention the constant wear my tires and engine were getting. I moved into the dorm because of convenience. It saved my car and I didn’t have to wake up two hours earlier. Of course when it snowed heavily I never got stuck at home. I still had to go to classes by way of the tunnel system.

The dorms helped me in another way as well. Since you pay up front there is no monthly rent due. It was beautiful! I stayed in an upperclassmen suite and shared a bathroom with two other females. Out of the four roommates that I had I never made friends. That’s not their fault though. I’m an introvert and I have friends who are as weird as I am.
One of the reasons I didn’t make friends with my roommates was because I had gotten depressed. I had to pay about seven hundred and fifty dollars out of pocket for college. I wasn’t making a lot of money at my job. My long distance relationship with my boyfriend had put more stress on my shoulders. All of it combined making me feel like I was always trapped. I was irritable, emotionally exhausted, and high strung until that fall semester was over with.

It put life into perspective for me. My boyfriend (God love him) became my rock. It was a time where I needed someone to keep my head from exploding. I know people love to date around in college. It’s more important not that you’re dating someone, but how they fit into your life. I’ve had a few relationships that hindered me and my education. Both men and women have to cut toxic relationships before it destroys their future.

I could go on and on about the things I learned. The most important thing: college is a commitment. You’re in it for the long
haul, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health. Getting an education is the beginning of the job market. You go to college to learn a career not to make minimum wage at a job you’ll eventually hate. My father always told me, “to do what it is you love and to finish what you started.” And I’m doing just that.
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