Hey students, when I was an undergraduate student, MySpace was still a social media king and I was using a handheld camcorder to record video because not all phone cameras had video recording capacity. As an undergraduate I was fixated on my grades and lacked personal finance skills. Reflecting back on my college days I wish that I knew that studying wasn’t everything, to enjoy the small things in life and credit card debt is a dangerous thing that can have significant repercussions. Here are the four things I wish I’d known earlier.
Don’t Study 24/7
When I was an undergraduate student, I was focused on studying. I did not bother much to attend a lot of house parties or make a lot of friends. My typical day was wake up, breakfast, drive to campus, class, lunch, work, workout, study or class, and drive home. The weekends were almost the same so partying wasn’t much on my agenda.
What I wish I’d had done in undergraduate was find internships that would lead to a job after graduation and grow my network. I believe that networking and internships that lead to jobs are a key component of college success. Unless your parents can provide access to a high paying job after college your going to have to put in the work to find a job after graduation. Don’t get caught up in studying. Spend time in an internship and grow your network.
Enjoy your time
When I was a sophomore in college I studied abroad my spring semester at the University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras for a semester. I had one of the most significant times enjoying the atmosphere, meeting new people, and embracing the culture. However, I missed out on some great experiences because I was too busy studying to get good grades. I later realized that as long as I passed the classes with a passing grade, I would get the credits and would have no effect on my GPA. If you're not going to medical school or law school after college enjoy your time because studying abroad doesn’t happen to every college student. Enjoy the environment not the books.
Credit card debt is serious
When I was an undergraduate getting a credit card was easy. Once I got my first credit card the swiping happened over and over again throughout my undergraduate and part of my graduate years. The debt reached $10,000, and I finally put a stop to it.
I wish I would have to know the severities of credit card debt and how much I had spent on stupid things. The $10,000 I spent along with paying it all back could have been used for a downpayment on a house. Do not use your credit card like its free monopoly money. Credit card debt is a serious issue, and once you start the debt, it only gets harder to pay it off.
College is a great time that you only enjoy once. Studying is important, and I am not advocating for you to party 24/7. What I am saying is focus on your studies but also learn to have fun, grow your network, and don’t get into credit card debt.
Dr. J Real Talk
Discussing business, ed tech, and life. Follow me on social media @DrJRealTalk