What I wish I could tell my former freshman self before earning my :
Picture found here
ASSOCIATES DEGREE OF SCIENCE IN SOCIAL SCIENCES
STOP panicking because you have no idea what you want to go into. Breathe. It’s OK. MANY people feel the same way.
- Do not even think of looking at full price books before checking www.amazon.com for USED books. Often, 75% off full price.
- Never save your school books. You will not re read them regardless of how interesting they may have seemed. Sell immediately. Holding onto used books will cause new editions to come out = your book is not worth bird shit. You can also sell your books back to www.amazon.com or on www.craigslist.com in the books section. (if you choose to meet someone you have never met, meet them in a public place like outside of Target. NOT a random address you have never been too.)
The Guidance Counselors are your friends. Find one you like and stick with them. Visit regularly.
- Keep in contact through email with your teachers. This may make you feel like a teacher’s pet but I swear to you, I have failed a class before and because the teacher knew how hard I had tried and that I had bad test anxiety he reopened a few past lessons to allow me to retry taking. I passed by the skin of my teeth.
- Extra Credit= ALWAYS DO IT. No exceptions. This can save your GPA or be the difference between a D and a F
- Only consider taking classes from a teacher after checking www.ratemyprofessor.com . How other students feel matters. It can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
- If unsure about your degree, go for a transferable Associate of Arts (to make sure you get your prerequisites AND languages out-of-the-way).
Look into scholarships, FAFSA, free money before even considering a loan.
Your GPA DOES matter. It’s a factor in whether you can be on the Presidents List, Phi Theta Kappa Honour Society, qualify for scholarships, and even get into a four-year college.
- It’s quite possible that you are going to experience an unbelievable amount of negative emotions while getting this degree. This is the important part to stay focussed on: you will survive this and in the end it will be worth all of it.
- Regardless of what you hear, the only supplies you really need for college are: printer paper, pencils (for math!), pens, a few spiral notebooks, those sticky page markers to mark your page, and a set of good highlighters, book bag (if taking on campus classes with more than one book), and a pack of notecards. Do not spend $200 on supplies if you do not have too. I bought my book bag new for $20. Look around for the best prices. $1 Tree has highlighters, pens, pencils, etc!
- Many classes do NOT require a book. It depends on the teacher, not what the bookstore says. EMAIL the teacher directly FIRST.
- Look into four-year colleges way before graduating. Even if you are unsure of what you want to go into, pick something and try to do as many prerequisites as you can at your two-year community college. It will save you a ton of money and time. Yes, there are more interesting classes to take but all you are going to do is delay yourself longer when you have to retake those boring ones at the four-year.
- Never tell yourself for a moment that you “can’t” do this. When people ask you when your graduating, tell them the exact date. Say I WILL be graduating Example: Summer of 2013. Use positive words even when you feel that things are moving at a glacial pace.
- If anyone says that education is not worth it, I’m sorry I completely disagree. A woman (especially) should never find herself too comfortable in any situation to give up on education. I do not care how assured, protected, or financially stable you feel. Emergencies happen and if you find yourself head of household or in a position to need money fast, you do not want to have to turn to your local minimum wage job because you are not qualified for anything else. I’ve been there. Please believe me.
- Take your time and know that as long as you are IN college you are moving towards a goal. Don’t try to overload yourself because you want to get it behind you fast…especially if you are working at the same time. Burn Out is very common and it will happen to you my friend.
- Most of all, be proud of yourself for going to college. You may feel older, behind, or frustrated. Making the first step to go is the hardest step. Once you get in there be it online or in person classes you will realize that there are many others just like you trying to make their way. Things will feel easier. You will get more comfortable. Even though the process of getting your Associates is nothing less than a cloud of confusion, you will find out a lot about yourself along the way. Hopefully, (at least in my case) towards the end of getting out of that cloud you will see the light and discover your ultimate major.
A FEW ADDITIONAL TIPS THAT DO NOT APPLY TO COLLEGE SPECIFICALLY BUT MAY BE HELPFUL WHILE OBTAINING YOUR DEGREE
If you must have a credit card, have ONE credit card. Ideally, just for emergencies. Unless you have a very good paying job keep your limit low. I’m talking $250-$300 max. Use for essentials. If you need to go to Old Navy, Victoria Secret, other name brand store and do not have $ to do so then WAIT TILL YOU DO. There is an excellant store called Goodwill which will save you a lot of money!
- If you must finance a car, only settle for a low monthly payment. My first car payment was $300 a month. For YEARS I worked only for my car. My car payment is now $179. It is possible to find as long as you do not finance a brand new car. It is no longer “new” once it’s driven off the lot. Don’t fall for the “low monthly payment” scams on tv. Use your sense. If a car dealership will not work with you on price then walk away. No one should be desperate enough to allow themselves to be talked into dept for years upon years.
- On the topic of friends. Your true friends will understand that you are dealing with a full stressful schedule. They will inspire you, motivate you, and believe in you up until the day you walk across that stage. Surround yourself with positive and understanding people. This will help you get through the times you feel that you are going to break.