So. You have somehow managed to cram 18 pairs of shoes, 6 suitcases and all your hopes and dreams into your car and are off to college for the very first time. Now what?
First of all, Adrian and I just want to take a minute and tell you HOW INCREDIBLY PROUD OF YOU we are that you are pursuing a formal education!! Our parents taught us that the pursuit of an education is a life-long goal, and should be taken very seriously. Even if you have to take the harder route and forgo college…make the decision to keep educating yourself no matter what! Read good books, listen to the news, and keep asking hard questions of yourself and your mentors.
ANYWAY. Moving out for the first time and living on your own is probably one of the most exciting times of your life. At least it was for me! But it can also be totally overwhelming. Even if you were incredibly independent in high school and did your own laundry and helped with the cooking, the fact is when mom isn’t there and you have to do all your own shopping, cleaning, and remember boring things like Cling Film and toilet paper…it can feel a little overwhelming! Don’t worry!! You got this!
Here are some tips and ideas to get you off to a smooth start on your college career!
1. Keep Track of Your Spending.
Write everything down that you buy in a little notebook that you keep in your purse. It is so easy to spend WAY more than you realize, especially your first month, and when your girlfriends are heading to Starbucks every morning before class…it adds up! After that first month, look and see where you’re overspending. Are you shopping at Target and buying a bunch of clothes you don’t need? Adrian and I both found the envelope system really helpful. We write different categories on the back of a plain white envelope, like Food, Entertainment, Cell Phone, and determine a cash amount for the month. The hard part is...you can't spend more than you have! Reevaluate your amount at the end of every month and watch how much money you save!
2. Don’t Over Shop And Stick To The Basics!
Your first big shop at the grocery store can be a little overwhelming! Make a list before hand, stick to the basics below, and don’t go crazy overbuying vegetables that you have every good intention of eating but will probably just go bad in your crisper. Not that we know this from experience or anything. HA.
A loaf of bread
Lunch Meat for Sandwiches
Your Favorite Veggie
Your basics will look a little different than this one more than likely, just use it as inspiration to create your own!
3. You Don’t Have To Be A Chef To Plan Your Meals!
We ate more fast food, made more midnight pizza runs (OK, we still do!!) and basically ate like crap when we were living in a college town and going to school!! But then we figured out that all of the junk was catching up with us, we didn’t feel so great and it cost a lot of money we didn’t have! Meals don’t have to be overwhelming, scary, or super involved. Make up a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for a quick snack. Tacos, spaghetti, and hamburgers are all super easy dinner ideas that use ground beef and very little prep time. Chicken breast/veggie stir fry, fajitas, and chicken casserole (I have the BEST recipe) are all easy chicken recipes. There are a ton of great food blogs out there and if you wanted to invest in a cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book are two really great places to start!
4. Always Study In The Same Place.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s really important. Fix up a little spot, hopefully an actual desk, and always do your studying there. No, not in the living room in front of the TV or slumped in bed. Sit in a chair, at a desk, in a room with the door shut and turn off all your social media. Yup, ALL OF IT. We know, we know, it’s really hard at first. But we have both started doing this for a certain block of time (We set a timer so we have something to look forward to!) and then focus like crazy on the homework at hand! It’s ridiculous how much this really helped our grades go up.
5. Network, Network, Network.
Your time in college is when you’re going to make lifelong friends and future business contacts. Don’t think just because you haven’t embarked upon your career yet that it doesn’t matter….because it really does! You never know who or WHERE you’re going to meet someone that may end up being hugely important in your life. Have fun, but don’t just spend your time partying and roping the dummy with the rodeo team. Hang out with people who have a goal in mind, who work hard and have similar career interests as you do. Ask them about their degrees and offer to help any way you can on projects, even if that’s just editing or going on a coffee run. You never know until you ask!
xo xo Liz