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Top Five College Tips for Returning and First Generation College Attendees

School is officially in session and for some college is a new and experimental experience. As a first generation College graduate I am all too familiar with the trial and error process in learning the do’s and dont’s of college life.”Here are 5 college tips that can enhance your college days providing an optimum collegiate career.


What? Save Money! I know right, college is allegedly one of the brokest moments in our lives. The terms “starving student” or “the struggle is real” may ring the bell of familiarity. Here’s a suggestion;whether you’re loaned the money meaning you will have to pay it back or receiving scholarships and grants use this money wisely. I recall my college days and the week before school started when the refunds were disbursed; the amount of frivolous spending I witnessed was astounding, self included. Keep in mind that upon graduation there is a chance that you may not land a well to do position in your field immediately. This money can hold you over on bills and basic essentials if moving back home isn’t an option. This savings can also be used to invest in a small business venture, stock, currency trade, and money market accounts. Secondly in an effort to avoid debt stay away from credit cards. Unless you’re fortunate to have a 5 or 6 figure salary during college I suggest avoiding all credit cards. Considering the financial uncertainties that can come with being a struggling college student, don’t put yourself in a predicament where you could potentially owe. Your primary focus is school and it’s fairly easy to slip in the routine of working to pay bills while school is placed on hold. If building your credit is a concern then I recommend a secure card. It has the same effect on your credit score as a credit card only it operates similar to a prepaid debit in the sense that it’s your money that you’re spending.Use it for smaller purchases you can assure will be paid right away. To find additional information for a secure card contact a local bank or credit union to see what options are available.


Your college days are the prime time to set out for all travel adventures . Generally during this time your schedule may be the most flexible with class scheduling and a part time gig to get you through. There are minimal outside factors to consider such as a spouse, children, requesting time away from work, and financial setbacks; because these are your treat yourself don’t cheat years where you can focus on you. Gather your posse’ and put the travel plans into manifestation. Take advantage of your summer, winter, and spring vacations because believe me the opportunity to catch a flight at leisure isn’t always accessible once you really begin adulting.


This is a big regret of my college days and definitely at the top of my college “do over” list. I highly recommend this opportunity, particularly for students who have a desire to travel and or live abroad; studying abroad is a great way to broaden your perspective through a global lens. Many campuses offer programs which will provide you with accommodations for taking courses overseas including room and board at the rate of your campus’s tuition which is usually a fraction of the cost if you were to pay out of pocket. In addition this is also a great resume’ builder especially if you’re into business, trade and commerce.


A big part of college life is the socialising. As an incoming freshmen the amount of college party fliers and social events plaguing your campus will be endless, this is definitely apart of the culture. However that will not go far on the career front. Build networks that are assets to your future. “It isn’t always what you know, but who you know.” Step outside your comfort zone, run for office of the student union, join that fraternity or sorority you’ve been eyeing, become a member of a club or sports team. Visit your professors and department chair during office hours. Letters of recommendation are required for many graduate schools and internships;introduce yourself, become acquainted. Creating a network of individuals that are just as driven, dedicated, and successful as yourself is a form of self love. It keeps you motivated and remember your money and time is invested into this; therefore the idea is to maximize all resources including your social circles.


I cannot stress this enough. This is a practice that if put to use is sure to carry you far beyond your college days. Add to your checklist of supplies a daily planner. Document all of your meetings, appointments, class and work schedules. I also suggest taking all of your syllabi and marking the due dates for upcoming assignments for the semester, believe me it’s easy to forget about a paper due two months from the first day of class. Purchase a wall calendar also, this will allow you to visualize daily, the task for the day, week, etc.This strategy will minimize some confusion that comes with being a first generation college attendee. Be sure to go to bed at a decent hour. The new found freedom away from parental authority (assuming you reside on campus) will have you trying all sorts of things you wouldn’t normally and staying up late on school nights will be one of them. Prioritize your time; if you know there’s an exam in the morning skipping that frat party you were invited to by your crush will be hard as hell initially but you’ll be thanking your well rested self for Acing that test.

Ms. Lowery - “I reside in Los Angeles, Ca. I a am former middle school teacher currently working in social service. My hobbies are reading, dance, gardening, and traveling.”

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