I met a student at Michigan State University who shared her experience of financially putting herself through college. I encouraged her to write a guest blog on the subject as I think that's an issue some of our readers struggle with. Enjoy this guest post by Anita Chitwood from MSU.
From skipping class in a cheetah print vest to learning how to “bend and snap” while earning an Ivy League education, the movies have taught us a lot about being a student. Even with the help of Ferris Bueller and Elle Woods we still don’t know it all. I wish there were movies showing the realities of college: the all-nighters, 10 page papers, finals week survival tactics and the bills.
For those of you, like me, who have been given the impressive task of paying the bills and putting yourself through college, you know it’s not easy. After four years at Michigan State University; I can tell you it’s possible. Here are five tips to help you be a successful, self-paying student while enjoying your time in college. (Cheetah print vest is optional.)
1. Find a major you’re passionate about. You need to enjoy what you’re learning, because it’s where you’ll devote most of your time. When you’re drowning in papers, exams, clubs and an internship, it will be your passion motivating you to keep going.
2. Take opportunities that serve many purposes. It’s easy to think everyone is having the time of their lives traveling and going out while you’re working. Intern with a company in a new city or state. Then you can travel and be paid at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds.
3. Manage your time. Balancing an unpaid internship, a paying job and classes is possible. (I speak from experience.) The key is to communicate with your bosses and keep an organized schedule. Don’t forget to include time strictly for yourself.
4. Keep your friends close. Keep your friends close even if it means calling them only once a week or meeting at odd hours. It’s important to have this support system for those stressful, unexpected days. They’re the ones who will make you laugh and keep you strong.
5. Work hard and spend your money diligently. I didn’t need to tell you this, but it can’t be forgotten.