I finally made it. I’m a senior in college. I’ll be graduating in May and I couldn’t be more excited (and slightly anxious). Looking back, I realized I missed out on a lot. I find myself going crazy as I try to appreciate everything I possibly can during my last few months at a great university. There’s a reason why tuition is so expensive. You’re paying for the degree and the experience.
Take note of all the great things colleges offer but students forget to take advantage of!
Okay, this one is pretty obvious. That little rectangle with your name and photo on it? Yeah. It’s your best friend in college. Ramen every single night? Nope! With student discounts, you can treat yourself to affordable (real) food. Need a new outfit to impress that cute study buddy? There a bunch of big name brands (ASOS, Loft, J. Crew, PacSun, American Apparel and more) that offer poor college students like us an amazing deal on clothing. It’s a shame that students don’t know about all the discounts in their area! That’s where TUN.com comes in. We got your back.
You won’t be a student forever though and those IDs do expire so…
2. Free Facilities
A lot of colleges have gyms that provide free membership to their students. As long as you have insurance, you also have health facilities at your disposal. All universities are different however, so look online to see what YOUR school offers. If nothing else, libraries are a hidden treasure that many students don’t realize they’re lucky to have access to. It’s a peaceful place to study and they’re usually open until very late. Trust me, you will miss having a place where you can snooze in between classes and find books all about Mozart’s life. Mozart is cool, okay? Just having a free space where you can meet with others and discuss work, projects or assignments is pretty convenient.
The “real” world is tough, kid. You graduate and suddenly you’re alone. By going to college, you’re introduced to the rest of the world. You meet new people every day, of different backgrounds and majors. What everyone has in common is that they have something unique to offer to the world. Your roommate can teach you a new language. Your professor can write you an AMAZING recommendation letter that lands you your dream job. That kid in your Creative Writing course is the nephew of legendary director Martin Scorsese and he can get you a role in his new movie. Okay, maybe not. But you get my point, right? Learn from people and connect with others before it’s too late. You’ll miss how easy it is to make friends and connections once you graduate. Another great way to do this is to study abroad. Who knows…maybe you’ll have a Lizzie McGuire moment and discover your true passion while exploring Italy. Maybe you’ll even realize you’re in love with your best friend after getting your heart broken by a tone deaf, scheming pop star. Don’t we all wish our lives could be like The Lizzie McGuire Movie?
4. College Theatre
I love Broadway but since I’m a #BrokeCollegeStudent, I can’t afford to go to shows as often as I’d like. Most, if not all Universities, have theatre companies or clubs that put on student productions. You can usually find information for this type of stuff on your school’s website or on flyers posted all over the student center. Tickets are usually pretty cheap (just bring your student ID) and it’s cool seeing fellow classmates on stage. Who knew the girl in your organic chemistry class could sing like THAT? Even if people singing dramatically while dancing in flamboyant costumes isn’t your thing, I’m sure everyone can enjoy some live entertainment every once in awhile. Not all plays are Shakespearean tragedies. Some are pretty funny. You know your wannabe stand up comedian roommate? Ask them if they’re free next weekend. You guys HAVE to go see your school’s production of Spamalot.
5. Becoming an Adult
I promise this one is a lot more fun than it sounds. Way too many people I know are terrified of responsibility. They’re too afraid of failure and being on their own. If you don’t learn how to take care of yourself in college, when will you? Even if you don’t live in a dorm, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn how to fend for yourself. You have the power to reinvent yourself in college. You decide what you want to do, what you want to experience, what you want to learn. You choose YOUR major. You also have the freedom to choose whether or not you want to eat pizza 5 days a week because the pizza at the dining hall is almost as good as Brooklyn pizza.
Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until your last semester to take advantage of all these great opportunities. Trust me…it’s overwhelming.
Diane Cardoso is a writer who enjoys pug puppies and long walks through New York City. If she’s not working on a screenplay, you can find her at the August Wilson Theatre watching her favorite Broadway show.