For many young people, moving away from home and heading off to college is the first chance you’ll get to make adult decisions. Aside from choosing what to study or finding roommates, learning to focus, manage your money and care for your possessions will go a long way toward getting out of college with few bad choices.
1. Post Your Goals
You’ll probably have a desk and a workspace in your apartment. Post photos of your goals on your bulletin board or the wall above your desk. If you want to go to NYC for a long weekend over the summer, post a photo of The Lady and put a dollar estimate of what the trip will likely cost. Once you get a paycheck, put a few dollars toward your goal and change that dollar number.
2. Hone and Rely on Good Habits
The human brain is always building habits. You’ve built an unsuccessful habit if you sleep in every weekend and try to cram in all your homework on Sunday night. A good habit starts with a trigger, such as heading home after your last class. The next step is an action; for example, you may choose to work out right after school to shed stress and focus your mind. Finally, you need a reward, such as a fresh smoothie right after your exercise session.
3. Guard Your Sleep
Pay careful attention when looking for apartments near Texas Tech for signs of late-night shenanigans. Yes, connecting with friends, watching a movie or having an age-appropriate drink is fun. However, if your neighbor or roommate never sleeps, you won’t either. Your brain can’t function effectively without sleep.
4. Take Care of What You Have
If you move your furniture into your new home, get in the habit of losing your shoes as soon as you get inside your space. Your guests will see your shoes and may choose to join you. If you can avoid tracking dirt into your apartment, you can protect your rugs, furniture, and floors.
5. Aim for One Treat Each Weekend
It’s easy to get a little crazy on Friday night; you’ve had a long week. However, letting Friday night become party night can wipe out your budget and your free time. If you find something you want to do, such as a play, movie or concert, create a mental target around it, so you have time and money for the event you want to enjoy!
6. Consider an Extra Minor
Add an extra minor. No matter how much you love your major, there will come a time when you want to travel to Quebec or Mexico. There will come a time when you want to sing in a community chorus or play in a volunteer band. All work and no play is not much of a life.
7. Don’t Keep a Television Inside Your Apartment
This one is a little radical. However, you will be forced to be more creative if you don’t have a television. If you don’t have a television, you will have to reach out and visit friends to watch anything on the big screen. Finally, if you don’t have a big screen, your apartment won’t become a gathering space, saving you time and work.
8. Get Up Early
As possible, get in the habit of getting up early every day. The early morning brain is much more creative than the late night brain. Even better, this will force you to go to bed earlier.
9. Start a Side Hustle
Now is the time to start a part-time gig, a small business or a seasonal job. When you graduate, you may struggle to find work right away. With a side hustle, you will have the flexibility to wait for the best offer.
10. Learn to Cook
Cheap food is terribly unhealthy, and expensive restaurant food will eliminate your budget. If you can read, you can cook. Focus on five ingredients or less to start. Look for ways to cook ahead, such as baked ziti or a veggie soup, and freeze small portions so you can heat up food when you get home.
The adulting skills you use in college can protect your schedule and budget when you get out of school. Frugality, organization and focus are terrific skills to use throughout your life.