I come from a low income, first-generation family. Grants, scholarships and loans (yes, loans) are how I was able to go to college. I lived on campus even though I knew that it would have been cheaper to live at home but I wanted the whole college experience and I didn’t want to let money stand in my way. Although I have received financial aid, I have also held 2 jobs while in school. It’s been hard to balance both work and school but it’s possible. Never let money stop you from going to college.
Getting involved in college is a rewarding, fun and beneficial experience. Personally, I love giving back, and especially like working with kids, so I chose to get involved by volunteering to give campus tours to middle school aged students as well as inform them about how to get to college. Some of my friends have been elected positions in Student Government and the HRE, which is the group of students who are in charge of the decisions made about living on campus. They love doing what they do, and I really love getting to talk to kids every week. I’ve made tons of friends through getting involved on campus, as well as other connections that may be beneficial. After getting involved I’ve gotten to know the University President, the Dean of Students and the Vice President of Student Affairs, all of whom I didn’t know before getting involved. In the future if I need a letter of reference for a job, it can look very impressive to have a personal letter from someone who holds such a prestigious position at a university. Getting involved in high or middle school can have similar outcomes, and I highly recommend getting as involved as possible!
I know many of you have been told how important it is to be involved in school and participate in extracurricular activities. But, what some of you may not know is how challenging it can be. Being involved in both high school and college is crucial. What’s more important though, is being able to manage multiple responsibilities.
Many students today have obligations outside of their academics. Whether it’s sports, clubs, organizations, family obligations, or work—you must be able to prioritize. I myself have always been involved in school. I have also had to work, in my latter years of high school, on and off throughout college, and now in graduate school. For a lot of students, that is just the reality.
I do encourage working or doing internships for students, as it helps you build your work ethic and develop other skills. Plus, let’s face it, in this economy the last thing you want to do is graduate college with no work experience. But, understand that whatever your obligations are, you must find a BALANCE. As students, school should always come first! Lay things out in order of importance, and make sacrifices when needed.
Another great tip is doing something just for you that helps you relax, free your mind, and alleviate stress. Things like reading for pleasure, hanging out with friends & family, or anything that helps you manage. Ultimately, everything in life is about balance and juggling multiple responsibilities. Make sure you prioritize, do what works best for you as a student, and that those around you also know what’s most important, and respect it.