It’s so surreal knowing that this Spring semester will be my last semester of college. So many emotions run through my mind just thinking about it: excitement, anxiety, relief, anticipation, accomplishment. Looking back, there are so many things I wish I could change, from deciding on a major to deciding where to do my grocery shopping to save a couple of bucks (because $5 can really make a difference in a college student’s life, trust me). But don’t get me wrong I’ve had so many wonderful memories, ones I would not change for the world.
I teamed up with Earnest, a company that provides current students and graduates with financial information and resources to refinance their loans, to write a letter to my younger self. By younger, I mean the Jessie who was a Freshman that did not know what to expect the next four years of her undergraduate career. As a senior in college, I can definitely say that I know a lot more now than I did back in Freshman year. I’ve learned more about my self, who I want to be and where I want to go.
Here it goes:
Congratulations on being accepted to your dream school! You are going to love the campus, the people and more importantly the education. One thing you won’t like are those loans (seriously, they are piling up right now and I’m kind of terrified to graduate because of them). Try to listen to mom and consider commuting from home to save on housing costs. I know you want to dorm and experience the full-on college life but trust me you’ll miss the home-cooked meals and the familiarity of home. Dorming is not the only way to get a full-on college experience. Minimize those loan amounts and stay home. Being home is great cause you can sleep in your own bed and you’ll get to see mom, dad and your siblings everyday (you’re going to miss them a lot).
You are already paying for a meal-plan so try to avoid buying groceries. But when you absolutely need to buy some food hit up Trader Joe’s and ALDI. You’ll save soooo much more versus going to Mariano’s or Jewel. This means more money for your morning Starbucks (actually, just get some coffee from the dining hall, that will save you even more.
Don’t buy textbooks, rent them. I know you already know this but I thought I should remind you, just in case. Please, wait until the first day of class to purchase them because some professors don’t even require it. Most exams and quizzes are going to be from lectures and PowerPoint presentations. Don’t pay $8 for a notebook because it has a pretty cover. Buy those $1 notebooks from Target. You’re notes will be notes no matter what pretty notebook you write them in. $18 for that pack of colorful gel pens? You can skip out on those. Fancy supplies are nice but you can live with out them.
But, here’s the deeper stuff. Here’s the stuff that is going to stress you more than anything the next couple of years:
Graduation will be here before you know it so keep your head up. You think these next four years are going to drag and you may be dreading your first semester right now, I know. Stop worrying so much about the future and focus on the present.
I know how proud you are to be the first in your family to go to college and that everything you do or are going to do is to honor their journey to be here. But remember that your family wants you to be happy no matter what. So, study what you really want to study and do the things that you really want to do.
Get involved some more and don’t be shy to meet new people. Say hi to the person who sits next to you in class. Everyone always appreciates a simple hello. Plus, you’ll befriend a study buddy! Speaking of class, don’t be afraid to ask for help or speak to your professors. Some of them may look intimidating but they open up during office hours. Also speaking of office hours, GO TO THEM! I cannot stress that enough. Speaking with your professor during office hours will clarify so much. Go, just go.
College is not a race and it is not a competitions. You must go your own face ans stop comparing yourself to others. Susie Jo (You don’t know a Susie Joe but for the purpose of this letter Susie Jo represents another college student) is a full time student. has a job, does research and volunteers? That is great for her but that is crazy intense for you! When will you eat or sleep? You know what you can and can’t handle so just go at your own pace. Your success is no one else’s success and vice versa. You are not Susie Joe and Susie Jo is not you.
But more importantly, seize everyday.
I’d like to thank Earnest for reaching out to me to create this post. If you are a current college student or high school student looking into borrowing loans or have other financial concerns, I would highly suggest checking out Earnest for more information. Earnest analyzes your full financial profile in order to provide you with lower and more personalized interest rates when refinancing your loans. One thing I have definitely learned as a college student and adult is to be more mindful of my finances. Earnest has so much info on their blog from savings and homeownership to picking a health insurance plan. Their blog is fun and super informative!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and that you were inspired in some way! If you guys have any questions or concerns about college, loans, financial aid and all in between please feel free to contact me or visit Earnest!