So college…. what a time to be alive. Don’t let anyone tell you different, those will be some of the best years of your life. I have got all kinds of fun college stories from Texas Tech, and I’ve met some great lifelong friends because of that place. I won’t go too deep into any of that, but I will provide a few tips to people who are going to college now or in the near future.
1. Plan your financials. College is fun, but I would argue it is not worth going into massive debt. I think basics in college (typically your first two years) can realistically be done from anywhere. I HIGHLY recommend dual credit high school classes (DON’T FALL FOR THE SCAM THAT IS AP TESTING)… If you want to go to [insert_big_name_university], but will need to take out loans, I would recommend considering community college at first to work away at some of the basics.
2. Take a gap year after high school. Honestly, this is probably something I would do over in hindsight. If you have an idea what you want to do career-wise, try and find a part time or full time job for a year and do that. You can also do a few college credits. Let’s say you want to be in supply chain for example. Work part time in a warehouse, distribution center. Or for marketing, work in a PR agency. The money doesn’t matter, especially if you are able to continue living with your parents. What truly matters is the experience, and confirmation that you’re interested in a specific area of study. MENTORS ARE HUGE! If you can find a mentor in your area of interest before even taking a college class, that is nice. This advice is without taking coronavirus into consideration… Given what’s going on in 2020… I would advise anyone nearing college to strongly consider this. You can even plan a big trip with your friends or family with the money you make from the gap year before going off to college. The reality is your freshman year won’t be the same with covid and honestly if you leave right after high school you can’t drink (legally) until you are 21 anyway. That’s 75% of the fun in college.
3. Branch out. Leave your hometown. Don’t be the person who never tries something new. Don’t be afraid to suck at something new. I almost stayed in Wichita Falls, but my mom pushed me out the nest. Shoutout Penny.
4. Try the dorm experience. It’s a neat, unique time. I wish I’d made more of it when I was a Freshman at Texas Tech.
5. Don’t go to grad school right after undergrad, unless it’s a medical field or getting accounting MBA or something that’s directly correlated. When I see a general business major (lot of other majors) go to grad school I know in my gut they are wasting money, and avoiding the inevitable life after college.
6. Find a group. Join an association, fraternity, sorority, volunteer group, etc. I found Delta Sigma Pi, a co-ed business fraternity at tech. This was a 100-person organization who were all business majors, meaning I often had a class with at least 1 or 2 of them. Joining that organization really made my college experience more fun, and helped me develop some great friendships. Dues were only $120 a semester as well!
7. Have a good reason you are going to the school you pick. For me, the business school at Texas Tech was brand new, and I loved the idea of cheering for a school big enough to watch sporting events on TV. Considering NFL MVP Pat Mahomes was our Quarterback the majority of my collegiate career, and budding star head coach Chris Beard led our basketball teams to a National Championship game, I would say that’s worked out pretty well for me. It was also relatively inexpensive and 3 hours from home. Find your key reasons to go to a school and make the best decision. Don’t go somewhere just because it’s where your family went.