UNITED STATES—Right now, a host of students are getting ready to head back to college or to step onto a college campus for the first time. College life can be scary people when you first step onto that campus and get a taste of independence as an adult. I remember my first days on the campus of Michigan State University where I was absolutely scared to death. I did not know a single soul, it was in the thick of winter, so I already missed half a semester and it was an adjustment living with three other roommates.

Yeah, I have siblings, but I know them, but when you’re living with complete strangers, you have to adjust your mood. You have to discover who is a late night sleeper, who is an early bird, who is clean, who is dirty, who is loud, who is quiet? The list goes on and on and on people, but that is the fun of college, not just living on your own, but learning new ways to adapt in life and how to deal with people that you might not always like.

The first year is a challenge because you have to get to know the campus, you have to navigate walking distance, how bright or dark things are at night and perhaps the big kicker how much money you will need to survive. Unlike most college students who don’t have to worry about work, I did not have that luxury. I had a job off campus and I had to work to pay for tuition books and so much more.

However, I would not take it back for anything. I will admit I wish I had a bit more time to enjoy campus life, but it was either party all the time and not be able to pay tuition or party lightly, while working, affording tuition and still being able to enjoy campus life. Having a job really helped me understand the balance between work and social life. Some people don’t know how to do that and college teaches that vital skill.

You learn how to deal with small classes, lecture classes, debate and all things about classroom etiquette during that first year on campus. You also discover the price of books and how some books for some classes are extensive compared to others. Hell, I was an English major and I had courses where I was stuck with 12-15 books for a single class. Yeah, you’re talking about reading a novel or book a week people. Sounds crazy right that is the expectation placed on some students.

However, I learned after my freshmen year a lot of those books where I was spending $500 to $700 a semester for; I didn’t have to spend all that money. I could get a lot of those books from the library free of charge. Some of those books you don’t even need because the professor doesn’t even use the book. I cannot tell you how many times I got stuck spending a $100 bucks or more on bucks that I did NOT even open single time the entire semester. With that said, I found a way to navigate around books and save a ton of money in the process. So my sophomore, junior and senior year I saved a ton of money and that was money well spent for other things like tuition and other necessities.

Once those first year jitters are over, you start to find your groove in your sophomore year, you start to get introduced to courses that you enjoy, you perhaps land on a major that intrigues you or at least one that you are passionate about. On top of that, you start to integrate a core group of pals and people you hang out often with in addition to still building new bonds in the process. With each year that passes, that notion of getting closer to college graduation nears the excitement starts to build, but the reality also begins to hit you. You’re going to have to enter the real world soon if you have NOT already done so people. Was it scary for me? Not as much I had worked, I kind of knew what I wanted to do with my life and I just started to focus my energy on those things. So there was no fear jumping out there after college life ended, but at the same time college was one of the greatest times in my life because I felt like I had so much fun and learned so many things about myself, life and the world in general.

There is a lot of hustle and bustle when it comes to college, but for all the undergraduates and graduate students out there, enjoy the time you have in college, live it up and don’t take it for granted because you only get to truly experience that once where you can actually live in the moment.

Written By Jason Jones