Supplementing Your Income

If you are like many other students in that you do not have enough disposable income for your college days, then it is important to plan ahead.  This means probably getting some kind of gainful employment.  Of course, in an ideal world, this would be in the field in which you are studying.  But, unfortunately, in the real world, this might not be so realistic.  So your next criteria should be at least doing something you enjoy.  Try and find a place of employment that has a good reputation for treating their staff well.  Make sure you have a contract that specifies your terms as well as your pay, sick days, etc.  The more that is written in black and white, the better off you will be. Do not let yourself get taken advantage of; too often students are desperate for money and employers know this.  Stand up for yourself and your rights; you are offering them a service as much as they are helping you out with employment. No one is doing anyone any favors here.

Managing Your Finances

Sometimes, finances can be a real strain on a college student.  The trick is of course to budget well. But what about those less fortunate students who simply don’t have any money with which to budget?  There are loans.  But you have to be careful…very careful.  You want to take out a legal loan with good terms and this requires significant research.  Try to look at the loans that are most popular with students like yourself; check out the reputation of the companies first.  Also make sure you can speak to other students who have used this loan company in the past – word of mouth is probably the best PR.  In addition, have a lawyer friend look over the terms and conditions before you sign anything.  You should definitely research getting the best deal before signing anything.

New Religions

As a student you will come across a lot of new religions and cultures.  Campuses are full of them and they all want your attention.  There is nothing wrong with finding out about these – in fact, that is part of the whole educational process.  But while you make your discoveries, don’t let yourself get sucked in.  There are a lot of dangerous cults out there and students are some of the most vulnerable people where these are concerned.  So a few cautionary words of advice:  never hand over money (religion is about being spiritual, not material); if you go away with a group, make sure you know at least one other person and also the location that you are visiting; don’t spend too much time with the group at the expense of other things; if they start trying to convince you to change your clothes or your way of life, get out and get out fast.  In other words, exercise caution and common sense at all times.

Trying New Images

A lot of students use their time in college to try out a new image.  They want to discover all different parts of themselves and so they might look for a physical change.  A new hairstyle; different make-up, or completely new clothes.  These are all fine and good but what if the change you want to make has a permanent affect, like a tattoo?  What should you do then?  In this case you will probably be well advised to try to do it temporarily…at least at first.  No matter how convinced you are that you want the name of the most amazing guy tattooed across your arm, you really might not feel that way in 10 years’ time.  So just consider the possibility of making this a temporary measure initially.  Getting a haircut is no big deal; hair can always grow back, but getting a tattoo is very hard to remove once it is on.  So look into the temporary ones while you are finding your new self.

Making Time for Loved Ones

Often, when we first begin a new schedule, it can be very difficult to fit everything in.  This is often a real challenge for students, who have moved away from home for the first time and are having to manage everything on their own.  What happens is that they have a hard time getting their priorities right.  It’s not that they are doing this intentionally; it’s more a case of not knowing how to juggle everything. But, this need not necessarily be a problem.  Students would be well advised to write down a list of priorities and then work out how to stick to it.  It is all too easy to forget about loved ones, especially when they are all too often far way geographically.  But these days, with cheap phone plans, IM and even Skype, staying in touch has never been easier.  Remember the days when it would take up to a week for a letter to travel overseas; now you can access those important to you with the mere click of a button.  So make sure you have your Skype or other piece of technology set up ahead of time and that way you will find it easy and fun to stay in touch.

Sleeping Well

Insomnia is a common problem among students.  This is even more so, at the beginning of your college career since you have no doubt undergone a huge change of pace and environment.  Still, there is no need to panic since there are many ways of dealing with this.  More importantly, there are many very healthy ways of dealing with this that should sort out the problem in no time at all.  First of all, never resort to drugs.  That is always a bad idea.  Sleeping pills are only meant to be used in very specific short-term temporary emergency situations such as when one is grieving and even then one need to consult a medical expert.  So what else can be done with regular insomnia?  Here are some basic tips:
a)    Get into a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
b)    Stop drinking caffeine at least 5 hours before you want to fall asleep
c)    If you are likely to be buzzing all night with worries, make sure you take a pen and paper and write a list of all the things you want to deal with TOMORROW and then put it away
d)    Take a bath
e)    Have a warm milky drink
f)    Turn off the phone
g)    Turn off the TV
h)    Make peace with loved ones.
All of these small tips are very easy to implement and can really make a difference to your entire sleep pattern.  It might seem like a hassle at first, but within no time at all you will come to look forward to your bedtime routine as you see how much it benefits the quality of your overall sleep.