Getting by as a student is often a challenge. Realistically, you can only spend so much of your time working if you’re also going to have time to study, so your income will be limited. This makes it important to plan ahead and work out what you’re really going to need and what you can do without. Being well organized at this stage will make it a lot easier for you to budget over the semesters that follow.
If you’re staying in student accommodation, the chances are that a lot of what you need will already be available to you. You’ll need to make sure that you have, at the very least, a comfortable bed, a desk or table to work at, and a well-constructed chair that won’t cause you back pain if you spend a lot of time in it. You’ll also need somewhere to store clothes and food, as well as access to washing and cooking facilities – often these are shared space in campus accommodation.
For most students, technology in the classroom is now a given from an early age, and you won’t be able to get by without a decent computer. A laptop is the best option as you’ll be able to carry it around with you. A good microphone is useful for recording classes (with permission) so that you can concentrate on what you’re hearing at the time, rather than on taking notes. If you invest in good speakers, your laptop can also be your television and music station.
Though some students shudder at the thought, not all studying can be done through a computer. While most colleges now make a lot of resources available online, you will also need books. Not all of these will be available from the library, and even if they are, there will be queues for access, so you should be prepared to buy at least some of them. You’ll also need bookshelves on which to keep them.
If you’re majoring in a scientific, medical, or engineering discipline, you may need specialist study equipment. Ask course organizers about this ahead of time, and make sure that you can access what you need. Students who have taken the course before can also be helpful with this.
When you’re studying hard, it can sometimes feel as if you have no time for looking after yourself. The Sleep Styler is a useful product that helps you get a comfortable night’s sleep and style your hair at the same time so that you can keep looking and feeling good.
Your college experience shouldn’t all be about hard work. Social activity can actually be important for your future career prospects as the connections that you make will help you network going forward, but aside from that, you deserve to have some fun. Make sure that you have a flexible wardrobe that includes clothes suitable for parties, clubs, and your favorite sports activities. Consider the sports equipment that you might need in order to join in with campus-based societies. Having a musical instrument, if you can play one, also increases your social options and can help you entertain people who visit your accommodation.
If you’re living off-campus, or if you regularly have to travel further afield in the course of your study or social activities, you should think about how you’re going to get around. Depending on where you are, a bicycle can be a great option, as long as there are secure places where you can store it. It will also help you keep in shape. You could also consider a car, but remember that this will entail gas costs and parking fees. In many cities, it’s more practical to get a frequent user discount card for public transport, and sometimes there are cheaper versions of these for students.
There are a number of different student discount cards that you can get to use when traveling further afield. These can be helpful when you’re visiting your folks, or if, for instance, you want to spend a summer abroad to support your language major. Sit down and do the math before you buy to make sure that what might seem like a great deal will actually mean real savings.
Once you’re studying, you’ll need to budget for ongoing essentials such as food, fuel, and internet costs. If you’ve already bought the big things, you’ll find it easier to keep your finances in order and avoid getting into debt. Money may be tight, but the better you understand what you can afford, the better you can make it work for you.