Even though I researched the heck out of college and how to survive in college, I made lots of money embarrassing, glaring mistakes. From being close-minded to missing out on job opportunities, I made several mistakes that impeded me as a business owner and a person.
Money Mistakes I Made as a Freshman in College
1. Not joining enough clubs
In both my freshman and sophomore years of college, I was only a member of one club, African Student Association.
I just sit back and imagine how much learning and network potential I missed out on by only being a member of one club.
Of course, not being that involved on campus has its perks. For instance, I don’t know how I’d have managed too many clubs at once my sophomore year.
But it definitely makes me wonder what life would be like if I was more involved. Who my friends would be, what other resources I would be exposed to, things of that nature.
I would have definitely tried to be more involved in the journalism program to see how they could possibly help my business and website.
2. Not volunteering
Back in high school, I hated volunteering. I learned from an early age not to work for free, and it kind of affected how I faced volunteering.
I know, I know. I was a terrible person.
But what made it worse was the fact that we needed 360 volunteer hours as a student of the magnet program I was in. It wasn’t as difficult to achieve those hours because my friends also needed the hours, and we cracked jokes and made the time more tolerable.
But freshman year when I had no close friends, I always gave volunteering the stank face. Oh, Blossom. Just because a job doesn’t pay doesn’t mean it won’t in the future! I could have volunteered at events where I met my next employer. Or even better: my next client!
The saying, “never work for free” should be applied only in certain cases. Yes, if some sleeze ball wants you to write them a fire product review, or some kid wants you to write their 10-page paper, you shouldn’t work for free (not condoning cheating, btw).
But if you have the opportunity to obtain something of value from an internship or volunteer opportunity, consider it! There are almost always opportunities for networking, and don’t forget, your network is your net worth.
3. Not going to career fairs
My entrepreneurial mindset inspired me to shut down anything involving a part-time or 9-5 job. Why would I work for anyone when I have been comfortably working for myself? Because of this, I didn’t go to any career fairs!
If I knew freshman Blossom personally, I would slap her. She is closing off several opportunities to meet people that might help her business grow even more.
Besides, last summer, I had no job and was miserable. I barely kept my head above water with my clientele. A job would have definitely helped me stay on track with the monthly debt payment I pay. What if I found a summer job at the career fair? After paying off my debt, I could use that extra money and allocate it back into my business.
4. Not paying attention to how much each residence hall costs
I don’t think I did such a terrible job of cutting the costs of college for my mom, but I know a lot of people that did.
First of all, all residence halls aren’t created equally. You can call the office of residence or check your college’s website to learn about which halls are more expensive than others.
And if you’re living off campus, be real with yourself. Don’t just buy a house/apartment just because your friends are doing it. Learn how much everything costs up front. Read contracts carefully and share with your parents before signing anything.
And if your college offers lofts, please, please, do NOT rent a loft without your parents’ permission. Those things will rob your parents.
5. Spending too much time working
If you asked me what I did for fun as an underclassman, I would not be able to tell you.
Well, that’s a lie. I mean, I made Youtube videos. Those were pretty fun.
But as far as going out and exploring Macon, meeting new people, nah. I was ALWAYS working. At the library, for the cluster, for ASA, everything!
I made up for it by going to more clubs and parties my sophomore year, but that was short-lived. There’s only so much you can do as a woman at a college party. Besides get drunk, groped, and/or assaulted.
Taking some time out of my day to walk around and just think would have helped me rebuild my creative juices. It would have helped me pause on work and analyze what had and had not been working. I probably would have realized that I need more than one client to make writing my career. Lots and lots of mistakes indeed.
Mistakes are the greatest teachers. Did I wish I hadn’t made these mistakes? Sometimes. But you can’t know everything. There aren’t many students going the route I’m going through by working on my career while still in college. So of course I’m going to make mistakes. I’m only human.
What are some money/business mistakes you made as a student in college? What are some tips you would advise to today’s freshmen?