As we enter back-to-school season, we recently asked our Facebook followers: “If you could go back in time, what would be the advice you would give yourself before your first day of college or university?” The answers we got were so interesting and insightful that we wanted to share them again, along with a few of our own thoughts. Take a look!
Jennifer said she would tell her past self to “Take a different course at school.” This is a great point that we’re sure many can identify with because everything happens so fast! There is such a frenetic rush to get into the right school, study, meet new people that you can easily get swept up in a tide. It’s important to take some time and really think deeply about what you enjoy and, ultimately, what you want to do as a profession. A guidance counselor can help with this, too. Bonnie responded similarly: “Research the field you are interested in.”
Stephanie’s advice was to “Have fun because it's a one in a lifetime experience and it goes by SO fast!” This was echoed by several other members, including David, who said, “Enjoy the time in school more.” It’s so true! College or university can be a wonderful experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You don’t want all those memories to be of stressing out over mid-terms. Get out, have a little fun and as Marilyn said, “Be open to meeting and making new friends.” The bonds you forge in university can be among your strongest. Andrea also added a note about the importance of balance: “Work hard and enjoy yourself.”
This leads us to the most popular theme from our member comments — the importance of working hard. While it’s great to have a little fun; at the end of the day, you’re at school to learn. Kris said it well with “Work hard so that you can succeed in bettering yourself and your future.” Meanwhile, Rachel offered inspirational advice: “It's going to be hard but stick with it! It’ll be worth it.” And Enza chimed in, “Don’t give up! Push through and reap the rewards of all your hard work. Take it one day at a time.” Remember to keep your goals in sight; working hard will help you reach them.
Sabbiha noted that she would advise her pre-university-self that “Time management is important.” This cannot be emphasized enough. Between a heavy course-load, extra-curricular sports, hobbies and busy social life, there’s so much to juggle when you’re at school. You don’t want to drop any of those proverbial balls if you can help it! Creating a detailed schedule and sticking to it can really help you stay organized and on-task.
If you’re like most students, you’ll need to make the most of every penny. When you add up the costs of tuition, books, meals, lodging and a healthy social life, it can really put a dent in anyone’s bank account. The first tip by Sandra would be to “Save more money” before your head off to school. A good way to do this is through a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) account, which has special tax benefits for students.
Then, once you’re at university or college, it’s important to “Make a budget and stick to it,” as Laurent put it. This entails forecasting where you plan to spend all your money each month, then tracking your actual expenditures to make sure you’re on the right track. Chris suggested “Pay your bills” which is also important to maintain a good credit rating. And, finally, TaylorLee had another great financial tip: “Take advantage of student memberships to help save!”
We want to thank all our social followers for all the pearls of wisdom they shared, and hope you’ve found their tips useful. To ensure you’re financially prepared for your post-secondary journey, our final parting advice would be to check out the Northern Student Strong Bundle. It has everything you need for student life — a Northern Elite Chequing Account, Student Loan and No-Fee Visa Classic Credit Card. And, if you need any financial advice, we’re here for you – just give us a call at the True North Hub. Best of luck at school!