Monday, April 28, 2008

[Feature] College: Enjoy It While It Lasts .. (Seriously)

We're entering the last week of April, and while that may mean many different things to you, to a good chunk of our loyal readers, this means you are one step closer to graduating college and entering the 'real world.' The writers of Life in Boxes have been college graduates for a while now, some longer than others, but we all agree on one thing: the last couple of weeks of second semester senior year was awesome. You may be stressed out about taking your finals, or finding that elusive job, or even ready to leave the place you called home for the last 4 years, but whatever your outlook on life may be at this point, one thing is clear: you are never going to get these last weeks back, so enjoy your time for all it is worth.

There are so many things that college offers you that you're not going to find anywhere else, any other time in your life. We put together a list of things you should definitely be taking advantage of, before you're booted out into the real world. So, read up, go out, take advantage, and thank us later. Congratulations, seniors, you're almost there!!

1) Dining Hall / Local Food
From simple breakfast foods such as waffles and endless bowls of cereal, lunch takeouts of burgers, and dinners ranging from grilled salmon to Taco nights, it’s no wonder why so many college students fall prey to the Freshman 15. But aside from the overwhelming buffet-style of various cuisines in the local dining hall, the eateries unique to the nearby college campuses are worth talking about. $.05 wing nights are usual college foodie favorites, as well as food akin to the area itself (Philly cheesesteaks for those lucky to be in campuses in Philadelphia or fat cats to Rutgers students in New Brunswick). Get more bang for your buck while you have the opportunity to, ‘cause food isn’t as great or cheap back at home.

2) Health Center
As of now, we don't have universal health care in this country. Which means, unless you're lucky enough to be employed at a company with benefits, you're either not likely to have health insurance, or shelling out a lot for it. When you're enrolled in college, you're most likely than not under some sort of mandatory health plan. You may be as healthy as can be, but you never know when allergies will strike, the flu virus, or god forbid- mono, might attack, or, um, you need an emergency dose of the morning after pill, stat. Whatever. The health center has all of these options available for you, at anytime.

3) Gym
A gym membership in the real world can cost you anywhere between $40-$90 per month. That adds up to a lot by the end of the year. One of the greatest free services at school is the gym. Even if your school isn't known for athletic centers, the least your school's gym can have are a couple of cardio machines, weights, and a track, right? People pay good money to use that stuff. And if you're friends with people who are athletes, voila, instant personal trainers/gym buddies!

4) Computer Center/Library Services
Do you know how much a research paper costs to make? It's more than you probably think. First comes the hundreds of dollars a year to keep the school connected to Lexis Nexus and other academic databases. Second is all the paper and ink used on printing up research and your paper. Everyone takes the computer lab and library services for granted when they're at school and it's only after you have to pay $40 for printer ink that you realize how sweet it really was.

5) Student ID Discount
When you're in college, you're poor, but it's expected. So that means you can get discounts to lots of cool things. Retailers like Apple and J. Crew offer 10% discounts. Also, most movie theaters and Broadway shows and museums offer cheaper admissions. Hell, you can even get discounts on airplane tickets in college.

College students are poor, but it's okay. After you graduate, you're still poor, but nobody cares. And that's sad.

6) Sporting Events
Admittedly, not all colleges are sports-affluent. But for those who are a part of a college where sports athletes are revered as local celebrities and the identity of the college mascot is known to only those in sports, going to at least one college sporting event is vital to complete your college life. Sure, watching the game in your dorm with school friends is fun and all, but nothing beats being with a stadium full of people cheering for the same team. Home games are a must, and if you’re a student, games are virtually free – though, you might have to wait all night in line for tickets. But when your college team wins, it’s definitely worth it.

7) Free Campus Events
College is plenty expensive so when they give you things for free, take advantage of it. Colleges love attention and pretty much have an event going on hourly. Listen to the US Ambassador to China speak on globalization at 5PM, then make it out to a performance of your school's orchestra at 8PM. Or maybe you'd prefer the Mario Kart tournament at 1PM followed by karaoke at your dormitory at 7PM. There's an event for everyone. Most importantly, these free events are usually accompanied by free food.

8) Nightlife
Now that you have saved money from attending all those free events you can spend it on what you really want: Alcohol! Nightlife in the real world is generally reserved for either Friday or Saturday, rarely both. The weekend in college generally starts on Thursday, runs until Sunday, and is brought back for Boozeday Tuesdays and Wasted Wednesdays. We strongly recommend finding your limits while in college; there are few things sadder than a grown man/woman who doesn't know when to say when. Nightlife isn't restricted to drinking and dancing. There are plenty of other options: baseball, hockey, and basketball games, comedy clubs, concerts, shows, etc... Don't feel like you have to drink.

However, finding eateries open past 2 AM are encouraged to round off the night. What other great memory to have than a group of about 35 seniors jumping around in a circle, outside of a bar at 4:30 AM, singing "Don't you know, pump it up, you got to pump it up!" College is a unique experience kids, enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

boo .. what am i going to do after college =(

Girlfriend of one of Jen's three + boyfriends said...

What do I miss about college and what do I enjoy about no longer being in college. For one, I miss having the opportunity to learn about really awesome subject matter on a daily basis. Another aspect of college I did not realize I'd miss so much is working by myself. I've met so many jackasses during my couple of years out of college and so wish to go back to those years where I had a chance to read by myself, work by myself, produce something by myself, etc...Another thing that I miss about college: NOT having to see utility bills and actually being comfortable in my room because I'd use heat!

Nevertheless, what I like about not being in college anymore is finally seeing my savings account grow and realizing that I have options - - not just when it comes to how I'll invest my money, but how I get to spend it because spending five dollars no long has to be justified!

Anonymous said...

Oh cruel world here I come.