How To Crush the College Experience (The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received)

When I was given the opportunity to write at My University Money, I was extremely excited. I have a strong desire to inform and educate young adults with their finances. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for personal finance tips – you might as well stop reading. This article has nothing to do with “Money,” but everything to do with “My University.”

I Did College All Wrong

I spent most of my childhood wishing I were an Architect. I didn’t necessarily want to be an architect when I grew up; I actually wanted to be an architect at that time. Instead of lying in bed like many little ones drawing big buildings and exotic homes, I was drawing floor plans. I was intently measuring to make sure each stud was in place, and each electrical outlet logistically made sense.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I actually landed my first internship. I worked at a nearby architectural and engineering firm. Everything was falling into place, and I thought I was reaching the pinnacle of my career at age 16. What a young stud…

I spent the entire summer scanning – not my idea of fun. Skyscrapers weren’t popping up quite at the rate I was hoping.

I tell you about this turn-off because it set me back in my collegiate plans. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, but I wasn’t too sure anymore.

By the time I made it to college, I was a lost little soul. I tried taking a few architectural classes. They were far too artistic and not very technical (keep in mind I didn’t draw buildings, but floor plans). I tried taking chemistry courses to follow in my father’s footsteps, but that didn’t keep my attention either. I would joke that my professor really knew how to put the “bore” in “Boron.”

At this point, I was 1.5 years into my college experience and still had not-a-clue on what-to-do. But then, oddly enough at a party, I found clarity. While I was “exercising my liver,” I was introduced to the Fraternity’s sponsor. I spoke to him for hours. I told him the difficulty I was having – and that’s when he gave me the best advice I’ve ever received.

The Best Advice For College Students

It may seem like you have a million choices, which you do; but ultimately, you only have three. Every day when you wake up, you have to make a decision between three options. You can study. You can party. You can sleep. The dilemma is that each day, you can only choose two of the three.

You can study and you can party, but you won’t have time to sleep. You can party and you can sleep, but you won’t have time to study. If you can ever find the balance between all three – you will crush your college experience.

P.S. I Love You, Economics

This same semester, I was enrolled in my first economics course. I’ll admit – the material was drier than the desert. But since I had a newfound respect for learning, I excelled.

I spent my first two years with a GPA around 2.2 and my last two years on Dean’s List. I can only laugh looking back as I received a D in Jazz and an A in Microeconomic Theory.

If only I received the advice sooner…

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

A. Blinkin is the creator of Funancials – The Funny Money Blog. With the growing complexities in the financial industry, Abe attempts to explain all things affecting you and your money in an informative, yet entertaining way.

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I did too much studying! But I loved my college experience and would not change a thing.

Thanks for sharing your advice.

Interesting you were turned on by economics.

My time was spent studying physics and maths, both of which I still love. But my real move was when I ended up working in statistical modelling. Because to understand uncertainty is a great benefit and statistics is the science of uncertainty. It gives you a whole new understanding of every numerate issue…

Are we just boring geeks I wonder? :-)

I’m fairly certain no one would accuse me of “too much studying”… maybe that’s why I’m not rich yet;)

I always knew I was interested in business (as early as 7 years old). I majored in business and pursued a career in accounting and finance. I rose to CFO and left to become an entrepreneur.

Good one. I was an electrical engineering major in college and us nerdy types didn’t have time to party until the quarter was over. The party goers got kicked out during Freshman year. :)

Wow, this is definitely different from the engineers where I went to school! They got their studying done, but the strong male demographic meant copious amounts of adult beverages were consumed as well!

Now that’s a cool “American Dream” story! I used to think finance and business was incredibly boring to be honest. As I got older I became very attracted to the raw challenge and competition of it. It’s one of the few places left where someone can really test themselves.

The best advice I received in college was “Your network determines your net worth” and “In the real world your grades don’t matter. Learn to influence people and lead. You can hire the smart people to work for you” I took this to heart and try to apply this to all my projects in life

*sigh* best years of my life! College was awesome and got better every year, particularly once it all clicked and made sense. Great advice, I think you are spot on.

It got better for me too Shaun. Once I learned all the shortcuts and how to play the game I found myself achieving much more success and having a lot more fun!

Barb Friedberg

I was an econ major and to this day, love economics. But, I should have studied harder as an undergrad. When I got my graduate degrees, I made up for it! :)

Most college students goal is to earn a lot of money when they get out of college with a degree. Someone once told me to treat your gpa as your salary. Even though you are a student, think in a way that you are an employee. For some reason, this helped me with my motivation when I was in college.

Best advice? Run for office on a student organization and get an internship experience. This will set you apart from candidates without experience.

Treat your GPA as your salary is an interesting concept… I’ve heard of high school teachers actually structuring their class along the lines of a business before as well. I just liked learning for the sake of learning personally, if I get my wish of an early retirement, I imagine that I’ll spend most of that time just reading!

TOO MUCH STUDYING!?!?? Isn’t that an oxymoron? It’s like too much saving. It’s just not possible…

Boring geeks? Absolutely not. Well – maybe when taught by Europeans (I could never really understand my professors). I enjoyed Calculus but for some reason couldn’t get into Statistics as much. There were a few Econometrics courses which were far from riveting. Looking back, I wish I would’ve taken more psychology courses because right now Behavioral Economics is my jam.

Very interesting and congrats on your rise through the ranks. (I think I may know the answer to this but) If you were to do it all over again – would you stay corporate or do you wish you had taken the entrepreneurship route sooner?

I didn’t fall in love with business right away. It’s kind of corny – but I didn’t enjoy business until Donald Trump came out with The Apprentice. I couldn’t stop watching it.

I went to a University with a very large/good engineering program. It was funny because it was the only program that didn’t have requirements to get in (no barriers to entry). Staying in; however, was extremely difficult.

The engineers went 4 years without partying – but post graduation – they get to party into retirement. While the ones that partied those 4 years are scrambling to survive.

Exactly. Once you find that clarity, the game becomes so easy. Almost like playing nintendo w/ a game genie. Anyone?

If treating your GPA like a salary is the key – then I suppose you could say I was volunteering for a few years.

HAHA you weren’t the only one I’m sure!

The Apprentice was a guilty pleasure. The people were obviously very capable, but I just thought the tasks were little artificial. Loved the entertainment value though.

This is basically what JB did to a large extent, and I did to a lesser degree. The experience is good, but I would argue the connections you make are even more valuable!

I’ve heard this story from a lot of people Barb, but I mean really, how hard do most people really work in their undergrad? Then again, I’m currently taking my masters in education and it is basically a joke at times.

I’ll never forget I ended up with a B instead of an A in Macroeconomics. The class was at 8:00 in the morning and I was doing too much partying and not enough sleeping. I never missed a session, but I decided to catch up on a little shut eye during class. I bombed one exam after going an entire semester of passing my other exams with scores in the high 90s. This taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t take 8:00 classes.

That sucks… bet you know your economics these days! I’ve learned so much in my blogging adventures I feel like I could teach introduction economics courses!

Barb – what did you get your graduate degree(s) in??

There was a similar saying when I was at Oxford. People used to say that you could only survive Oxford if you picked 3 activities out of: studying, sport, sleep, relationship, social life.

I studied hard, swam even harder and I was in a relationship. Squeezing in a social life was seriously tough and for 3 years, I felt like I barely ever slept!

That said I went about my masters in a much healthier way than my undergrad degree. No all-night essay writing sessions, for one!

Hey Harri, anyone that went to Oxford was probably pretty committed I’m guessing? How much success did you have as a swimmer?

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