Recently I explored things high school grads should think about. Now it’s time to take a quick look at some really dumb mistakes college students make coming out. Whether you dropped out or graduated, here are words of wisdom (or warning, depending on point of view) to consider:
Not upping your federal tax withholding. This sounds sort of idiotic, but the tax code treats students differently than non-students. Chances are fairly good you will make just enough to bump yourself into a higher bracket, so do yourself a favor and increase the amount you give Uncle Sam because without a functional knowledge of tax accounting, there’s no way to “zero out” your withholding.
Eating out constantly. Meal plans make this a nasty trap to fall into. You can only eat so much Bologna and ramen noodles, and so those cheap buffets suddenly become expensive because you eat there every night to break the monotony. This is a great lesson…learn to cook, and learn self control
Thinking a “Facebook Scrub” will protect you. Tons of college students “scrub” their Facebook pages of questionable posts and images every year, but the internet is a nasty mistress…once it’s there, it’s there forever. Even a thorough scrub won’t save you from the guy who saw that bra and panty raid pic of you being able to right click and selecting “download.”
Keeping up with…everyone. This has nothing to do with phones and cars. This is about image..friends are spending money on houses and flashy jewelry is bad enough, but it’s when you get married and have kids because your friends are, that’s when it creates life issues. Be yourself, not what someone else expects you to be.
“Finding yourself.” This statement has evolved from the hippie counterculture mantra of the 1960s to the catch-all excuse twenty somethings use to justify a lack of ambition. Want to find yourself? Volunteer with a food bank, animal rescue or join the Peace Corps.
Mom and Dad said I can live with them. Really? You are gonna take them up on that offer? Do yourself and them a favor…don’t be a statistic, be the exception. Get out on your own.
Gotta have my cable. Uh no you don’t. You also don’t need the smartphone or internet. Use the local library, coffee shop or a friends house.
I owe nothing to anyone. Again,gratitude is everything. If you don’t have gratitude or, at least some semblance of humility, the world will notice it and respond in kind.
So, kids, build your karma. What’ll it be? Arrogant entitlement, or grateful work ethic focused on making yourself and the world around you better? If it was my choice again, I would have chosen way differently. Learning opportunity here. As always, check out my website, http://www.getinjohnshead.com, for more.