Now that my first semester of university is officially over, I've managed to learn a decent amount about how college life works. Here are a couple takeaways from my first semester that I can use to better myself in the future.
1. I have way more free time than I thought.
Back in high school and community college, winter break was a much-needed respite from all the homework and commuting. These days, it's a chance for me to do the exact same things I did in my dorm. Sure, you can replace the Tim Horton's with an In-n-Out, but I'm surprised by how much downtime I had my first semester. Maybe that just means there's more room for jobs, clubs, etc.
2. Fountain drinks are super expensive.
I used to order drinks with all my meals whenever I went to restaurants because it was such a rare occasion. Now that I cook exactly zero times per week, I find myself stopping by more and more fast food joints. I always feel bad shelling out two bucks for a cup of lemonade, so maybe spring is the time to cut back.
3. Routine is critical.
It may be little things like going to Raising Cane's every Friday or Starbucks early in the morning to get my readings done, but the habits I've made have helped build a decently structured lifestyle. If I can get some sort of study habit down in 2018, I might almost feel like I've got my life together.
4. So is budgeting.
I thought I could afford to spend a little extra during finals season since hey, I deserve it. Turns out, I conveniently didn't account for the cost of the plane ride back home or the Ubers I had to take to reach the airport. Combine that with the costs of gifts and suddenly I have $300 less than I expected to have by the end of the year.
5. Public transportation exists.
Historically, I've been pretty stubborn when it comes to trains and buses; I never liked the idea of waiting 10 minutes just to get picked up and dropped off a distance away from where I wanted to be. Why not just walk? Well, now that winter's arrived, walking half an hour every day sounds like a death sentence, so I'll have to swallow my pride and put my U-Pass to use.
6. Listen to others.
University is a massive and competitive environment. Chances are everyone's smarter than me in at least area of knowledge. In all honesty, I'll probably need all the help I can get; my road to self-improvement doesn't have to be taken alone.
I highly doubt I've unlocked the secrets to a perfect college life in just one semester, but some of these takeaways provide a step forward in the right direction.