The benefits to working a job in college.

My First Job At College Helped Teach Me Some Of The Most Valuable Life Lessons

It can be hard to balance working life and school, but I gained so much from the experience.

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Two years ago I got my first job working for the Adventure Leadership Program at my campus's recreation center. In this job, I am a rock climbing instructor and adventure trip guide. Since this is my last semester at my university I realized I have gained so much real-life experience by working at my first job.

I will always be a bit of a perfectionist, but I have come to understand that mistakes happen. There are times when I accidentally clocked in incorrectly or forgot to come in for a shift. As soon as I make a mistake I contact my boss and own up to it. Working is not about straining for perfection, but rather reaching for excellence. Admitting when I am wrong is the best way I can be corrected.

It's okay for others to have different personalities. The employees at the Adventure Center all have different personalities. If you have ever taken the personality colors to test you know there are four colors a personality can be: blue, orange, gold, and green. At our last staff meeting, we took the test. As I look around the room after figuring out I am a blue I realize how different we all are. Understanding other personalities help me anticipate their needs easier. For a long time, I just assumed people with type A gold personality type were unnecessarily particular about details and being on time, but I have learned that every personality is needed in the workplace. We all have something to bring to the table.

Being late matters. When I am late it affects everyone else. If I am going in for a closing shift it means that staff from the earlier shift stay until I arrive. If I am late for an opening shift it means that my other coworkers have to pick up the slack and set everything up by themselves. Overall, my lateness is no longer about me. While I wish I didn't have to count minutes or ever look at a watch I want to be sure I am respecting other's time so they respect mine.

Another valuable lesson my job has taught me is the value of a dollar. Now I look at that Chipotle bowl and think to myself that is a whole hour of work. Growing up my parents didn't have a ton of money, but we always had enough. I never really thought about how much food and living expenses are. I used to beg my parents to go out to restaurants. In hindsight, I am so glad we didn't go out to eat a lot growing up because now I see how it can dig into my savings.

Not everything I do is glamours, but all of it is important. I get chalk all over my pants and calluses on my hands. Loading canoes into the boat shed is my least favorite activity. Even still I know that the overall mission of our organization is to get students to participate in outdoor/indoor adventure activities. With this mission in mind, I am able to push on through the tasks I see as more mundane. Knowing your purpose is essential for excelling in all areas of the workplace.

It can be hard to balance working life and school, but I gained so much from the experience. I highly recommend you find your own job on campus. That way you can walk right from your class to work.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs / Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out RedBubble for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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16 Pro Tips For Freshman At Missouri State

Bear Up!

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Missouri State is seriously the best college and they always do their best to help their students succeed. It takes a lot to get through freshman year and here are some pro tips from people that have been there and done that.

1. Use a planner for EVERYTHING

Whether it is a cute Lily planner, one from the book store, or even your phone, write down everything. Assignments and activities build up fast and you will be grateful that you know what is happening when.

2. Don't be afraid to ask questions

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The professors really want you to talk to them so go ahead and ask that question. I can't express how many times I have had a question be asked by another person and also how many times my questions went unanswered because I was too afraid to ask.

3. Go to class

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It is so easy to get in the habit of skipping class, I am a junior trust me because I have been there, but a lot of gen eds take attendance for a reason. They want you to go to class so just go; your grade will thank you later.

4. Get involved

Missouri State has over 350 organizations on campus to choose from and they make it so easy to start your own so definitely get involved. There is something for everyone.

5. Don't be afraid to sleep in public places

The library is huge and has a lot of nooks and crannies to grab a quick nap (as does the PSU) so take advantage of that. You will be begging for sleep in between classes and there will come a day when you pass out in the library. Its okay; we all do it.

6. Always say yes to new friends

College can be a big place and Springfield is an amazing place to explore, but be sure to do it with friends because it is more fun. I was at Potters House and a friend of mine met a random girl and they wound up going to see the house from The Act that same night. Always say yes to new friends.

7. Qdoba is just a short walk away

Missouri State does a great job at cooking a variety of food and making it really good but sometimes dorm food is just too much. Qdoba is just a short walk away and is definitely worth the walk.

8. The veggie burgers and grilled chicken are hidden

If you want a healthier option just ask.

9. Use the gym

The freshman 15 is real and we also have a local version... the Mo State 28 (which is also real) so go use the super awesome rec center.

10. Going out every weekend WILL drain your bank account

It is fun to go out, but it is not worth the cover charge of every club you want to hop to. That $5 cover charge will add up in a night and in a weekend so save your money and pick and choose when to go out.

11. If you have a bad roommate, request a change

It is okay to change rooms. Your room will become your home away from home and it should be a place you feel comfortable being. Talk to your RA if you ever have any issues. It is what they are there for and they would love to help you.

12. Party with friends and not acquaintances... there's a difference

Acquaintances will go out with you and leave you at a club alone with a strange guy and not care if you get home because they didn't tell you they were leaving. Friends will stay with you no matter what and will make sure you get home. There is a real and important difference. Learn it.

13. Use the Bear CLAW

The Bear CLAW is a free tutoring resource located in the library. You can drop in or make an appointment but the tutors are amazing and reliable. You can check online to see who and what is being held when. Also, a lot of departments on campus have their own tutoring center and those are also heaven sent.

14. Most of the PSU vendors do not take gift cards

Tragic but true; Starbucks does take them though! Save those gift cards for when you go home and use your Boomer Meals instead.

15. Don't buy every t-shirt you see

Missouri State's t shirt game is strong but you do not need every one you see. Take it from me, it is WAY too much to pack.

16. Go to the activities that are put on

Anything that SAC gets their hands on is a TON of fun and it is all free. Might as well take advantage of it.

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