By Justus Wataru | Contributing Writer
(aka someone who made a lot of mistakes in his first year at KCC)
Making a few missteps in your first year of college is unavoidable, but there are some entirely avoidable mistakes that will set you back needlessly. Here are 10 to avoid to save yourself a lot of headache and make your first year just a little bit easier (and possibly a lot less expensive).
1. Late Registration
I registered two days before the start of my first semester, scrambling to find classes I could take that had an open seat. If you enjoy early starts and late finishes to your day with four-hour gaps in between classes, late registration may be good for you. Otherwise, register as soon as you’re allowed to.
2. Not Talking to a Counselor
Yes, it’s time consuming and the wait to see them can be long. You can get by on your own, but the counselors are smarter than you and they’re here to help. A one-hour meeting once or twice a semester can save you a lot of money, time, and stress.
3. Subway Fatigue
The Subway in the Iliahi building taught me a valuable lesson: Even though something may be the most convenient option, it’s not necessarily the best. No matter how good the bread smells or how tempting the $3.50 sub of the day is right now, eating there more than once or twice a week will make you question how much you liked sandwiches in the first place.
4. Not Using a Planner
You’re not in high school anymore; your teachers don’t care if you didn’t know a test was coming up. Get a planner, write in it, and follow it religiously. Don’t give them the satisfaction of laughing at your panic and hitting you with the knockout blow: “It’s on the syllabus.”
5. Spending My Own Money
The government wants to give you money. A select few particularly benevolent rich people want to give you money. You parents do not want to give you money, and you certainly don’t want to spend more of your own money than is necessary. Applying is easier than you might think, and you’d be surprised at how willing to give you money people other than your parents are.
6. Playing the Parking Game
Parking at KCC may not cost any money, but it’s far from free. We pay for it every day in lost time and righteous anger. Learn what parking lots are closest to your classes and when they’re full in order to figure out what time you need to be there. This will vary depending on the day of the week, so be ready for anything.
7. Paying Full Price for Textbooks
Amazon is your friend, and renting is often a great option. Old editions of textbooks are usually effectively identical to the newest version, and can be hundreds of dollars cheaper. You can save $500 a semester if you’re willing to wait for shipping and maybe deal with a little loose binding here and there.
8. Trying to Make it as a Lone Wolf
Will you meet your new best friend or future spouse at KCC? Maybe. Probably not. I don’t know. But I do know how important it is to develop some sort of relationship with the people in your classes. Need to ask somebody if/when something is due or to send you the notes from the class you missed? It’s gonna be tough if you don’t know the names of anyone in the class.
9. Compass Complacency
If you think you even have a chance of testing out of a class, go for it. It’s tempting to take a class you know you can get pass easily and nobody is eager to voluntarily sign up to take a test. But you can save time and money and maybe even graduate earlier if you take more advanced classes earlier.
10. Ignoring Extra Credit
Your teachers want you to do well in their classes. Many generously offer opportunities for you to earn extra credit, and for a lot of people, not taking advantage of them is foolish. Those extra point can make the difference between an A and a B in the class.