5 College Decisions You Need to MakeBy Ernest Hamilton, UniversityHerald Reporter
If you finish high school, you're ready for your life's next phase. For some people, that means joining the working world. Others will be college-bound.
If you have the grades, you should certainly consider college. If you can get a reputable university degree, you can get a job that pays a lot more. Having just a high school diploma limits your options significantly.
If you're going to college, you'll need to make several decisions. Each one can have a significant impact.
Should You Be Sexually Active?
When you go to college, you might want to sow some wild oats. You know there are campus parties, and many young people will be looking for sexual partners.
In a way, you should expect this behavior. It's because:
Many of these young people are on their own for the first time
Some individuals want to act recklessly before settling down
College is synonymous with wild behavior as much as studying. It's all about the experience you want.
However, if you decide to be sexually active, you need to be sure to use protection. STD incidences are on the rise since 2013. You have to watch out for things like HIV, gonorrhea, herpes, and more.
Also, if you're sexually active, you could get pregnant or impregnate someone. That might seriously impact your plans if you decide to have the baby, or the woman you impregnated does.
Make sure you monitor your sexual activity carefully, or you could refrain and focus on your studies.
Should You Live on Campus?
You must choose whether you'd like to live in the dorms if that's an option for you. You might decide this is the best housing solution. If you live in the dorms:
You may find studying easier
You often have laundry and dining facilities in the same building or close by
If you live off-campus, you usually have more freedom. You can rent a house or apartment with multiple other individuals, and you can have parties there if you want. You don't have to worry about resident advisors spoiling your good time.
However, if you live in the dorms, it's often a better solution if you're more academically inclined. You can probably study for tests and do homework there with no problems. If you live in an off-campus situation, your roommates might want to party all the time, and your grades might suffer.
Also, if you reside in the dorms, there's often a laundry room on-site or one or two buildings over. There is usually a convenient cafeteria where you can get a meal plan. If you live off-campus, you might be some distance away from food, laundry facilities, etc.
Should You Go to College Out-of-State?
You'll need to think about whether you should stay in your home state or your home town for college, or whether you want to go farther afield. Maybe you don't like your family very much, and you can't wait to get away from them. If so, you might want hundreds or thousands of miles separating you from them.
If you like your family, you'll want to stay closer. That way, it's much easier to drive home, catch a flight, or take a train or bus.
Maybe you even want to live at home as you go to college. If you're still living with your parents, you won't have as much freedom to cut loose, but it's cheaper, assuming your parents are not charging you rent.
In this economy, that might be the ideal solution. It's all about whether your parents will allow you to stay and whether you get along with them.
Should You Consume Alcohol?
If you're out on your own for college, you will have party opportunities. Maybe you have some frats or sororities off-campus. You might pledge one of them, or you might attend some parties there.
Even if you are underage, you will probably have some chances to drink alcohol. It's part of the college tradition, and even if you're still eighteen or nineteen years old, it should not be difficult to get your hands on some adult beverages if you want them.
If your parents are no longer around, you have to moderate and control your behavior. This means that ultimately, you will be the one deciding whether you want to indulge.
Whether you're of legal drinking age or not, alcohol can get you in trouble if you're not careful. It can be a study distraction. You might go overboard with it and give yourself alcohol poisoning.
Getting your stomach pumped is not a lot of fun, nor is blacking out and not remembering what you did the previous night. If you are going to indulge, control yourself.
Should You Try Other Drugs?
Most people also understand there are drugs on college campuses. You might encounter things like marijuana, acid, mushrooms, molly, etc. There are also prescription pain meds like Oxycodone or Percocet.
Like alcohol, it's you who decides whether you want to try any of these things. Assuming you're no longer living at home, your parents are no longer around to moderate your behavior.
You need to ask yourself what your priorities are. If you try drugs, you endanger your academic standing. Also, you might have some negative experiences.
Some of these drugs are addictive or habit-forming as well. Many of them are illegal, so if the police catch you and you're carrying them, you can face arrest or jail time. You can get yourself in a lot of trouble if you're not careful.
College can be one of life's most exciting times. You're probably experiencing more freedom than you ever had before.
It can overwhelm you sometimes. What you have to remember, though, is that even if you feel young and invincible, the decisions you make can have profound real-world consequences.
Hopefully, you'll stick to your studies, and any partying you do, you'll do in moderation. You don't want to waste all that tuition money you're spending.