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Bill Bergeman


How could students get more from college?

I earned two bachelor's degrees and a masters degree, so with all that time spent on campus I feel I've learned quite a bit of what do to - and what not to do - in college.

    1. Don't go.

    You can learn a trade or start an online business, gain far more experience and real-world education, and get at least a four-year jump on earning money relative to your college-attending peers.

    If the internet was around when I graduated high school, especially with all the great tools it has to offer now, I would have skipped college and built businesses while sitting at home rent-free with my parents.

    2. If you have to go, party as much as possible.

    There will be no better time in your life when you have the fewest responsibilities, have the youth and vigor, and be around so many similar people, as you'll experience in college. So, don't be afraid to have a good time!

    3. Apply a 3:1 ratio of school work to partying.

    Going to college is a pointless waste of time and money if you ONLY party (and we all know people who did that). You should have a good time, but if you're not showing up to class, completing your work, and actually learning something, then quit and go do something better with your life.

    4. Work a part-time job while in school.

    It will give you an appreciation for earning money while balancing school work and your social life - something you'll have to do when you enter the real world. And, of course, you'll have a bit of side income.

    If you can do something in customer service, that would be ideal.


    If you feel you have to take out debt to complete a degree, even if you plan on being a lawyer or doctor, DON'T DO IT and go do something else. Full stop.

    Unless you're going to make a HUGE sum of money during your lifetime, or you're only taking out a small amount (less than 10K), you're going to live a life of debt servitude. Go into Google and type in student debt stories if you don't believe me.

    As much as they're praised in our society and supposedly earn great incomes, there are still thousands of doctors and lawyers who will never make enough money to pay off their student debt. So, how do you think you're going to recover from $200K in debt with your liberal arts degree?


    Just in case you missed it the first time, or you've been living under a rock the last three years and haven't noticed all the talk about student debt relief.

    7. Get to know interesting faculty members.

    If you have a class with a professor who piques your interest and curiosity, visit them during their office hours. Offer to volunteer to do grading or some other task that might be beneficial. Getting to know these people can help open doors to new opportunities, such as internships, being part of research studies, or doing independent projects with them in the future. Plus, you might end up making lifelong friends with an intelligent human being who could be your peer in 5-10 years.

    8. Keep your parents apprised of your school progress.

    They'll appreciate it, and you'll appreciate their support and advice. This is doubly important if they're the ones paying the bill.

    9. Do volunteer work.

    This can really be anything, even something on campus. You won't have a lot of time for it, but it will teach the importance of giving something of yourself to others and that can develop into a lifelong habit.

    10. Make lifelong friends.

    Perhaps the best thing to come out of college is all the connections you can make. Cherish them, stay in touch, and you'll have great friends for as long as you live.

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