Getting Into Bluegrass

Can you remember the last time you heard a great Bluegrass song? Bluegrass music is one of the least understood genres of music in my opinion. From its roots in African traditions to its codification by Bill Monroe, the history of bluegrass is fascinating. Most people don’t realize how much some bluegrass resembles music they already like. However, telling people about bluegrass tends to result in them nodding off. So instead of writing about all that boring stuff, I’ve decided to recommend some songs! I’ve based my recommendations on genres you might already be into, starting with…

Classic Rock

Connoisseurs of this genre will accuse me of generalization when I lump all classic rock together, and truly they’re right. But this is a bluegrass list, not a classic rock list. Therefore, I think it’s appropriate to group it into one category.

Bluegrass

Me and my Guitar by Tony Rice

Besides the album art, this record is nearly perfect. Me and my Guitar really steals the show! Tony Rice, widely considered the father of modern bluegrass guitar, opens with a gorgeous guitar solo. The song format is instantly familiar to any rock fan. Rice’s voice resembles rock legends like Elvis more than I’d like to admit. Lyrically, this song isn’t about the country, economic woes, or a woman. Instead, also like many rock legends, Tony spends a full three minutes singing about his love for his guitar.

Melodic Pop

Are you a Katy Perry or Taylor Swift fan? Well, according to the internet you can’t like both of them. But if you at least like one of the two, then I have the song for you.

Bluegrass

Rye Whiskey by The Punch Brothers

Rye Whiskey is an old bluegrass standard drinking song. For me, it hits all the notes of a Black Eyed Peas song. If that comparison seems dated, you can tell how long it’s been since I’ve had an interest in pop. This song is instantly familiar to anyone who’s recently listened to the billboard top 40. Rye Whiskey follows the traditional 4 chords of pop, but it also has a gorgeous 3 part harmony vaguely reminiscent of the chorus for Twenty Two by Taylor Swift.

R&B

If you love R&B, you probably love it for the gorgeous singing and that funky, rhythmic beat. This song might not be Beyonce, but it’ll probably scratch that same musical itch

Bluegrass

Nashville Highrollers by Owen Campbell

Owen Campbell had his 15 minutes of fame after a video of him taunting the judges on Australia’s got Talent went viral. Since then, he’s fallen back into relative obscurity but his music career is still thriving. An incredible slide guitarist, Campbell creates a cacophony of rhythm akin to R&B’s funk and blues roots. Campbell’s mastered voice and instrument create a wall of sound much in the same way R&B artists do with their voices. With only 25,000 monthly listeners on spotify, does Campbell deserves many more? I think so. Give this song a listen and decide for yourself.

After checking these out, are you interested in bluegrass? Do you disagree with my assessment of any of these songs? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

 

Summer Classes Made Easy

Summer Classes

Like many college students, I’m currently enrolled in a summer class. Adding a summer course is a good way to earn a few extra credits if you are falling behind. If you didn’t do well in a course during the regular semester, consider taking it over the summer. The reduced course-load is perfect for succeeding in any challenging class. However, taking summer classes isn’t always fun. Here are a few tips on how to manage summer classes and still have a great summer.

Online Courses

A variety of classes are available online, especially during the summer semester. Online courses are not for everyone, but they are a great alternative to being stuck inside a classroom during the summer. Online courses offer flexibility. It’s easy to go on vacation because all you need is a few hours and some Wi-Fi to complete the necessary coursework. With many online classes not taking attendance, you can work ahead and then miss a day without having to worry. No more, “Sorry, I have class.” Go out and enjoy the summer! However, don’t let all that freedom corrupt your work ethic. Make sure you submit assignments by the deadlines and participate in online discussion boards with other classmates.

Favorite Teachers

Let’s be honest, everyone has a favorite professor. At the least, they have a professor they’re more fond of compared to others. For an easy way to deal with summer classes, check if that certain professor is teaching any sections you need. As long as it fits within your schedule, take it! By selecting a professor you’re familiar with, you’ll already have an idea of what you’re walking into on the first day. Even better, you’re potentially already on their good side. It is less stressful to have a summer course with a professor you know and like. You may even have a few laughs along the way!

Shorter Term Classes

Many schools offer various course lengths during the summer. Some courses last the entire summer (from June to August), while others are only a few months.  The most intense courses can be as short as five weeks. Instead of being in class all summer, a good alternative is to take one of the shorter, more intense classes. It will be more work, but it only last a few weeks. Then once it’s over, you can have the rest of the summer to do what you please. What’s the greatest part? They’re all worth the same amount of credits, which means it’s a full class even though it’s shortened.

Deciding to take a summer course is never easy. You don’t want it to ruin your summer, but you also want to get ahead on your course load. Before you decide, consider these tips to make taking summer classes a little easier! 

2017 Summer Reading List

If you’re anything like me, summer is a time to be as lazy as possible. However, all that laziness can cause you to stress about being unproductive. You’ve got to do something to feel like a productive member of society, right? What could be better than a summer reading list? It helps hold you accountable and you’ll feel great when you tick off a book on your list. Starting with some fiction and then moving on to non-fiction, here are my recommendations for this summer:

Fiction

The Name of the Wind - Reading List

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This book centers on an old, decrepit hero telling his life story to a biographer.  However, he might exaggerate a little so readers beware! Told via a meta-story taking place in a bar, the protagonist recounts the many twists and turns he endured throughout his life. The Name of the Wind is one of a few books I’ve found which acknowledges life doesn’t always create a cohesive narrative. A combination of gorgeous, poetic writing and an unreliable narrator make this a must for any fantasy fan’s reading list.

The Mistborn Trilogy - Reading List

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

This book is a bit of a twist on traditional high fantasy and takes place after “The Chosen One” saves the world. Mistborn focuses on how absolute power corrupted him absolutely. Later books in the trilogy jump the shark a little bit and any thoughtful commentary on the nature of power goes out the window. However, even if the latter two books lack any real insight, they’re still great magic filled romps. If you find yourself on the fence about reading this series, it’s worth considering Mistborn’s unique perspective.  The trilogy’s protagonist is a woman of color, an under-represented voice in writing.

Dead Beat - Reading List

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

I can’t pretend these are intellectual in any way, but they’re still great books. What could be better than Harry Potter crossed with The Maltese Falcon? That’s right, nothing. The first few books are a bit sub-par, but the world building is second to none and the characters are not only memorable, they’re realistic. Most importantly, you get to see the world through the eyes of a gumshoe wizard. What’s not to like?

Non-Fiction

Three Felonies a Day - Reading List

Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Henry Silvergate

Did you know the average working professional in the US commits approximately three felonies in one day? In this horrifying and fascinating book, Henry Silvergate details how our overly complicated and circuitous criminal justice system helped create a world in which anyone can be arrested for merely existing. Three Felonies a Day will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about justice in the U.S. If your future includes law school, you need to add this book to your reading list.

The Bleeding Edge - Reading List

The Bleeding Edge: Why Technology Turns Toxic in an Unequal World by Bob Hughes

In The Bleeding Edge, Bob Hughes offers a critique of capitalism by focusing in on Silicon Valley. He argues capitalism does not help technology and technological development at all. Offering historical examples from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs, Hughes shows how technological development only truly occurs due to altruism and mutual aid.

Of course, these are just five books you could read this summer. Do you have recommendations? If so, don’t forget to leave them in the comments below!

How to Easily Create a Reading Nook

Reading Nook

Like most avid writers, I am also an avid reader. I have read hundreds of books, including everything from romance novels to educational texts. While I never have trouble finishing a good story, something that does become a challenge is where to read and store these amazing books. As a veracious reader, it’s natural to want a place that’s comfortable and one you can call your own. What you need is a reading nook! If you don’t know what that is or need help setting one up, here’s how to create your very own reading nook!

Find the Perfect Place

Before you can even think of supplies, you need to find the best place to set up. Find a quiet place that makes you feel relaxed. Whether it’s a corner of your bedroom or a bigger space in your basement/attic, find a place that works for you. Many quite places are secluded areas, but be sure it’s not so secluded it becomes hard to access. Remember that you’ll need to be able to bring tons of books into your nook with ease. 

Essential Elements

Now that you have a perfect place, it’s time to get the perfect supplies! First, let’s start off with the seating. It’s important to find a comfortable chair or cushion because you will potentially be sitting for hours reading these novels. A cheaper option for this is simply buying big pillows or cushions. You’re basically set if you buy one to sit on and one to lean up against the wall. Before you buy, make sure the material is to your liking; you won’t want to sit on something scratchy. A possible pricier option is buying a bean bag chair or a small piece of furniture. Bean bag chairs can be extremely comfy, and pieces such as chaise lounges add character as well as comfort. While setting up your seating area, add some smaller pillows and blankets to increases the comfy factor. Using decorative pillows also helps you create your own personal style.

The next element is storage. Getting a small bookshelf to hold books you’re currently reading is essential. A bookshelf also offers table space for needed coffee cups and snacks. If you’re someone who reads better with music playing, a small bookshelf provides space for a portable radio/speaker . Finding the perfect shelf without breaking your budget shouldn’t be difficult. Your local consignment shop will likely have options, or hit up a garage sale and scout out one that works for you. Try to remember it doesn’t need to be brand new, it simply must hold your favorite books.

The final element, but far from the least important, is finding the perfect lighting. The perfect lighting is key because you need to see what you’re reading without straining your eyes. It also adds to the mood you’ll feel when sitting in your newly created nook. For a softer vibe, a cool idea is to buy bright string lights or Christmas lights to hang above your reading nook. A simple table lamp placed on your bookshelf is sufficient as well. Lighting is also an opportunity to show off your personal style! You may want to find a lamp that is your favorite color or represents your favorite themes. Either way, buy something that makes you smile because after all, this is your space.

You’re now all set! You have your perfect spot, a comfortable place to sit, storage for your reading collection, and great lighting fixtures. It wont take long until you notice how much more enjoyable reading is using your new nook. Do you have a perfect nook you like to read in? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

Traveling Cheap While in College

Traveling cheap

Last week, my partner and I went on a very nice vacation to New York City. As normal as that sounds, it’s something I thought would be impossible only one year ago. After all, my parents weren’t about to pay for a vacation in The Big Apple if they weren’t going. However, there were a few little tricks I discovered which made vacationing on my meager, college tour guide income possible. Follow these five simple tips on traveling cheap and go places you thought you never could afford!

Tip 1: Avoid Hotels!

I initially balked at the idea of vacationing in New York simply because I thought a hotel would be too expensive. As it turns out, I was right. However, we didn’t stay in a hotel and really no college student living on a budget should ever stay in a hotel. Look around for a cheap Airbnb, or try staying at a hostel. After all, you’ll simply be sleeping there. It doesn’t need to be a five star Vegas suite to comfortably rest your eyes for a few nights.

Tip 2: Make sure the place you’re staying at has a kitchen and cook your meals.

I can’t say enough about how much cheaper this one mantra made our trip. Food in big cities is expensive, no matter how cheap you try to make it. If you get a cheap sandwich and a drink, that’s easily a good ten dollars. Multiply that by three meals over five days and you’ve got an uncomfortably high expense of $150 per person. Unfortunately, that estimate is also on the lower end for big cities. By giving up eating out for most meals and buying groceries instead, we spent about $50 on food for a full week.  Now that is traveling cheap! If you follow this advice your meals might not be the most glamorous (lunch was a bagel with peanut butter and an apple most days), but hey, you’re here to see the sights. You can get plenty of better, more affordable food back home.

Tip 3: Find out what’s free, and then do it.

Free concert? Add it to the list. Free museum hours? Mark them down also. Free street fair, street performances, or bar trivia without a cover charge? Mark all of them as to-dos. Just because something is free doesn’t mean it’ll disappoint. If you play your cards right, you can even weasel your way into some paid activities for free (or at least for cheap). For instance, The Met in New York only has a suggested admission price. Do I feel guilty about only paying ten dollars for two people? A little, but it’s hard to feel anything other than awe when you’re staring a 4,000 year old egyptian mummy in the face, especially when the experience didn’t break the bank.

Tip 4: Budget for your trip, then follow through with it.

Know how much you want to spend and stick to it. Before the trip, try to plan out all anticipated costs in advance. You’ll want to know what’s essential before you start splurging. For instance, if your ticket to see the sights is in the form of a $35 subway pass, you need that more than you need a street kebab. It’s not only essential and worth budgeting for, a subway pass also won’t give you food poisoning. Once you’ve planned out all your important and unavoidable expenses, you can take what’s left over and use it towards feeding your need for instant gratification. Keep in mind unexpected expenses are part of traveling, so be sure to save a little cash to cover unplanned travel needs.

Tip 5: Remember to Have fun

Budgeting is great and all, but your vacation is about having fun. If you get caught up trying to save every dollar possible while traveling cheap, you’re likely going to miss out. It’s important to give yourself some spending money so when an unexpected opportunity arises, you can get out there and have fun. If you can afford to cut loose, then why not splurge a little? After all, life can’t always be about scrimping and saving.

Traveling is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be outside of your reach. While most college students face a tight budget, proper planning and thrifty ideas can make traveling cheap possible. While the thread count of my Airbnb sheets might not have stood up to the expectations of some ritzy New York travelers, we shared the exact same view of the mummies inside the Met.

 

Overcome Writer’s Block With These Summer Writing Exercises

Writer's Block

Ah, the summer is here and you’re ready to kick back and relax. If you spent last semester struggling to overcome writer’s block, picking up a pen is probably the last thing you’re planning on doing over summer break. However, soon next semester will sneak up on us and you’ll be back to stressing over how to start writing a paper. The truth is, there is no secret to being a great writer. Simply put, practice makes perfect. Writing and reading are exercises for your mind. The more you practice the craft, the better you will become. You shouldn’t stop writing simply because the semester ended. When school starts back, lose the stress by practicing these four writing exercises over the summer:

Free Write

Some students appear able to begin writing a paper without taking any time to brainstorm. Before class is dismissed, they’ve written a novel and are off to claim their National Book Award. While we can’t all be the next Edgar Allen Poe, we can improve on our ability to overcome writer’s block. Practice free writing, an exercise writers use to strengthen their creative ability and sharpen their voice. Free writing is trying to continuously write for 15 minutes without interruptions. Sound easy enough, right? Well, the challenge is your pen should not leave the paper until those 15 minutes are up. Free writing is not about stopping to think. It’s about actively writing whatever pops in your head. Try walking outside, whether it be in your backyard or in a local park, and finding a comfortable spot to write about your surroundings. 

Once you are finished, take an hour or so before you review what you wrote. After you read your spontaneous creation, take time to make any necessary revisions and turn it into a story. This great exercise for young writers strengthens their thought process and improves their editing skills.

“My first…”

 New experiences create rich memories filled with lasting emotions and detail. Many people can recall their first day of school, their first pet, or their first time driving with distinct clarity. All of these firsts are great story telling opportunities. Try to think about how you felt those days or in those moments and expand on them. What details stand out in your mind? What senses or emotions can you remember? Think of it like you’re telling the story to someone else; what would you want them to know? Start a paragraph with “I remember” or “My first” and let your memories dictate what you write. This will help you create strong stories and sentences because you’re practicing reporting information and using descriptive words.  

Use Online Prompts

The internet is a great source for education. There are dozens upon dozens of online writing prompts that will help strengthen your skills and reduce writer’s block. The best part about using prompts is your freedom to search for and customize them to fit your interests. Prompts usually start with a subject or topic (I.E. What’s Outside Your Window) and feature questions to help you brainstorm what to write for your story.  For a more creative approach, you can combine two prompts to create one bigger story. The options are endless!

Ask Journalistic Questions

If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes in a writing class, you’re likely familiar with the five W’s. Who? What? Where? When? and Why? This formula is often used by journalists to create leads, but it’s a great tool for other writers to utilize. Imagine your walking through town and suddenly see a dog chasing a cat. The dog chases the cat up the street until both animals run around the corner of a building and disappear out of view. Who is responsible for that dog? What caused the dog to start chasing the cat? Where did the two animals run off to? All of these questions create awareness of your surroundings and help with describing a situation.

Writer’s block is the last thing anyone needs when facing a deadline. Doing any of these exercises once a day, once a week, or even once a month can help keep your writing skills sharp throughout the summer. Write, take a break, come back to read it, and learn from your experiences. Now go practice writing! 

 

Questions to Ask if You’re Changing Majors

changing majors

The spring semester will be coming to a close sooner than we know it. As finals loom and end of term projects are assigned, many students will begin to wonder if they’re pursuing the wrong dream. If you’re finding your core classes totally useless or experiencing utter success in other subjects, you might be considering whether changing majors is worthwhile. You’re not alone! Upwards of 75% of undergraduates change their major at least once between the time of enrollment and graduation. Before you do anything official, here are some questions to consider before changing majors next fall.

Will I graduate on time?

This definitely varies between students. If you’re changing majors going into your senior year, then you’ll likely have to delay graduation.  If you’re a first or second year student, then chances are you’ll be fine. Should changing your major result in more years of undergraduate schooling, consider taking on a preferred subject as a minor. This compromise allows you to enroll in courses that interest you without the burden of completing as many credits. However, do not make any changes without scheduling an appointment with your advisor. They are your most important tool in deciding if changing majors is the best move.

Does my major have to reflect what I want to do in life?

No, not necessarily! Although some undergraduate professional programs are designed to prepare you for a certain career, i.e. engineering programs, most majors aren’t great predictors of what you’re going to do in life. In fact, studies show that only about 27% of college graduates are in a career directly related to their major. Therefore, your major doesn’t lock you into a certain career path. Regardless, earning a college degree is an investment in your future, so invest wisely.  

But what if I want a career in something totally different? Will employers consider me?

Again, so many graduates have jobs in fields unrelated to their majors. Acquiring experience in the field you want to work in, along with taking related classes, will give you a foot in the door. For example, if you’re an English literature major but aspire to be a business analyst, take classes related to analytics or even consider minoring in it. Additionally, internships are a great way to gain experience in your desired field. By interning, you’ll also interact with professionals who can later serve as excellent contacts for networking. Having experience in your desired career field and a professional network to leverage will create more opportunities than majoring in particular subject.  

Is it okay to change majors because my current one is too hard?

Yes! It’s not a shameful thing to change your major if you’re struggling in your current one. Our success is dependent on so many factors including our passions and general personalities. Just because we’re struggling with something doesn’t make us incompetent or a failure. Additionally, changing majors does not mean you’re giving up. It actually means quite the opposite. It means you’re smart enough to identify areas you excel and struggle in. You’re also brave enough to make a choice that will ultimately make you happier and more successful. Though it can be scary, change often brings opportunity.

What if my parents get mad?

We all have to understand that our parents simply want what they believe is best for us. They want to see us succeed, avoiding the struggles they faced and realizing opportunities they never had. However, parents don’t always know what’s best for us. When talking to your parents about your decision to change majors, tell them all of the reasons why you’re making the decision. Explain why these reasons will be ultimately beneficial. Be honest and be understanding, even if they’re angry. Change is scary for everyone. In the end, it’s your life and your happiness. You will be the one living it each day.

When deciding whether or not to change majors, consider some of the questions listed above and then decide the right course of action. First and foremost, before making any major (pun intended) decisions, consult your advisor and other people who are connected with that field of study. Email professors and other students to make sure you have a good understanding of what to expect. But don’t let it stress you out too much! You can always change it again. Good luck!

Keeping Up With Life Outside of College

For some students, moving several hours away from home to attend college is necessary to pursue a quality education. Going to a new place and meeting new people is wonderful, but what about all the family and friends you left behind? Their life still continues while you’re away. At some point during your college career, you will be faced with the choice of either going to class or going to some kind of special event such as a wedding or baby shower. Here are some tips for how to balance your life at school with your life away from school.

Weekend Gatherings

Plan Gatherings on Weekends

If possible, try to schedule (or ask others to schedule) special events or gatherings on weekends. Heading home on a day when you don’t have class is much easier than during the week. This is also when most people have time off work, so it should fit better with non-student family and friends as well.

Setting Expectations

Set Realistic Expectations

You are not going to make it to every single one of your cousin’s basketball games. Don’t promise family and friends you will show up to all their events when it is not possible. Be realistic when deciding what events you are going to try to make it home for. Also, make sure your relatives understand you are busy. They may not like the fact you are missing family events, but ultimately they should understand your education is important and must take priority at times.

Calendar

Plan in Advance

If you know about an event at the beginning of the semester, go ahead and start planning for it. Professors are more understanding and flexible when they receive notice far in advance. If you wait until a week before a big test to tell your professor about your sister’s upcoming weeding, it is unlikely he will grant your leave of absence. Communicating your schedule to others in a timely manner helps everyone plan for the future.

Recognizing Importance

Recognize Whats Important

A close friend of mine recently found herself in a tough situation. A funeral service for her family member was scheduled on the same day as a final presentation worth 20% of her final grade. The funeral was in a different state and the presentation could not be rescheduled. It was not possible for her to attend both events. What should you do if you find yourself in this situation?

You need to recognize what is important. My friend made the extremely tough decision to give her presentation rather than go to the funeral. Were some family members and friends upset about her decision? Yes. Was missing the funeral emotionally difficult for her? Yes. However, you have to make these difficult sacrifices. You must decide what is more important to you and your overall life. Missing a special occasion is hard, but it is a necessary part of earning an education.

Balancing school and home life can be difficult when you are in college, but with a little planning you can graduate and still be a part of the family! Have any other tips for balancing life in college? Leave them in the comment section below!

 

LinkedIn Tips for College Students

LinkedIn tips for college students

As a college student, it’s never too early to construct a resume. Starting early gives student the chance to constantly make sure everything is grammatically correct and up to date. However, in the digital world employers and programs look at much more than resumes to review potential candidates. One of the largest growing networks today is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social media service for professionals and is one of the key tools for career networking and employment. As of 2016, LinkedIn holds over 467 million users, 40 million of which are college students or recent college grads. If you’ve decided to create a LinkedIn, it’s important to understand how utilizing the platform affects your success rate. Here are a few LinkedIn Tips for college students.

Profile Photographs

One of the most essential aspects of a good LinkedIn profile is the photo. Like other social media sites, i.e. Facebook, having an appropriate photo helps the viewer connect with you and legitimizes your account. Because of the various spammers and scammers lurking on the internet, it’s likely that other users, recruiters, and companies may feel weary about “connecting” with a user who doesn’t have a photograph. The key to a good LinkedIn photo is a clear headshot only featuring you. It doesn’t need to be a professionally taken photo, but looking clean and wearing a nice top is a must. Also, make sure to smile! Employers are looking for enthusiastic people.

List Your Skills

LinkedIn allows its members to easily list their skills in their profile. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to put your skills in a specific order and lists the top three “featured skills” on your profile. The remaining skills are visible by clicking the “view more” button. Therefore, it is extremely important to think through which three skills best represent you. By entering your skills,  you allow employers to get a good understanding of what you’re capable of doing. LinkedIn also allows its users to obtain “endorsements” on their listed skills. Past employers and other members can verify you’re proficient in your these skills based on who and how many people endorse you. But of course, be careful who you ask!

 Expand Your Network

With LinkedIn’s huge member database, learning how to grow a strong and cohesive network of connections is one of the most important LinkedIn factors for college students. Like other social media networks, LinkedIn allows you to “connect” with people. These people could be classmates, coworkers, friends, whoever! In addition, college students have the special benefit of connecting with alumni. If you’re applying for a position, check LinkedIn to see if anyone who graduated from your school works there. Use this angle to connect and ask for advice and recommendations- not jobs. Like any other social engagement, make sure you’re not obtrusive.

Post Articles

Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn users have the opportunity to share articles or write their own and post them on their profile. Sharing and writing articles is another one of the best practices on LinkedIn for college students. Articles can be blog posts, recent news in your field, and generally interesting things. Not only does this provide employers and recruiters with more information about you, but it also helps give them a sense of who you are. However, be very, very careful to only post relevant and appropriate content to avoid offending and upsetting anyone. A general rule of thumb is to avoid politics and overly opinionated pieces.  

LinkedIn is one of many social media platforms that currently has millions of active users. With so many social platforms bidding for your time, it may seem unnecessary to join. However, LinkedIn isn’t about sharing your favorite family photos or mistakes you made last weekend.  It’s focused on the professional job market and connecting with current or potential employers to build a strong professional network. Use these LinkedIn tips to create a high performing account for success during and after college!

Is College the Right Time for a Pet?

Pets are one of the greatest joys in life. There is nothing better then curling up in the evening with your best friend on your lap. For some college students, getting a pet is at the top of their to-do list. However, getting a pet is an important decision and should be carefully considered. Once you own a pet, you are responsible for taking care of another life. College might not be the best time for such a large responsibility. If you are thinking about getting a pet, here are four important things to consider:

Puppies

Housing

You will probably change housing several times during your college years. This creates a risk that some of your living arrangements may not be suitable for pets. Dorms and other campus sponsored housing such as fraternity and sorority houses typically only allow service animals. Most apartments that allow pets require additional fees to cover cleaning costs when you move out. Further, even if the place you live allows pets, your roommates may not be as open to the idea. If you think that you will be living in a place that will not work with pets at some point in your college career, then you should hold off before getting your new furry friend.

Baby Bill the cat

Money

Pets are expensive. There’s really no way around that fact. Living on a college student budget with a pet can be extremely difficult. You need to make sure you have the financial means to care for a pet before you bring one home. The AKC estimates the average cost of owing a dog the first year is $3,085. That’s a steep price to pay on a tight income. Some common pet expenses are:

  • Food and water
  • Treats
  • Cages
  • Beds
  • Toys
  • Vaccinations
  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Flea and tick medication
  • Collars and leashes

This is by no means a complete list of necessary animal supplies, but you will need to provide all of these essentials for your pet. In addition, remember to budget additional funds for unplanned emergencies. It’s not hard to rack up a vet bill totaling several hundreds of dollars, or worse, even thousands.

Cute Doggo

Time

College is extremely time consuming. Attending classes full-time, participating in clubs, and working can leave you with little time to take care of your pet. Before you get a pet, you need to ensure you have the time to set aside for playing with, walking, and caring for your new family member. Animals need plenty of love and attention to be happy. When they are receiving enough exercise or attention, they’ll often channel their displeasure through negative actions. This could mean coming home to chewed up household items or other displays of anxious behavior.

After-College Plans

Moving across the country or taking a gap-year in Europe sounds like a wonderful plan, but it’s difficult to take any animal on such journeys. If your after-college plans include traveling or other large lifestyle changes, you may want to wait until you are settled before buying a pet. Once you’ve established a clear plan and are confident you’ll follow it, properly caring for an animal becomes a more realistic possibility.

Pet

Final Thoughts

When you adopt an animal, you are committing to care for it as a family member for the rest of its life. If you have any concern over your ability to keep and care for an animal, potentially over the course of 10+ years, then you should wait before getting a pet. I know many people who have successfully kept pets as college students, but I also know those who had to give-up their loved one. Make sure you’re fully prepared for such a commitment before you head to the shelter.

Have any tips for caring for an animal in college? Leave them in the comment section below!