One really cool part of college is that you get to start adulting in some new ways. You set your own schedule, you get your own food, you make your own appointments. This new freedom can be a lot of fun, but it can also present some challenges.
I want to tell you a story: Once upon a time there were two roommates. They shared an apartment for a year. One roommate moved out earlier than the other. Before she moved out though, she hid some bills to avoid paying her half. Once she had moved out, there was pretty much nothing the other roommate could do.
Sad story right? Well how about this one:
Once upon a time there was a roommate who had a bottle of wine in her dorm room and didn’t tell the other roommate. After room inspections, both roommates got a mark on their record because alcohol is not allowed in the dorms.
If that sounds bad, how about this:
Once upon a time there was a student who was promised a full scholarship by the college president. Over the next few months, that president left the college for another job. As that student tried to get everything squared away for the upcoming semester, the president was no longer there to honor his promise. That student did not get the scholarship.
Sorry for the doom and gloom, but I think you’re getting the picture. The hardest part about these challenges is that they are very difficult to see ahead of time. Unfortunately, experience is the best teacher. Hopefully I can be the second best teacher and you can learn from what happened to me. (Yeah, innocent student in the stories, that’s me.)
The first rule that I had to learn was that there is nothing wrong with being a little skeptical. Even if your roommate is a friend of yours, or you think you and your RA are on the same page, or your online bill pay will definitely work, sometimes things fall through, people take advantage, or someone messes up. Don’t feel like you’re being rude or pushy if you take steps to safeguard yourself.
It’s also important that you take this on as a new state of mind, a new perspective. Once you’re in college, you are more on your own then you’ve ever been. There’s risk involved in that. And as I have learned, sometimes things you depend on or take for granted can come back and bite you.
I have made it a personal habit to make sure that I keep receipts, have signed roommate agreements, and explicitly explain things via email or text message so that I can refer back to it later if I need to. I would’ve never thought to do these things before I got messed over a few times. On important matters, have people confirm arrangements in writing, even if that is just a response to an email. If you want to be extra careful like me, you can record the serial numbers on your most valuable devices. If they are misplaced, stolen, or recovered, you can prove they’re yours.
You already know some of the easiest ways to protect yourself – lock your door, lock your car, put a password on your phone, a password on your computer, don’t tell people your passwords, etc. I sound so much like my mom right now that it’s driving me crazy, but have something go wrong, and you’ll start saying this too!
Good luck adulting!
Jessica Casebolt, a former Miss Kentucky, is a correspondent for the The Lane Report. You can reach her at [email protected]