Broke? How to get the most out of college

Georgia State students Ashli Trammell and Jarret Goodly view “Hair Craft Project,” on display at the Welch Gallery. Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

We get it. College is expensive and money doesn’t grow on trees. We can’t go to a sit-down every week after a nice day of shopping and order ourselves a sirloin steak with a sparkling water. With constant attention to dedication and studies, there is little downtime. And things around campus are so expensive (given it is downtown Atlanta), you usually end up breaking the bank. Fortunately, below are some basic ideas that will help you not only enjoy your downtime more, but also keep your wallet from flying out of your hands.

  1. Take a Walk – One of the most basic, yet most effective ways to enjoy downtime. Walking not only relieves stress, but also gives your body a bit of healthy physical activity. Atlanta is full of mystery streets and attractions; you never know what you may run into. Places to explore while on a walk include Centennial Olympic Park, the Beltline, and Piedmont Park.
  2. Sleep – Don’t underestimate the power of a snooze! Classes cause students not only to lose tons of sleep (I know- college is difficult), but with outside obligations like jobs and family, there’s a constant exhaustion that lingers. There are so many benefits to recharging your batteries and getting back on a sleep schedule. Studies have shown that sleep can help prevent depression, lower stress, improve memory, reduce inflammation, and assist with weight management. So go ahead, take that nap.
  3. Go to the Movies – Movies are a fundamental tradition of what to do in your downtime. Whether it’s a date night or a night out with the lads, going to the movies never disappoints. Many theatres are pairing with shopping malls. Atlantic Station, for example, offers a multitude of spots for you to walk around and “window shop” (looking at attire without spending money- you’re broke, you know?). If you don’t want to be tempted by the clothing and knick knacks, Georgia State has a movie theatre of their own called Cinefest that not only screens blockbuster films, but also independent films made by Georgia State students.
  4. Just…Hang Out – Some of life’s best memories are made by spending time with friends. Meeting up and interacting with other people is better for your physical and mental health. We’re not talking about blogging or scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat. Face-to-face interactions create a chemistry between people that simply cannot be felt on a cellular device. It’s advantageous for your personal life, as well as your professional life. We’ve all heard, “It’s who you know.” Paired with our Georgia State degrees and “what we know,” socializing is a great way to relax and plan for the future.

These are just a few basic ideas of things that you can do and not break the bank. Surely, you’ve reminisced with older family members or friends who told you about the days when they were in college and they were so broke that they improvised to the extremes to enjoy themselves. If they did it, why can’t we? One of these days you’ll look back on your college life, how you were so low on dough that your nightly dinners consisted of microwave burritos and spoiled milk, and smile because those were the good old days.

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