I didn't realize I wanted to be a minimalist until the last few semester of college for me. But that doesn't mean you can't learn from my mistakes. Here are my tips for being a minimalist student!
Figure out your intentions || Before embarking on heading out to college, figure out what you want out of this experience. Do you want to get your degree as quickly as possible? Do you want to make the Dean's List every semester? Get out of college with as little debt as possible? Study abroad most semesters? Do you want to move away from home? Do you want to have the typical big university experience? Keep asking yourself why to figure out why you these things. This will help you with the next step.
Go to community college or commute || When I was in high school, I didn't even consider community college as an option. I wanted the big university experience but never asked myself why. So I plunged myself into over $40,000 of debt FOR MY FRESHMEN YEAR. At the end of my first year of college, I sat alone in my dorm and realized that college was NOT what I expected it to be and it wasn't worth it to pay so much money for such a mediocre experience. My little sister, however, set her intentions well after graduating high school and decided she wanted to get out of college with as little debt as possible. So she decided to live at home and go to community college. She has ZERO student loans. I, on the other hand, have 8.
Reuse old school supplies || I love school supply shopping. But I realized in college that I went "Back to school" shopping every semester. It's super easy to reuse old school supplies by reusing notebooks, pencils, pens and book bags. I felt like I needed to get a new bag every year, when that simply isn't the case. By reusing your old school supplies, you create less waste and spend less money!
Get a capsule wardrobe || I spent so much time in the morning getting ready for class. As a freshman on a big campus, I wanted to stand out. So I constantly bought clothes to help me fit in and feel good about myself. You can avoid all of this by building a capsule wardrobe, which is essentially a super small closet of clothes (with under 40 pieces total, including accessories, shoes and outerwear) but you REALLY love each and every piece in the wardrobe. Giving yourself less choices helps you save time.
Say NO to free things || College is about all the free things. You don't ask for them, but somehow you've got the free t-shirts, the free mugs, the free buttons and draw string bags. Yes, they are free. But do you really need all this clutter? I promise you that when you graduate most of that stuff goes to Goodwill anyways.
Limit partying || It's no secret that college is all about partying. But try to keep it to a minimum. I didn't party at all in college and still made friends, feel like I got the typical college experience and had fun. Plus, I didn't drink a ton of empty calories every weekend, saved money and created a no-drama environment in my own life.
Don't use credit cards || I was 18 when I got my first credit card. I told myself it was for emergencies while I was living out of state, away from my family. But honestly, I wound up using it for new clothes, school supplies and eating out. I racked up a small amount of debt my freshman year. It's a bummer to have to pay bills when you could be saving that money for something awesome-- like studying abroad!
Share with roommates || If you're living on campus, make sure you talk to your roommate ahead of time about what they are bringing. The more you can share with your roommate the better. Because honestly, once you get into the real world, you don't actually need a mini-fridge, bean bag chair or mini-microwave. Also, if you're taking the same class as your roommates or someone you know, ask if you can share books!
Use packing up for college as a time to reduce || As you're packing your bags to head off to college for another great year, make sure you're being really intentional about what you're packing. Use this as a time to go through things you don't need anymore, don't want anymore or just don't serve you any purpose. Only pack the bare minimums.
Don't keep things from past semesters|| I used to think that I needed to save everything from prior semesters for when I got into my career one day. But honestly, all of my papers have just been sitting under my bed, taking up space. I rarely think, "Oh, I should check that paper from three semesters ago." Honestly, I just Google it instead.