We all know that school is expensive. We all know that well-paying jobs are hard to come by before graduation. And we all know that the stuff we want usually costs more cash than we lowly students have.
That being said, the college experience definitely isn't all bad, and is worth appreciating! Below, I have compiled a list of six things you get for "free" or discounted in college - score! (That word "free" is in quotations because the fact is that you may have already paid for some of these in your tuition. However, we won't ignore these perks just because they are included in the college bundle!)
1. Gym Membership
You know that big building you pass on your way home from class where all the buff dudes and yoga-goers hang out? Yeah, that's what we call "the rec". You probably already pay for membership with your tuition, so why not use it? Even when I commuted from home to campus I used the gym because it was there and already paid for! There probably isn't a need for an outside gym membership when the one on campus is there and ready to be used!
2. Health Centers
Most college campuses have an on-campus infirmary for students. Some have doctors and some just have nurses. It's always good to at least know where it is even if you never use it for those just-in-case moments in life. When you stop in to visit, snag some free bandages... blisters from walking around campus are zero fun and you never know when you'll need one!
3. Cafeteria Food
If you live on campus, you are probably required to have a meal plan. If you don't live on campus, you can probably still get one for the cafeteria. You may not like the idea of eating "cafeteria food" past senior year of high school but trust me, it's a REALLY good deal. My lovely mom made me lunch every day throughout grade school, but my university's cafeteria food was homemade quality. Seriously!
As a commuter student, I never had a meal plan during my first years of college, but I still ate in the cafeteria all the time. Mondays were fried chicken days and it was a get-out-of-my-way-I-want-the-first-batch kind of thing. Most university cafeterias are "all you can eat" so you pay a flat fee and go from the hot lunch to the pizza to the salad bar to the stir fry. It's like a mall food court, only you only pay once. And I won't deny getting to "the caf" 5 minutes before breakfast ended on waffle days and staying until lunch because breakfast was $1.50 cheaper. I can't say I did that, but I won't say I didn't.
4. Stores, Restaurants, and Entertainment
Most, if not all, movie theaters have a student discount if you show your university I.D. It takes 1.5 seconds to whip out your I.D. at the ticket counter and BAM... you get $1 or more off. Museums usually have a student discount, too.
Heck, even restaurants in a college town give student discounts! A few restaurants in town have a "College Night" with drink discounts. Why are you not out getting these deals right now?!
Large electronics companies like Apple, Dell, Sony, and others have student discounts on many of their products. Some universities will even provide their Mac students with Microsoft software so they don't have to go spend the $500 to have compatible documents for class. Now that is a deal!
6. University Gear
Around Homecoming every year, universities usually have tons of giveaways for school supplies and apparel. Find out when the major campus events occur during the semester and be on the lookout for the booth with the free notebooks and pens. Figure out where to get free Scantrons (!!!) for emergency situations! Look around for day-events that involve free lunch and cake. These things happen, and you should definitely take advantage of all of the free and discounted stuff you get just for being in college!
Basically, the world knows many college students are poor. Therefore, they feel sorry enough for you that they want to make life a little easier on your checkbook. Take advantage of your student I.D. and love it, because one day you will miss the number of things it got you in to... and maybe out of.
What are your favorite "college perks"? What are some of your favorite stores that give discounts to students? How do you take advantage of the things included in your tuition? Leave a comment and let us know!