Author Topic: General Advice for a College Kid  (Read 2333 times)

loskho

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
General Advice for a College Kid
« on: January 27, 2017, 06:17:13 PM »
Hello all,
First I'd like to give a little bit of information about me:

I recently turned 19, I'm currently attending college. I'm already very much a minimalist, and I never spend my money except on food. I'm attending engineering college for free while working a job, so I have income ($10.45/hr 8hrs/wk), I just don't use it.
I have a few thousand in my bank, sitting there doing nothing. I plan on continuing to live on very little money, because I want to live in my car (I love the mobility of this idea, I'm not doing it out of necessity). I just discovered MMM a couple weeks ago, and thought it was awesome how much this community embodies the kind of life I'm already trying to live. I fix my own car, I maintain my parent's house. I'm kind of the family handy-man.

Anyway, I basically just want to get a jump on FI, and I'm looking for general advice:

1. What's some advice you wish you'd gotten when you were in college/my age?
2. What's some advice you think would be good for me specifically?
3. Got any books you recommend I read?

Thanks for reading this, I'm looking forward to reading your responses. I apologize in advance if I posted this in the wrong place.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 07:56:21 PM »
The biggest is, Stay out of debt.  I suspect you knew that. 

I know you say you're a minimalist, but start building up a professional wardrobe.  If you start now, you have time to search for things and build up a nice wardrobe from Goodwill (or similar); whereas, if you wait 'til you graduate, you can't find everything cheaply in a week or two. 

In your junior/senior year, investigate the possibility of an internship.  Your degree will be great, but a degree plus some experience and some professional contacts are better.

Use your college years to learn about money.  I did not grow up with good financial examples, but I realized in college that I wanted to understand money, investments, etc. -- and I had a whole library of books at my disposal that would teach me what I needed to know.  I'd go in between classes and read:  Frugal living, real estate as an investment, retirement savings, old-fashioned skills -- I read everything.  I was living hand-to-mouth during college, so I couldn't use much of the information I learned, but I learned. 

Identify life skills you need to learn now.  You say you're handy with cars and household fixes -- be sure you can cook a meal, sew on a button, etc. 

I do not think living in your car is going to be a good choice long-term.  Can you sleep comfortably?  Have company over?  Cook for yourself?  Store work clothing and go to work looking professional? 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 07:58:29 PM by MrsPete »

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3001
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 08:13:21 PM »
If marriage is an eventual goal, start looking now. You'll never have so many options again.

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3136
  • Location: WDC
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 09:10:29 PM »
You're already doing what I am going to suggest - ask anyone and everyone for advice!  So many people here (including me) didn't know all the opportunities out there because we didn't ask or seek advice. Asking advice is also great networking because people love to talk about themselves! 

You may also want to think about changing jobs. Even an unrelated or low level position in a company you would want to work for gives you insight into other areas of business, makes you familiar with the lingo, and gives access to the players. I worked in a mail room in a company and later got moved to a bunch of different office jobs within that company. None of it was what I wanted to do, but by the time I graduated high school, I understood all the office payroll, accounting ledgers, word processors, etc. these things are all out of date now, but it was important to know how to load a floppy disk back then.

jmwagner5

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2017, 09:19:39 PM »
Like the above say, you are doing the best thing by asking questions. When it comes to working in industry (what is most likely for an engineering major I presume) just have a good attitude and be incredibly open to change.  The quicker you adapt to change and the better attitude you have at work, the more opportunities you will be given for advancement and the better relationships you will develop, which only further greases the advancement wheel.  And use your vacation days to truly take vacation.  Best of luck with the rest of undergrad - as mozar said, it is the best opportunity you will ever have to meet an incredible number of awesome people, some of whom might be a great partner.   

ltt

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 740
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2017, 05:37:28 AM »
We have a 19-year-old son attending college.  I know of no 19-year-olds who are aspiring to live in a vehicle.  Are you sure this is what you want to do?  I understand you want the mobility, but are you sure you don't want a small pickup/camper type situation possibly?

I really talk to my son about only taking minimal, if any, debt.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2017, 05:49:37 AM »
Don't wait til junior or senior year to investigate an internship.

Engineers can get internships as freshmen. I'm an engineer and had internships every year. Once you get one it will be very easy to get more. Work at different places you feel you may be interested in each year to isolate what part of your field you really enjoy. I found what I loved while working in a mfg plant on a 8 month co op. But I realize di didn't want to be in the same plant everyday so I'm in consulting.

Experience will get you the top jobs. Campus involvement should be utilized for networking. This is the one thing I wished I'd done better in college. But utilize the campus clubs and organizations to your advantage to develop a large network. My fraternity is great for having instant friends wherever I go as well as help finding a job if I needed to get a different one.

I'm highly involved in my firms recruitment.

1. Go to career fairs now. You should have already been attending.
2. Utilize your campus career center for resume review and interview prep
3. It's hard to get an internship as a freshman. This is where your personal and parental network would come in. But you will get experience talking to recruiters.
4. As you progress in your schooling you should have a good idea of which area of your field interests you. This is key when a juniotr or senior. You need to be able to speak competently about what you want to do with your career to get your foot in at the career fairs.
5. Make sure you have a nice suit and tie. I'd set Slickdeals alert and get some cheaply from there


boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2017, 05:57:33 AM »
Also my brother who is much more introverted than I am waited til junior senior year to start looking and never found an internship. And it's difficult to get hired without one nowadays. Start early. My brother still doesn't have a job after 4 years out of school in his field

If you're in a state school system you may want to find out where the state engineering focused college is and attend those career fairs.

loskho

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2017, 01:12:04 PM »
We have a 19-year-old son attending college.  I know of no 19-year-olds who are aspiring to live in a vehicle.  Are you sure this is what you want to do?  I understand you want the mobility, but are you sure you don't want a small pickup/camper type situation possibly?
I do not think living in your car is going to be a good choice long-term.  Can you sleep comfortably?  Have company over?  Cook for yourself?  Store work clothing and go to work looking professional?
Thanks for the concern, but I have an old 4runner, so lots of space to store clothes, and I sleep very comfortable in my bed in the back which also functions as a nice place to hang out with friends (play cards, etc.). I also have access to free showers and a kitchen at my school's gym, and rec center, so no real worries there. This isn't a long term thing, just for while I'm in college, and while I'm being provided for by the college.


In response to Boarder42, jmwagner5, BlueHouse, and mozar:

As for looking for potential marriage partners I'm already in a committed long-term relationship, so that's a check.

As for internships I've definitely been slacking in that regard, I'm attending a career fair in a couple days though, and as of today I'm really buckling down to send out applications and get my foot in the door.

I'm pretty involved on campus, but it's mostly recreational, fun-time activities. I gotta get into the more networky-type groups for sure - I'll start attending some engineering-focused clubs' meetings right away.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll look back here every so often to make sure I don't forget what I've been told.

aceyou

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1571
  • Age: 36
    • Life is Good - Aceyou's Journal
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2017, 02:53:45 PM »
You're already doing great, so very little advice from me. 

The Simple Path to Wealth by Jim Collins is a must read IMO. 

You are the type who may be ready to start filling up Roth IRA buckets now, and to fill up 401K in a few short years.  This book could save/make you enormous sums of money by giving you the confidence to start early and the knowledge to avoid the easily avoidable financial stupidities starting out that most of us made. 

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1750
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2017, 02:57:41 PM »
Take care of your teeth. ;-)

GizmoTX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1390
Re: General Advice for a College Kid
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2017, 04:44:30 PM »
Get the best grades that you can. It matters. So does doing internships and/or a co-op program.

Our son is 23 & graduated last May with BS degrees in Electrical Engineering & Math, Cum Laude. He had 2 merit scholarships all 4 years that paid 60% of his tuition & fees. He got a summer internship at a local computer company as a rising HS senior. While he was mainly doing go-fer & inventory type work, it exposed him to a number of engineering disciplines -- this influenced him to choose electrical engineering. He repeated interning at this company for 2 more summers. He then was able to get an internship at a mixed signal circuit design company in another city; they rehired him for 2 more summers. He's now getting a Masters degree in EE & will graduate this May; his engineering school hired him as a graduate teaching assistant for its first year design course which pays all of his graduate school tuition & fees plus a stipend. His internship company made him the best full time offer, starting next summer, which he has accepted.