How many of us are really using all the free resources at our school? I know I’m not using all the resources available at my university. Sometimes I don’t use the resources because I don’t know that they are there, and other times I don’t need them.
The only problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know. One of the ways I make my semester better than the last is trying new things. Some of these were things that added something extra to my college life.
1. Massage chairs
This one is a toss-up. Some schools may not have massage chairs, but you’d be surprised what your school has to offer. At my university, the massage chairs are in the Student Recreation Wellness Center.
2. Free workshops
There are so many cool workshops going on that students don’t attend. Even my school, a commuter school, host a ton of workshops. Want to learn how to write better, self-care strategies, or make an impact on the world? There most likely be a workshop at your school on it. To find them, check the calendar on your school’s website.
3. Defense Training
It was summer, and I had driven all the way to campus with my older sister. I had no summer classes, but I really wanted to go to a self-defense class. The local police station was hosting a free one for women in the community. I learned different defensive positions and where women tend to have the most strength – feet!
Not to mention my sister and I had a fun time. At the end of the class, we had to defend ourselves against one of the male police officers. You can look at your school’s calendar or ask around. If you’re feeling ambitious you can probably get classes started at your school.
4. Weekly email lists
At least once a week, my university sends out an email filled with different links revolving around what’s happening around campus. While others unsubscribe or leave these emails unread, I read each one. In all, I gained my core group of friends, $30, and an internship from reading those emails. For gaining the friends, I joined a club after learning about it from the weekly emails.
From there, I gained friends and experience in my field. Thanks to holding three leadership position that are related to my major, I was able to land a paid internship last October. For the $30, I found out about a paid study being done at my university and became a part of it. It pays to keep up with what’s going on at your school!
5. Free Therapist
The stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health days have lowered and schools are taking notes. At my university, one resource available to students is a free therapist through Counseling and Psychological Services. In addition, my university also has an event called PAWS. Dogs are brought to a room in the library, and students can pet them. This is done during the week before finals.
6. Free, healthy food
Since I’ve been at my university, I’ve walked away with tasty tomatoes, lettuce, rosemary, and sage. All of it fresh and free. How? My college has a community garden. My club had a plot there, and I’ve volunteered a few times. A lot of the food would have gone to waste. Some schools have community gardens where you can get free food for volunteering. If not, you can start one at your school.
7. Financial assistance for conferences
This past October, I went to my first conference. It was about promoting sustainability in higher education. Going to the AASHE conference was a wonderful experience that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I got to fly all the way to Texas and met some new friends. One of the women I met came to Las Vegas, and we got to hang out.
I spent less than $50 for this opportunity. My university paid for my conference ticket (around $250), my 3 nights at a hotel, and my round trip flight! I only had to pay for my food and Uber rides.
If you’re interested in going to a conference, you should look into the free resources your school provides. For instance, by going to a conference related to my club, I was able to get funding from one of the departments at my school and the student government. There may also be a conference your school is participating in or hosting. My university was hosting a marketing analytics conference that I could have attended.
8. Career Services
I’ll be the first to admit that career services isn’t always the most helpful when it comes to looking for jobs or finding out what you want your career to be. I look at it as a supplement to the career part of your life. Some of the best resources career services offer are the career fairs that get hosted.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been to a few career fairs, and I have benefited from them. I almost got an interview and almost got the job but that’s a story for another day. The biggest advances are getting in front of the people hiring, learn about companies in your area, possibly land an internship/job, and see what skills are valued in your field of study.
I’m really shy when it comes to talking with the staff and professors at my university. Even so, when I or my friends have reached out to them the results have been great. We all know the importance of going to office hours when we run into problems, but we forget that professors and the staff can help us with other issues. Thanks to the Sustainability Coordinator at our university, we were able to bring new outdoor recycling bins to our university. There are about 400 outdoor trash bins, but only 11 outdoor recycling bins.
If you’re interested in making a change at your university in a certain area such as making it more environmental, you should find professors and staff members that also care about that issue. Most likely they will help you.
10. Rent out equipment for free
I’ve been at my university for almost 2 years before I rented out free equipment. My university lets students rent out laptops, cameras, video cameras, green screens, microphones, VR devices, and more. To check out this equipment, I only have to go my university’s library and use my student id. If you’re interested in seeing if your university rents out equipment, you should check out your university’s library.
11. Workout sessions
So many random things get tacked on for the price of tuition. One of these random at my university is workout sessions. These classes include Zumba, Bootcamp, judo, and more, Check out your equivalent of Student Recreation Wellness Center/gym to see if your university offers free classes.
What’s your favorite resource that your school offers?