6 Ways Simplifying Would Have Changed My College Experience

I had a great college experience, but if i adopted simplifying back then, these are the 6 ways simplifying would have changed college for the better.

I had a great time in college. I did everything I was supposed to do:

  • Made lifelong friends
  • Had amazing experiences
  • Lived on my own and didn’t kill myself in the process
  • Made mistakes (tons of them)

And I don’t regret anything! But if I ever get a chance to have a "13 going on 30"  experience, I would do two things

  • Go back to fourth grade and stop myself from praying to God that I wanted big boobs
  • Adopted elements of minimalism to enhance my college experience

I wish I knew about simplifying before I started college

Along with getting an education, being on your own for the first time means you need to start #adulting 

In my situation, I had no clue how to do this. Naturally, I went wild. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and without thinking of the consequences. 

What is minimalism? Minimalism to me is about owning less to do more of what you love. In my case, it's mindfulness, spending time with loved ones, and traveling. It is up to you to define what minimalism is to you.

Like I said, I don't have regrets, but if I adopted minimalism in college, here's how my experience would have changed

Better Relationships

Clutter from my clothes and things I owned, plus the crappy food I ate, cluttered my mind. I was constantly thinking of ways to impress people and not truly being present when I was with others.

If I adopted minimalism, I would have

  • Gotten to know myself better
  • Developed stronger relationships with friends and family
  • Really heard what people were saying

Learning to be a good listener is a vital skill. When you make someone feel heard, it’s an incredible feeling. The connection becomes deeper, but you will learn who you are and how to be a better person. Thus allowing you to grow important relationships.

TIP: Remove distractions from your life, especially apps on your phone that do not allow you to be present. If you ned help, there are even apps to assist with this! Freedom app or StayFocusd on Chrome

Less Things

I had a bad habit of keeping everything in college. Gifts people gave me, cheap things I bought on vacation, and things I thought I needed. Filling my life with chaos and disarray.

If I adopted minimalism, I would have

  • Made conscious decisions when buying anything
  • Learned to say, “No, thank you" when gifts were giving to me

Learning the true value of items you buy, will reduce waste and help you regain lost space back into your home. Clutter can accumulate in a blink of an eye. Be mindful when you buy something and you’ll be surprised how clear your mind can get. Not to mention how much cleaner your home will be! It also makes it easier to move from place to place!

TIP: Purge your home and belongings once a quarter and donate them to goodwill or charities

Less Clothes

I struggled with low self-confidence and body image in college. To cope, I bought a shit-load of clothes. Fast fashion that was cheap “in style,” and never quite fit right. After two wears, it would go in the closet (more accurately the floor of my closet) where it would never be found again.

If I adopted minimalism, I would have:

  • Less laundry to wash
  • Spent less time carrying loads of laundry back and forth from my car to wash. (I’m all for Michelle Obama arms, but this was time-consuming and exhausting!)
  • Less time stressing about what I was going to wear
  • More time to accept and love myself

Learning to love your body and dress your body can be taught by buying clothes that truly make you feel good. It teaches you personal style and how following trends is a short-term approach. All the rest, like less time washing and stress are icing on the cake.

TIP: Try a Capsule Wardrobe to have an outfit for every occasion and season. Sell clothes you don’t love on Poshmark (get $5 for signing up) or donate to a local charity.

If you want more tips, check out USELESS. She’s a Scandinavian blogger who focuses on building a strong Capsule Wardrobe.I love her style and she’s cute.

Quality Foods

When I had no money, it was easy to get a box full of Top Ramen and a 12 pack of soda to get me through the week. That’s why I loved the $1 menu and any free food on campus.

If I adopted minimalism, I would have

  • Learned how to incorporate fresh foods into my diet
  • Spent less money on bad food 

Learning how to cook and the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables is a life long lesson. Adding fresh broccoli and mushroom into my Top Ramen would have been a better option than Ramen on it's own. Not ideal, but for a poor college student, it was healthier than buying fast food on campus.

TIP: Checkout The Brothers Green Eats for cheap and alternative menus 

More Money

I received financial aid when I went to college. My first thought was, “Free money!!!!” Of course, I spent it on school, books, food, and rent. But I also spent it on clothes, gadgets, and liquor.

If I adopted minimalism, I would have

  • Learned how to save
  •  Not accumulated $20k in student loan debt
  • Traveled more
  • Had different experiences

Learning how to budget is basically saying, I control my life. Being broke for spending money on useless items guarantees stress. You should never have to go hungry or not have money for the basic needs of life. Budgeting allows you to do so much more than owning stuff. It allows you to travel or say yes to once in a lifetime opportunities without hesitation.

TIP: Try YNAB.com or my personal favorite, mint.com. And if you’re really up for a challenge, try a no spend week/month. You spend a certain amount of time each week on food and buy nothing else. It's fun when you finish, you can see the tangible results of all the money you saved!

More TIme

College life is busy and I never had enough time. Of course I never spent enough time on classes. I was too busy spending time on shopping and going out. When I did clean, it took way longer because of all the crap I owned. Then there was the time I spent enjoying the comforts of home.

If I adopted a minimal approach, I would have:

  • Watched less TV or not had a TV
  • Spent less time browsing the internet 
  • Not had to clean as much

Time is attainable if you get rid of the things that are taking too much of your time. For example, not having a TV in your bedroom, or adopting screen-free hours during the week.

TIP: Take stock of how you spend your week. If there’s anything you can merge in your routine, do it! Check out my posts on 10 Ways to Simplify & Do More of What You Love for some extra tips.

 
 

Ultimately Minimalism encourages you to

  • Have fewer clothes
  • Have fewer things
  • Better your relationships
  • Not worry about Money
  • Have More time
  • Have Less stress
  • LIVE

Life After College

Since college, I worked in advertising for a few years before moving to Australia. My boyfriend and I lived there for four years and came back to the US in May 2016. Once we were home, we realized how much stuff we had, and thus consolidated almost everything.

Personally, I’ve whittled down to a wardrobe that’s concise and versatile. This allows me to feel good and spend money on other things like quality food, and traveling!

My life is filled with family and most importantly more me time.

I still struggle with screen time, but I’m slowly getting better at it.

How do you see yourself simplifying? Share your thoughts in the comments below!