3 Unexpected Expenses That Go With Moving Off Campus

Posted on July 16, 2014 by:

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Thermometer, sign that says "furnished apartment for rent," and Coca-Cola sign, all hanging in window

You may not have to buy new furniture, but there are other expenses to be aware of when renting your first apartment.

This fall, my daughter is moving off campus with her friends. Of course, this process started in the spring, when they went on a waitlist for an apartment complex they wanted to live in.

When they reached the top of the list, they had 24 hours to accept the available unit … or drop back to the bottom of the waitlist. So yes, “we” started paying rent on May 20—three full months before she’ll actually move in.

And while those extra months of rent proved to be an unexpected expense, they were far from the only one students moving off campus face.

***

Lately, it seems like I have co-signed or guaranteed too many leases for my college-aged kids, who have had enough of college dorm life. This makes me somewhat of a reluctant expert on the subject of rentals and leasing, from the eyes of a tenant (or, rather, the eyes of a tenant’s parent).

If you signed on the dotted line for a place to live this fall, you’re likely excited to get away from your folks and move in with your friends. However, first and last months’ rent payments might not be the only expenses awaiting you. Here are three others you need to be aware of before packing the moving truck.

1. Surprise Deposits For Utilities

By the date your lease begins, you and your roommates will need to show your landlord proof that you have transferred all the utilities into one of your names. Talk with your roommates about how to manage these costs—you may want to each take responsibility for a specific utility. Paying a bill in your name and on time is a good way to build your credit score.

But be warned: Some utility companies require an initial deposit. When my daughter signed up with the local electric company, it surprised us both that they required a $250 deposit. If you have to deal with a deposit as well, decide whether you will pay it yourself (and get all the money back some day) or split it equally among your roommates. If you choose the latter, keep track of how much everyone chipped in.

2. Insurance May Be Mandatory

My daughter’s landlord required proof of $100,000 in liability insurance for all tenants, in case something crazy happens, such as a person getting hurt or the property getting trashed during the lease period. This unexpected insurance cost added another $129 to the annual expenses of renting.

And in case you were wondering, liability insurance does not cover your personal property. For that, you would need renters insurance. (Considering how my son’s stuff was ruined in a flooded storage unit, I can attest that the extra expense of renters insurance can be worth the money.)

3. You Must Complete A Property Condition Form

This one is to prevent future unexpected expenses from coming your way.

When your lease begins, you have a short period to let the landlord know of existing damage or problems with the unit. It is really important to fill out this property condition form by the deadline, as well as to take pictures of any existing wear and tear. That way, you and your roommates cannot be held responsible for any existing damage.

My son’s very inexpensive rental house in the Rocky Mountains came complete with broken glass and screens, dirty carpets, holes in walls, mold, rodents, and more. When I saw the squalor, I was appalled he was going to live in such a place. I also thought we’d never get his share of the security deposit back, but we did—thanks to the property condition form.

***

There are a lot of other details to manage with signing a lease and all the startup activities. But once you have it all done, you and your roommates can get to work on the more fun part, like hunting for good used furniture, stocking your fridge, and scheduling your house warming party.

Have you signed a lease with your friends? Let us know in the comments what surprises you encountered in the process.

(Photo: turkeychik)

What’s “Love” Got To Do With Choosing A College?

Posted on February 12, 2014 by:

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Open book with the word "Love" on top of it.

Love is bliss, but it can complicate your academic decisions.

In this season of Valentine’s Day, love is on the mind of many parents—especially if their kids are choosing a college based on where their boyfriend or girlfriend is going. These parents are freaking out, and I don’t blame them.

Plenty of lists on how NOT to choose your college usually include letting your heart make the choice. However, some emotion plays a part in almost every decision. If the emotion dominating your college choice is “love for a significant other,” though, remember to consider the following.

***

1. Is This “The One”?

Hard to predict. Nowadays, most people don’t end up marrying their high school or early college sweetheart. Just ask your parents about their old flames and their thoughts on those early relationships. You might be surprised (horrified?) by some of their stories.

If your love is meant to last, it will withstand the distance and test of time. Now is the time to follow your educational and career dreams!

2. Play The Field

(Really; as a happily married woman, I get to offer this advice.)

Where else but college can you find a major selection of attractive, smart, ambitious, fun people all in one place? The truth is, if you are all wrapped up in a relationship before you even get to college, you will miss out on a whole lot of fun, which includes meeting and dating new people. You won’t know what you missed if you don’t give it a try.

3. Things Can Get Messy

If you arrive on campus in a committed relationship, it can be complicated. Many of your college experiences get wrapped up in being a couple. So, if that changes, you may risk losing your whole friend group. This is especially hard if you didn’t have an opportunity to make any of your own friends independently.

Worse yet, after a sad breakup, you might kick yourself deep down, if you knew all along that you should have gone to another school …

4. Long Distance Love?

If you don’t follow your sweetheart to college, you can still keep the relationship going long distance. However, even this can derail your integration into your college experience.

Hundreds of texts a day and regular calls, Skype, and Facetime definitely interfere with your willingness to get to know the interesting person sitting in class right next to you. If you go this route, try to work out communication boundaries with your loved one in advance.

5. It’s Your Decision

No one can talk you out of your feelings for your boyfriend or girlfriend. Hopefully, your parents understand that as well. They may try to dissuade you from targeting schools based on love, but only you know the depth of your feelings.

6. Be Honest With Yourself

No matter what pressure you get from your parents on this matter, you owe it to yourself to make an honest list of pros and cons for choosing your college. If being near your favorite person is the only driving factor in wanting to attend a certain school, you need to be 100% sure of your decision. By writing your thoughts down, it will help you understand the real trade-offs of following your heart.

***

As for me, my husband and I survived a year apart while I was in grad school, and we’ve been together over 20 years! I am very glad I got the education I did, while managing to keep the relationship going long distance. (Course, it didn’t hurt that he came to visit me during my semester in Paris, which just happens to be one of the world’s most romantic cities!)

Did you choose your college based on where your boyfriend or girlfriend was going? Did you endure long distance love during college? Let us know in the comments how that worked out for you. 

(Photo: Nina Matthews)

9 Things To Consider Before Moving Off Campus

Posted on January 15, 2014 by:

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Face made out of food on a plate.

Does the thought of another year of dorm food make you want to move off campus?

Are you considering renting an apartment or a house next fall? If so, you will need to consider a number of things—including how to convince your parents. This is especially true if you’ll need them to co-sign the lease.

I’ve signed a few leases myself for my son. And as a mom and a licensed real estate agent, I can tell you, you need to read the fine print! Here are nine things you may need to discuss with your parents before you sign.

***

1. Did You Do Your Research?

In some college towns, the rental market is overheated. So where to find a place? In addition to your college housing website, check online real estate resources. If you work with a real estate rental agent, find out upfront whether you will need to pay them a fee.

If you tackle the search on your own, be careful. There are reported cases of scammers out there online.

2. What’s The Cost Upfront And Per Month

Find out the rental cost per month, and whether the landlord wants first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit upfront. This initial cash outlay can really add up!

Also, you need to know if the landlord wants a bank-certified check in hand to secure your spot.

3. How Long The Lease Is

Landlords may want to lock you in for an entire calendar year—which can be costly, especially if you will not be living there over the summer. It’s always worth asking if they will accept a shorter lease period. They might, but if so, prepare to pay a higher cost per month.

4. Who’s Paying For What?

Are utilities included as part of the rent? Which ones? If you’re covering these, ask the landlord what the previous tenant paid on average for heat, hot water, electricity, cable TV, and Internet. This will let you know if you can really afford a place.

5. Can You Sublet?

Subletting can come in handy for summer months you’ll be away, or if you’re planning to spend a semester abroad and want an apartment to come back to.

Ask the landlord whether you can sublet your room, or whether someone can be added to the lease if he or she approves it. (Sometimes they’ll allow the latter, but it won’t necessarily let you off the hook as a responsible party.)

6. How Many Roommates Can You Have?

Some cities and towns have restrictions on this so college students don’t overload a property with six roommates in a two bedroom. Doing this wears down an apartment quicker (and increases the probability of it being trashed—bye bye, security deposit).

7. How Well You Know Your Roommates

The last thing your parents will want to do is co-sign a lease with someone who will not uphold their part of the deal!

As responsible parties to the lease, you and your parents will be liable for any portion of the lease that your roommates or their parent co-signers do not pay. So trust is important here.

8. What’s The Overall Picture?

Your parents will want details. Is there a washer and dryer on site? How far is the unit to campus (rule of thumb: the closer to campus, the higher the price tag). Is there a food store nearby? What about public transportation or parking? Do you have to cut the grass or shovel the sidewalks?

9. Remember What You’re Getting Into

When it’s time to sign the lease, consider that you are signing a legally binding contract. It is always a good idea to consult a real estate attorney with any questions on the lease before signing. This will help you understand your rights as a tenant under the law.

It’s that old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure …

Did you have an easy time finding off campus housing? Let us know your story in the comments.

(Photo: Katy Warner)

Reflections And Regrets After Graduating College

Posted on January 14, 2014 by:

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Ohio Stadium Homecoming Weekend

Brigit also wishes she’d attended a homecoming football game, even if it wouldn’t have been at a stadium like this.

Since graduating in December, I haven’t had time to think about my years as a college student. A new year is perfect for reflection, so I wanted to share some things I’m happy I did in college—and those I wish I had done.

For those of you with just a semester (or more) left in school, hopefully this list will help you think about what you want to accomplish before graduation.

***

I’m Happy I …

Went To Community College First

I won’t give you the whole spiel, since I’ve written other posts about it. However, the short version is that I saved a lot of money, met some amazing people, and found myself at community college. It’s where my whole college career started, and I loved it.

Got Involved On Campus

I did plays, volunteered, created a club, and ran that club. The experiences made me crazy busy, but they were really fun. I met so many people, got great experience, and overall, spread happiness.

Spreading happiness in the lives of others is what I want to achieve in life, and getting involved let me do that.

Worked On Campus

It was amazing getting an on-campus job—and not just because I saved on gas.

I helped other students “find their path,” just like I had to. I also got good work experience with my job and met other passionate workers. I got all of these wonderful things from my job, and I got paid to do them.

Majored In Something I Love

There are so many options for majors in college. This can be a disadvantage, as it is hard to find one that you love. Luckily, I found one of my passions: English.

I know an English writing degree isn’t one of the most desired majors that companies look for. However, you can minor, or even double major, in another subject as a backup. So, I’m glad I also have my associate’s degree in theater from my community college and a minor in marketing.

I Wish I Had …

Studied Abroad

I definitely looked at the options, and I very much wanted to go to Europe—though I would have been fine going anywhere. However, I was scared it would be a waste of money or time. I couldn’t afford a wasted semester. I wish that I had done my research into the financial options.

Gotten Internships In My Future Career Path

Believe me: I had a lot of internships. Half of my résumé is internships.

However, I didn’t get an internship in my career path of book publishing. Most of my internships were in online publishing, magazine publishing, or nothing to do with my major. Now, I’m worried that inexperience will hinder me.

Applied To Jobs Earlier

I had a plan. I was going to apply to jobs in November, 2 months before I graduated. I met with a career counselor who looked over my résumé, gave me a sample cover letter, and sent me off on my own. I had all of my stuff ready by October.

However, my classes, work, and extracurricular activities started to pick up in November. I also noticed some mistakes on my résumé, so I couldn’t send it out for editing jobs. So November went by, as did December, and now it’s January and my head start is gone.

***

Though it might seem like I have a lot I wish I had done, I don’t regret anything I did. Overall, I’m very happy with my college experience and I hope you feel the same way when you graduate!

Let us know about your reflections and future hopes in your college career in the comments.

(Photo: fensterbme)

“Every Student Is A Lot More Than What The Admissions Office Sees On Paper”

Posted on December 13, 2013 by:

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Van Wickle Gates, Brown University

It’s easy to get past a college’s front gates: just go in for a visit. (It could help you get through them for good, too.)

Lori Connor has worked in admissions and financial aid for 15 years. Today, she helps school implement SALT™ for parent company, American Student Assistance®. Since we’re right in the middle of college application season, Aaron Weber asked her to tell us about admissions, money, and transferring to new schools.

***

AW: What are some common misconceptions about applying to college?

LC: There are three things, really, that I think are tricky for families.

First, people don’t always know how important it is to meet face-to-face with admissions and make campus visits. A lot of students think that they’re done once they finish the application. But it’s more than just the application form. Every student is a lot more than what the admissions office sees on paper, and if you can help us get a better idea of who you are, then we can do a better job. If you can, go to campus, meet the representatives, and do interviews. It builds a relationship with the school. You can still get in without a visit, of course, but it can really help a school understand a student.

Second, fit is really important. That’s another reason I always encourage people to visit campus and meet students and faculty. It gives you more information about the school and helps you decide if it’s the right place for you. The more you know about the campus and what it’s like to be there, the better.

Finally, there’s money. This one’s hard to get right for just about everyone. It’s easy to say “look for the best price” and “money is no object, go to your dream school.” But the reality is somewhere in the middle. What if you like one school almost as much as another—do you let the price be the deciding factor? You don’t want finances to stand between you and your education, but you do need to take them into account.

For students who are applying to graduate schools, or transferring to a new college, how is the process different?

They’re not as different as you might think. Graduate school is a more focused process, because you’re not just applying to a college, you’re applying to a very specific program. There are fewer candidates applying for fewer spaces, so there’s a lot more in-depth review, and more involvement from professors and not just the admissions office. I’ve also found that potential grad students are more likely to ask about the career services office, which is a good thing.

For transfer students, we’ll be looking at both college and high school transcripts. Similar to graduate school, we’re looking at a smaller number of applicants and a small number of spaces, so we can really focus on those applicants. For transfer, it’s even more important to visit the campus if you can. If you can’t afford a visit, call and ask if there’s assistance available. Many colleges will pay to bring promising students out for a tour.

Behind the scenes, what do admissions officers talk about?

We swap stories about micromanaging parents, and about our own kids. My son’s a freshman now, and let me tell you, after helping him apply to college, I really understood where the helicopter parents were coming from. I always swore I wouldn’t be That Parent, but it was a struggle to back off.

Have a question for Lori about admissions or financial aid? Post it in the comments.

(Photo: Will Hart)

The Only Thing That Keeps You Sane During Your Last Week In College

Posted on December 10, 2013 by:

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Broken Clock

You can’t stop time, no matter what you do.

Over Thanksgiving break, I was doing some homework at home (i.e., my parents’ home) when I needed something for the first time in a while: a glue stick.

I was partially appalled (my final year of undergraduate study involved work with a glue stick?) and partially clueless (where could I even find one?). I checked the boxes stuffed in my dad’s office closet, finding a glue stick, as well as my old high school, middle school, and elementary school poster-board projects.

Never did I think 6 years of horrendous science fair experiments could make me nostalgic, but they did. It hit me hard and fast: I only have 1 week left to be a student.

***

What’s Going Through My Head

Frankly, a lot of doubt. We’ve been students our entire lives. College was really just a step up to super student-dom: moving into the corporate world is like moving into the big leagues. No more professors to save the day with extra credit assignments or retakes; mess up a project in the real world, and it could be “bye-bye job.”

Also, as I discovered this summer, being a real person is a lot of work. I’m proud when I have time to make two dinners a week and vacuum my living room. How am I going to cook for myself, clean my own house, pay my rent, and still find time to have fun on the regular? There’s no more course schedule to organize my time.

I won’t lie—I thought about backing out once or twice. Of marching into the dean’s office and telling him I made a huge mistake, that I’d actually like to hand over 30 grand to take Yoga 101 with all my friends for the next 6 months. And then I repeat that statement, and remember something …

This School Ain’t Cheap

If you’re graduating early, there’s a reason for it. Maybe you have some amazing job offer lined up for January. Maybe you’re just sick of eating dining hall food. Or maybe, like me, you couldn’t pass up avoiding another $30,000+ student loan.

Look, I’d like to take yoga and put off my diploma until May, but that’d be handing in my “responsible young adult badge” before I even earned it. For me, it’s a dumb financial move and an even worse character move. Yes, the real world is a scary place, but it’s also our inevitable destination. Why burn money just to delay getting there?

Thinking about the money I’m saving is literally the only thing that kept me sane these past few weeks. That line of thinking might potentially lead to me transforming into Ebenezer Scrooge in a few years, but at present, it’s the truth. I wish I didn’t have to rank money so high on my priority list, but hey, welcome to the world of massive student debt.

Practicality’s bell is a’ringin’, my fellow early grads; here’s hoping it’s not as bad as it’s cracked up to be.

Fellow December grads: What’s keeping you sane as you conclude your college careers? Let us know in the comments.

(Photo: james)

5 Ways To Do the KIND Thing (For Your Body And Your Wallet)

Posted on December 5, 2013 by:

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Kind snack bar buckets

Want your own supply of KIND bars? Visit FaceTheRed.com!

Got #20SomethingProblems? We feel your pain. But with SALT™, The Red doesn’t have to be one of ‘em. We teamed up with some sweet sponsors to help you tackle your financial issues and live well on a tight budget.

Today’s treat: some advice from KIND Healthy Snacks about simple ways to eat well and be well in college. (Please note: Pizza’s not a food group.)

***

“Healthy student.” That’s the type of oxymoron you only hear in English Lit—amiright?

But no! Things don’t have to be that way. Just keep these five tips in mind as you navigate the beautiful chaos that is your college life.

1. Hydrate early and often. Rise and shine with a glass of water, and keep refilling it throughout the day. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to start hydrating; your body will thank you.

2. Catch some z’s. When you’re in a deep sleep, you release hormones that help you maintain a healthy weight. Sheep-counting: commence.

3. Work in a workout. Got 30 minutes? That’s all the daily physical activity you need to get your heart pumping and keep your energy up as you rush from class to class.

4. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Aim to eat at least three to four times a day to keep your metabolism revved (and to avoid those ginormous portions at larger meals).

5. Snack healthy. Look for all-natural snacks that give your body the fiber, protein, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients it needs. As a good rule of thumb, look for items made from whole nuts, fruits, and whole grains with <10g of sugar and >3g of fiber, such as KIND Nuts & Spices bars.

For an easy way to get those bars, sign up for SALT™! KIND is giving away a supply of KIND bars to a new SALT member. Register at FaceTheRed.com for your chance to win.

KIND believes in creating a tastier, healthier world—and also a kinder one. Build your own Do the KIND Thing project, or support someone else’s: http://kindprojects.com. Each month, we support one project with $10,000—and that’s a step in the right direction. Be sure to check that out and visit FaceTheRed.com for your chance to win a supply of KIND bars!

(Photo: Yelp Inc.)

Didn’t Get into Your Top-Choice College? You’re Not Alone

Posted on December 4, 2013 by:

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Smartphone with word "Yes" on it.

Hopefully, you’ve got some good news on your college applications.

This Thanksgiving, my daughter came home for the first time since she left for her freshman year. I was so glad to have a lot of time with her and so happy that she absolutely loves her college—even though it wasn’t her first choice.

I couldn’t help thinking just how different things were just about a year ago, when the news wasn’t nearly as good for her on the college front.

***

Early decision and early action decisions come out this month, and perhaps word is spreading among your friends who got in—and who didn’t. Thinking back to last December, I remember how tough things were for my daughter.

First came the rejection letter from her top choice. Then, in rapid succession, more unfortunate news: two deferrals from early action schools, and the discovery that she missed an application deadline. Imagine how my daughter felt. Also, imagine how I felt. (Some would suggest I took the news way harder than she did …).

You see, a mother is generally as happy as her least happy child is—so let’s just say I wasn’t having a good time either. If you’re struggling too, remember your support system is with you every step of the way.

Your Parents Are In This With You

No matter what happens, when it comes to the college application process, just know your parents are in it with you. You see, your college journey is also part of the fabric of your family. That’s why parents can’t resist asking you and your friends all about it, pretty much all the time.

And these days, with colleges getting more and more applications, most kids experience at least a few rejections, deferrals, or waitlistings. Most parents I know have remarked they wouldn’t have a prayer of getting into their alma mater today, even if their lives depended on it. The competition for a spot at many schools has gotten way steeper—and I’m not just talking about the top tier.

If you think about it, few things you may have been through so far in life are as grueling as the college application process. No sooner have you crammed for tests, secured recommendations, written your essay, and hit send on the common app, than some high achiever in your school gets into Harvard, Yale, or perhaps, your own personal number one dream school. To complicate the emotions, that Ivy-bound person, whom you would love to hate, may actually be your closest friend.

The Right Fit For You

So, maybe your destiny is to end up at a school that wasn’t your top choice. And yet, like my daughter, you quickly figure out that you landed at the right school for you.

If a dreaded small envelope from your top choice shows up in your mailbox, or you click on a “no thank you email” on your smartphone, your parents will try to be the cheerleaders with comments like, “it wasn’t meant to be” or “this too shall pass.”

As for me, a year ago, I was trying to be there for my daughter as she awaited some good news from her colleges. Happily for her, it arrived shortly after the rough start. Twelve months later, she is more than just fine. As for me, I’m so glad she really loves her school. And meanwhile, I’m trying not to bite my nails, while waiting for news this month on my son’s college applications

Did you end up going to a college that was not your first choice school? Let us know in the comments how that worked out for you.

“Winter Is Here” For College Applicants

Posted on November 15, 2013 by:

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Stark Children in the forest

Those Stark kids had it so easy. Pretty sure they were home-schooled.

With temperatures dropping from 60 degrees to 30 degrees in just 1 week, the November cold strolled into the northeast like a burglar in the night. But even though I feel the chill, things back home in Puerto Rico are starting to heat up (and not because it’s a tropical island or anything).

Oh yes. They’re here. College application deadlines.

***

A few weeks ago, I took on the role of college advisor for my little brother. It seemed like an awesome idea at the time (who better to tell you how to get into college than someone who just got out?). However, being far from home has made me helping the little goose quite challenging—but not impossible

If you’re also jumping through these hoops (or helping someone through them), here are a few things to keep in mind.

Graduate High School First

The little bro had a tough agenda these past weeks: he had to retake the SAT, basketball season tipped off, and his classes got more demanding (physics is no joke). All these competing priorities diminished his time to focus on college applications.

These next months are going to be crucial for him. He has to make sure he gets good grades so he can maintain his GPA and make time for college stuff. Fun application essays wait for no one.

My advice when you’re dealing with all this stuff? Keep your cool and focus. As long as my brother does this, I’m positive he’ll make it happen.

Remember Your Responsibility

With all that stuff going on, be sure to take advantage of whatever support system you have (even if it’s an annoying older sister like me).

Technology makes it easy for anyone to receive notifications about upcoming application and test deadlines, as well as to provide help filling out any dreaded forms that come your way. In the end, though, remember that you’re the one trying to get into school.

Recently, the little goose reminded me that one of his selected universities is not part of the Common App, which meant it had an earlier deadline than the rest. Seeing this initiative made me proud. I mean, I should have known about the deadline, but I love that he’s focused on the task at hand: getting into college.

Strike A Balance

I’m proud that my little brother is stepping up to this challenge. Still, I’ll keep supporting him from afar and giving him advice when he needs it.

And soon, I’ll find the right time to tell him he needs to take those SAT subject tests in December.

Applying for college is so much fun.

What advice would you give a new college applicant? Post it below.

(Photo: sweetonsigmafilms)

How To Not Be A SWUG

Posted on October 22, 2013 by:

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Sofa outside in the woods.

Move your couch outside? Yup, still counts as getting out! (Baby steps, people.)

Last Tuesday, my highlight was taking a shower and going to bed at 10 p.m. On Thursdays, I stay in to apply for jobs and catch up on TV shows I’ve missed. People invite me to theme parties on weekends, and I show up in sweatpants and T-shirts.

I have officially become a SWUG, and I am ashamed.

***

SWUG stands for “Senior Washed Up Girl” (or guy, because yay gender interchangeability), and it loosely defines seniors enduring the dying throes of their fun college selves.

Signs of early onset SWUG include frequently refusing to go out, choosing television over friends, regularly doing homework on weekend nights, apathy toward campus gossip, and the gradual fusion of your limbs and your couch.

My recent self-diagnosis came as a bit of a shock; I didn’t realize how bad it was until I finished an entire season of American Horror Story in a single day rather than leave my house. Now that I’m cognizant of my condition, however, I’ve developed a plan to fight it. If you’re suffering from a similar illness, you may find these ideas helpful.

1. Going Out Once A Week Is Mandatory

I make doing homework, going to the gym, participating in extracurricular activities, and applying to jobs mandatory, so I see no reason why I can’t make going out a necessary weekly task as well.

Everybody defines “going out” differently, but in my not-so-ambitious mind, I think of it as an activity lasting longer than a few hours, done outside your home, and done with friends. Thus, everything from getting dinner out to partying in a nightclub counts.

Part of being a SWUG is being a senior; you’re supposed to be proscribing to the “this-is-your-last-time-to-be-a-kid-so-take-advantage-of-it” narrative, remember? Your television and couch aren’t going anywhere, but your friends will be soon. Plus, you can do anything once a week—no matter how excruciating it may be.

2. Be A “Yes” Man, Or Woman

Despite its many flaws, that coma-inducing movie with Jim Carrey does explore an interesting idea: What if you had to say “yes” to every single thing somebody asked or dared you to do?

Well, depending on what kind of company you keep, you might end up in some very interesting scenarios. But ultimately, you’d probably be forced to go outside your comfort zone many a time. As I’ve said about 5 bajillion times, this is a good thing; life gets stale (i.e., SWUG) when you get comfortable. Be nervous more—don’t be afraid to say “yes” to some weird requests.

As always, use your head. Don’t do anything stupid like jump off a bridge or attend a Nickelback concert, no matter how many people ask you to.

3. Don’t Fear The SWUG, Just Delay it

What?! Paradoxical advice, isn’t it?

In thinking about what a “SWUG” is, you may have realized that it sounds a lot like another, much more common life stage. Know anybody else who wakes up early, goes to bed early, rarely goes out, loves TV, and cherishes personal time?

Grown adults.

At some point, we’re all going to become SWUGs to varying degrees. Thing is, nobody will call you a SWUG once you’ve got a college degree in your hands; then, you’re just a regular young professional.

So, senior friends, don’t fear the SWUG—just delay it. I mean, really, you’ve got like 8 months of this college thing left; it can’t be that hard to be a social human for a little bit longer. Take a break from your relationship with the couch for a bit. Separation will only make your love grow stronger.

Fighting your inner SWUG? Share how you defeat it!

(Photo: Wikimedia)