Things I Wish I knew

By: Laila De Jesus


It’s the beginning of your first semester and you’re new to college life. You assume that classes will be a breeze so you constantly skip, skim the pages of your 400-page Introduction to Psychology textbook, and believe you will manage to pass with flying colors because that was how high school was for you.

To your surprise, at the end of the semester you are in shock when the professor loads your failing grade into the system.

A huge misconception I had going into college is that I wouldn’t have to put in much work—boy, was I wrong. Your college experience as well as the grades you make depend upon the work you put into it. There are things I wish I knew before I got to the point where I am now. Even if you’ve been at PCCC for a while, you may still find some of these tips useful.

Not too long ago I found myself outside the bursar’s, financial aid’s, and bookstore’s long lines at Bergen Community College. Not knowing anything about what to do, I went from line to line unsure and confused with a lump in my throat, words struggling to get out. My tuition had been taken care of, but not my books.

It took me the entire first month of the semester to save and be able to purchase the books from the bookstore. When the cashier told me the price, I nearly fainted. The cost was over $500 for 4 introductory course books.

It wasn’t until about two years later when I heard about a website called Chegg.com. Chegg gives you the option to purchase and/or rent textbooks for up to 90% off your local bookstore prices.

With Chegg, you can underline and highlight in the books, and if you want to buy a book after your rental period is up, you can pay the difference and it’s yours.

Online tutors through Chegg Study and Chegg Math Solver are also available for an extra fee, but there is plenty of free tutoring available at PCCC. If you are an EOF or TRiO student, take advantage of the tutoring centers provided in the Academic Hall. In addition, the library has a Writing Center and the Memorial Building has a tutoring center for a variety of subjects. Stop by the testing center for a schedule of the subjects offered and when the tutors for that course will be available. At this point in my life “Netflix and Chill” is not a need—I would much rather have “Amazon and Commitment.” There’s just something about that free two-day shipping that makes me feel that I can have any item I want almost instantly. Being a student allows you to receive 6 months of Amazon Prime for free.

The Student Amazon Prime membership awards you perks such as access to Prime Video, Prime Photos, discounts, and more. Sign up using your school email and after the first free six months, your Prime membership will be 50% off regular Prime price.

Speaking of saving money, let me tell you about Groupon.com. Groupon is one of the best things since sliced bread, or carbs, or chocolate. Groupon allows you to save money, buy goods, services, and get tickets to places and events.

On Groupon you can find anything: car maintenance shops, clothes and coupons, spas and massages, personalized memorabilia, all-inclusive getaways, cruises, air travel, and new and/or refurbished electronics. I have lived by Groupon for six years and buy things for myself and others. I bought a refurbished MacBook Air for $499 two years ago and it is still working like new, gotten tickets to color runs and museums in the city, plus 30 days to 3-month free subscriptions to Pandora Plus, Apple Music, Tidal, Daily Burn, and more.

My fellow classmates know that when the stress of assignments is overwhelming, anxiety keeps you up at night. I’ve found that music therapy and exercise helps significantly. Listen to your favorite songs and artists and dance it out (even if you can’t dance).

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