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Freshman Innovation Group Blog: Taking care of finances & free time

Follow along with this new FIG blog this semester to learn what life looks like for our amazing first generation College of Liberal Arts students!

The College of Liberal Arts welcomes and celebrates first-generation students—the pioneers who are the first in their family to earn an undergraduate degree at a university.  Almost 30% of all liberal arts majors are first generation. The Freshman Innovation Group (FIG) is a college-specific program that provides incoming, first-generation freshmen a learning community involving a small network of faculty, advisors, and administrators in partnership with students.

This new FIG blog gives an inside glimpse of what the college experience is actually like for first generation students. Follow along this semester to learn what life looks like for our amazing first generation College of Liberal Arts students!


Daniela Guzman

‘Cheap’ is your best friend

College can be expensive. With school, tuition isn’t the only thing one has to worry about. There comes books, school supplies, laptop malfunctions, breakdown of your car, exhaustion of your immune system, and many more issues! With this, prepare to potentially live the cheapest four years of your life. With success comes sacrifice, and college can drain you from your money (the sacrifice).

I was blessed to have parents to help me with my rent, but I am responsible for when “life happens.” I prepare myself for those moments by living the cheap life. If I need new clothes? Thrift store. If I’m hungry? Simple PB&J, or if I’m lucky enough, free food offered on campus. Grocery shopping? Hold on, let me get my coupons. Leftovers? My new favorite kind of food.

Living on a budget has made me humble in ways that I can’t possibly explain. When I lived with my parents, I would never want to eat homemade food, and I would always get fast food instead. Now? Homemade food never looked so good! Finding the cheap way in college isn’t too hard either. Parking passes can cost hundreds of dollars… but I rather wake up earlier than usual and take the bus to save money on gas. Requesting textbooks from the library instead of buying them comes in handy as well, or simply buying them from cheaper sources. Living the cheap life helps you become more wise with your money, and you realize how grateful you should be for the things you have that your parents provided.


Olivia Peralez 

Taking care of you 

Many college students like you and me spend countless late hours studying for exams, balancing assignments, trying to have a social life, and submitting assignments at the final deadline. But we tend to forget about our self-care the majority of the time. While academics are super important, don’t forget to create time to take care of you as well.

First and foremost, get enough sleep! The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night in order to function best. One way to help you get enough sleep is to avoid electronic devices within an hour of going to bed, as the light from laptops, smart phones, etc. may prevent you from falling asleep right away. If you’re naturally a light sleeper, it may help to try some sort of white noise while you’re trying to sleep. Try sleeping with a fan on or even investing in a white noise machine. If you find the sound of rain soothing, check out

Secondly, I would recommend going outside and getting active. It easy to stay in bed and watch Netflix all day long in your free time, but by going to the park and taking a walk (or around campus for those of you who live in the dorms) I promise you will feel better! It’s an automatic mood booster. Setting aside time to relax is another great way to focus on your mental health. Think of something that makes you feel calm and relaxed. Is it reading a good book? Yoga? Sports? Video Games? Crocheting? Set aside a short window of time to do those things regularly. Even if your schedule is packed, setting aside some time just for you will make it much easier to accomplish all your other tasks.

Lastly, prioritize your loved ones. Ideally you should be able to spend lots of time with people that you like, but there are some times when that just isn’t possible. When you’re swamped with projects and deadlines, take a little bit of time to reach out to your friends and family. Send a short text, contact them on social media, or talk to them briefly on the phone. It may not seem like much, but reminding yourself of the people on ‘Team You’ can be a huge mood booster.


Read more of the FIG Blog posts here