By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

As I enter my third year of college at KCC, the statement “Wow, I was such an idiot” struck my mind as I realized a few mistakes I made over the past two years. Since beginning college, my parents constantly remind me to be ahead of the game which forces me to prepare weeks in advance from the first day back to school. Now looking back, it hit me that the many reminders I was given were unnecessary to check off my to-do list early.

The most crucial mistake I made, and believe many other college students have made, was buying all of my textbooks before classes began. I would have this fear from thinking that I needed to have my textbooks ready for class even though I knew nothing normally happens on the first day. As a result, I would visit the bookstore a week before school began to start looking for used textbooks to purchase, believing that I was getting the best deals on earth since I was saving a few bucks compared to the brand spanking new plastic sealed books.

On the contrary, deciding to shop this way was a foolish choice and left me with textbooks that went untouched and barely used. I was practically banging my head against a wall when I realized I wasted $135.20 on a textbook for my history class that went unused for an entire semester. Although I had the help of scholarships to pay for this classroom essential, this money could have been budgeted in a more effective manner, hopefully in a way that would have left me with some remaining to be used for the following semester.

It was the second semester of my second year that I began to start browsing for alternative textbook types that would be cheaper. Since I consistently bring my laptop with me to school, relying on an online textbook through the KCC Digital Textbooks website at a reasonable rental price was perfect for my educational needs. I did this for most of my classes whenever it was available and saw a much happier bank account when purchases were completed.

With this new semester of school beginning, I plan on waiting to buy some of my textbooks until I find out whether it’s necessary to have certain ones on hand. Rushing to have all textbooks early causes unnecessary stress and a waste of money if students fail to budget effectively. Even though some people may urge constantly to be prepared for when school begins, it is better in most cases to wait for a few days until buying textbooks for classes to subside the back-to-school hassle.

I remember registering for classes when I was starting my first year of college at KCC and having no idea of what I would enroll in for the first semester. Luckily, with the help of a Hoʻokele Peer Mentor, I chose classes that actually fulfill the requirements for my Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in English. Thinking back, if I had chosen the wrong classes to take then I would have wasted money and postponed my graduation time by an extra semester.

It was when I signed up with the Kaʻieʻie Program and spoke with the Kaʻieʻie Transfer Specialist, Jennifer Brown, that I received a document outlining all of the requirements I would need to meet in order to receive the specific degree I was majoring in. I was extremely relieved to have this on hand; it was as if the gods pitied my confusion and knew they had to send something to guide me. From that point on, I was able to step away from the guessing game and have a concrete idea of what classes I could choose that would complete my degree yet also be of most interest to me.

Seeing a counselor in the Maida Kamber Center (MKC) either before school begins or during the first week back is a task all new students should do to prevent themselves from taking unnecessary classes. Doing so helps to establish a connection while also allowing students the opportunity to learn what programs KCC has to offer that might suit their interest. Even if students come to campus undecided in their major, it is still best to speak with someone on campus for help in determining a general pathway to take.

College is like a maze with infinite exits; it is challenging but has its perks in which certain turns and decisions can lead to a memorable outcome. I started out taking a few wrong turns due to my back-to-school mishaps from the past two years but was able to get back on the right track after learning from my mistakes. College is nothing compared to high school where all school supplies should be bought and ready for the first day and class schedules are made ready for you. I say procrastinate on getting textbooks to shop around in the bookstore and online for the best price but be the first person in line to see the next available counselor in the office. Making decisions like these can save students’ minds and bank accounts while hopefully creating an easier back-to-school experience.