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Tuition payment is a stressful time of year for every student, but when one looks at their tuition bill, it can become even more stressful. Often, students will see charges for items such as "library fee," "student center" and "computer service" and become frustrated about all the extra expenses that they will need to take out loans for or pay out of pocket.

While there are many valid concerns about the high expenses of college, student services are vital parts of the college experience. Therefore, students should fully utilize the services covered in their tuition bills, such as the recreation center and the library.

Students should take advantage of these services because, when utilized, they will enhance a student's physical and mental health.

The health center is one of the most direct applications of this. The Student Health Center (SHC) allows students to fill prescriptions, seek sexual and reproductive care, get immunized against various illnesses, including COVID-19 and receive urgent care. Not only is the SHC within walking distance for many students, but the services are also often at a cost significantly lower to students than that of a traditional doctor's office. In addition, they allow students to seek care as soon as they need it.

Another student service that can help a student with their health is the recreation center. Unfortunately, in a 2017 study, college freshmen transitioning from high school to college reported a significant decline in physical activity levels from their high school years to their college years. However, this should be changed, considering that studies have shown that exercise can increase cognitive levelsreduce stress and increase energy.

Exercise can even help build confidence, which can help students get the most out of their college experience. For example, Megan Martin, a marketing senior, has improved her confidence since she started using the recreation center.

"It has definitely made me more confident about myself and more of a social person," Martin said. "I am not hesitant to walk up to strangers or to even work out in front of them."

The recreation center offers various activities such as paddleboarding excursions, lifeguard training and swimming lessons. These activities allow students to get active, make friends and perhaps begin a new hobby.

The LBJ Student Center is also a valuable resource covered by tuition fees. LBJ is not only home to several central student offices, such as the counseling center and the Office of Disability Services. It also offers free leadership workshops, presentations and community volunteer opportunities.

The Student Center also hosts art exhibitions that any student on campus can apply for and participate in, even if they are not an art major. The center is just one of many outlets that students can use to exercise their creativity and meet people with similar creative interests.

Students should take full advantage of these services because they can help them find their first full-time job or even help launch their careers.

Texas State's Career Services office is the most direct example of this. Career Services offers a wide range of assistance for students seeking employment during and after college, from resume reviews to the Career Closet, which offers one complete professional outfit to students free of charge. These outfits are a potential lifesaver to students attending interviews and seeking internships since, according to Inc.com, a new, high-quality suit can cost up to $1000.

Other student offices offer further opportunities for students to gain employment they would not have otherwise obtained. For example, Alkek Library offers micro-credential courses in topics such as audio and video editing, GIS software and 3D printer design, which can be put on a resume or serve as a starting point for students gaining experience in this technology for their respective fields.

Even locations such as the recreation center offer students opportunities to further their careers. For example, the rec provides classes such as CPR certifications and training courses such as National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) personal training and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) group fitness certification courses.

Daniel Smith, a nutrition and food science senior, became a personal trainer at the rec after he received encouragement from the Recreation Center's registered dietician, Mitzie Rojas. Smith took his NASM certification course through Texas State, which he found beneficial as he underwent the process.

"[It] helped me because it was cheaper and I got to work with other trainers that I work with now," Smith said. "It also helped me get familiar with the environment that I work in now."

Those who do not use student services may think an opt-out system may be better for students who don't intend to use them. However, it may be best to reconsider this. All college students can benefit from services such as the library, recreation center and career center. It would be unfortunate if a student decided mid-semester that they wished to use their services, only to find themselves unable to use or to pay a hefty fee to access them after opting out at the beginning of the semester.

In conclusion, while students often hunt for ways that the school should cut down on expensive tuition bills, vital student services should not be on the chopping block. But, if they are, their absence will be sorely felt.

-Tiara Allen is a marketing senior

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