By SUMMER PERRITT
Photo credit goes to thecollegeinvestor.com.
Your high school graduation is one of the happiest moments of your life. Feeling accomplished and proud, you are ecstatic and carefree as those final stressful days melt away and you are left with three whole months to yourself.
But then reality sets in. You are leaving for an entirely new place with entirely new people, and you only have three months to prepare. Here are 10 tried-and-true ways to make the most of your summer in preparation or your first year of college (to do when you aren't busy living it up, of course).
1. Find (if you haven't already) and contact your future roommate
Whether you are best friends from birth or complete strangers to one another, it is always a good idea to contact your roommate before you both show up on move-in day. Decide who is bringing what to the room, and make sure you are OK with what they are moving in with and how they may be decorating their side.
For many roommate pairs, coordinating decorations is not only fun and a good way to bond with your future roomie, but it also gives your space a much more relaxed and personal feeling. It also might be a good idea to coordinate move-in times, if at all possible, so you won’t be on top of each other while getting settled.
2. Order your books in advance
If you already have your schedule for the fall, go ahead and order your textbooks. If you wait until the week before, they might not reach you before your address changes permanently. It is also always a good idea to email a professor about the textbook requirements if you aren't absolutely certain, as some professors like to change the list once the class is underway. Don't forget that rental textbooks are your friend!
3. Make a packing list
If it’s still early in the summer, and you don't want to start packing away all the things you might need in the meantime, make a list of things you think you are going to need in college. You can refine the list as you go but it’s it nice to have an outline before you begin.
4. Actually read the required reading
The last thing you want to do when you graduate is more homework, but there may be a good reason why colleges assign that book over the summer. The book may be about your chosen institution, or it describes some of the ideals they hold close. Either way, it is nice to have a little more insight into a place you are going call home for four years. Plus, professors and administrators are bound to make a million references to the book during the first semester, so it’s nice to know what is going on.
5. Set goals
Before you get to college, make a list of things you want to accomplish in your first semester. It is a good way to stay focused on what you really want out of your college experience, especially with the multitude of distractions that are thrown your way. Even if the goal is as simple as not getting lost on you first day, putting it down on paper helps you stay on track.
6. Research clubs you want to join
A good way to prepare for your first year of college is to research what clubs and organizations your institution has to offer. Getting involved is the best way to get acclimated to your new environment, and it’s also a lot of fun! Your college or university should have a club fair early in the semester to give you information about all they have to offer, but it can be very chaotic and overwhelming for a first-year student who has no idea in what they are interested.
A little preparation beforehand can allow you to limit what organizations you want more information on and decide which ones are actually worth joining. Additionally, if you are planning to join a Greek organization, researching which chapters are on your campus is helpful during the chaos of rush week.
7. Amazon Prime and other perks
As you are now officially considered a college student, you can capitalize on some of the college perks. With your student email, you can sign up for a ton of helpful websites that give discounts to college students. The best of these is a free six-month trial period of Amazon Prime.
With this account, you can get faster shipping for free, extended student discounts and half off Amazon Prime when the trial runs out. Signing up at the end of the summer is a good way to prepare for your first week.
8. Stay (or get) healthy, and sleep as much as you can
The freshman 15 is not a joke, but it is avoidable. As cliche as it is, practice good exercise habits now so you won’t be playing catch-up in the fall. If you aren't already in good shape, the summer before college is the best time to build stamina and gain a little confidence. You should also get as much sleep as you can because your time is limited in college, and you won’t waste it sleeping.
9. Say goodbye and look to the future
Whether you are going to college five minutes or five hours away, your life is going to change. Take the time to say goodbye to the things and people that you love, even if you’ll see them all in a couple months. Walk your dog down that path you love to wander down, eat at your favorite restaurant and hang out with your friends at your usual spot, because it will never be the same as it was in those final moments.
The path will still be there, the restaurant won’t close and your friends will all come home for winter break, but you’ll be different, and you’ll wish you'd have taken the time to appreciate that before you wished your last summer away.
10. With that said, get EXCITED
Daydream about your new life. Google pictures of the campus. Get pumped for college. You are about to embark on an adventure, and you are going to have the time of your life. Yes, you might change, but it will hopefully be for the better.
All the preparation you put in will definitely pay off, but don’t stress about the things you can’t control. Focus on having an amazing last summer as you are about to have an amazing first year of college.