I just finished my first year of college, and I feel so relieved but also a little sad that it has come to an end so fast. But I am ready for the summer and cannot wait to see my friends back at home. Some of my friends are graduating in a couple of days, and I want to give all graduating seniors who are going away for school a little gift from me to you: My list of what I think every incoming college freshman should do over the summer to prepare for school next year!
1. Spend crazy amounts of time with family and friends.
You’re going to tell your friends that you won’t lose touch, and it may not be intentional, but sometimes it just happens. You all are doing your own thing, and you may not talk every day like you did in high school. That’s OK. So spend time with your friends and go on cool adventures you can take pictures of and put in your dorm room. Don’t ditch your family for them, though, because you will miss them just as much. Have a balance and you’re set.
2. Take a walk through your campus; familiarize yourself!
Something that I should have done was familiarize myself with my campus. While it wasn’t huge, I still had difficulty figuring out my way around in the first couple weeks, or knowing where to go when someone told me to meet them somewhere. Take a nice walk through campus and get to know the place you’ll be staying for the next four or so years.
3. Enjoy the convenience of being at home.
You really don’t understand the broke college kid life until you have lived on your own. Sometimes you want to eat a sandwich and realize you have to spread peanut butter with a plastic fork and make it on a piece of tissue. Being at home gives you an endless supply of food (for free!) and simple things you might take for granted but definitely won’t when you live independently.
4. Familiarize yourself with the town you’re going to live in.
It took me a while to leave my campus and explore the town I went to school in. But when I did, it was a great change. I lived in a small town my whole life and when I moved to a downtown scene, it was such an experience. I tried different foods, had my first cup of Philz coffee (which was life changing) and felt more independent. Looking around your town will allow you to feel like you truly live there and you won’t feel confined to the borders of your campus.
5. Take some time to appreciate the furry friends.
If you have a pet, you understand how much the separation anxiety hits when you leave them for a while. Well, the unfortunate news is that you often can’t bring anything other than a goldfish into a dorm room. Go on walks, take them to the park, cuddle with them, hold onto them tight because you will find yourself trying to Facetime your furry friend and they do not recognize your voice over the computer. Sounds sad, but don’t worry: the reunion between you and your pet is the best feeling when you come home!
6. Shop for the dorm/apartment necessities.
Do not procrastinate on this! I repeat, do not procrastinate. There are going to be a ton of things you will need and might find yourself calling you mom to send over things that you forgot. In order to avoid that, make a full list of EVERYTHING you need. Check off what you have, and make sure you do a full run through before you leave. (Don't forget a lot of snacks!)
7. Don’t stress.
I was extremely stressed for my first year. Granted, I’m a more high strung person, but the idea of this new experience scared me. Meeting new people, being away from home, adjusting to a new schedule; it was all so new. But if you stress over the summer, you will go to school and realize you wasted your time because there is nothing to stress about. Just make sure you have everything your university requires you to do before you go and you will be fine. My biggest tip is don’t stress, and get ready for a thrilling first year.
These tips are only a couple of things I would've liked to know before I went to college. While it may not guarantee absolute preparation for your first year, it'll be a good start. Your first year will bring many ups and downs and throw in a bunch of curveballs, but that is definitely all part of the fun! Enjoy the summer before your first year, because before you know it, you'll be packing up in no time!
Lead Image Credit: Tori Merrell