Getting ready for your first semester of college can be stressful. Fortunately, we have some of the best tips to help you get ready! Here are 10 things every incoming freshman must do the summer before college begins (besides lounging poolside for hours and hours on end)!
1. Hang out with your high school friends. A lot.
When people told me that college was going to change me, I didn’t believe them. But truthfully, college hastens maturity. You should definitely spend time with your hometown friends and cherish the memories that you’ve made with them. A new chapter of your life will soon begin!
2. Figure out your relationship status.
If you happen to have a boyfriend or girlfriend the summer before college, you’re going to have to make some tough decisions. Will you both stay together as a couple? It’s not entirely impossible to keep up a strong relationship, even if you are college bound and your boo is still in high school. It will take an enormous amount of effort and a strong will, however. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, then breaking the relationship off might be the best solution.
3. Start thinking about your major.
That is, if you haven’t already. A lot incoming freshmen are unsure of their future career. If you’re completely clueless about which avenue to take, think about your hobbies. What are you good at? Then consider practicality. Would you be able to make money doing that? Research careers and get an idea of what you would like to pursue.
4. Learn real-life skills.
If you choose to live in the dorms, you’ll need a lot of skills just to get by. You won’t have your mother there to fold your clothes and clean up after you…AKA, you’re going to have to learn how to do all of this sort of thing the summer before college.
5. Take a tour of your college. Again.
If you’ve done this already, do it again. You can never get too familiar with your future “home.” It would also be great to ask about clubs, job opportunities, and dining halls so that you are ahead of the game. Knowledge is power!
6. Communicate with your future roommate.
Whether your future roommate is a friend or a random assignment, you need to get to know them on a more personal level. Is there anything that you’re allergic to? Do you want the room to be hot, cold, or somewhere in between? It’s important to figure out the best options for both of you (or the three of you) and learn how to compromise. This will be the foundation for your relationship.
7. Figure out how you’ll continue to pay for college.
Hopefully you’ve gotten at least one scholarship or grant that will pay for part of your freshman year tuition. Unfortunately, these opportunities may not last through the length of your college experience…so how will you pay for college? Discuss this with your guardian(s) or parent(s). Loans may need to be taken out and you will have to work at one point or another.
8. Plan, plan, plan.
Please don’t start packing for college the day before move-in. That’s just silly! You need at least thirty days to buy all of your supplies and come up with a game plan. I know some people who decided to take their belongings in two cars so that they could have everything that they needed at college. It might also be a good idea to figure out your route to classes every day. From buses to poorly labeled buildings to freshman disorientation, you’ll need that extra help to get where you need to be.
9. New school, new you?
Most people would change certain aspects of their middle school and high school years if given the opportunity – and I’m going to bet that you made some mistakes too that you would have liked to avoid. College is a new chapter of your life. Not many people are going to know who you were before college. That being said, you can make a lot of changes. Choose to be more brave and outgoing, or more relaxed and tame. Maybe renovate your wardrobe and try out a new style. The possibilities are endless!
10. Take it all in.
The summer before college is the perfect time for every incoming freshman to take a step back and look at all you’ve accomplished. Not everyone makes it to where you are now. College is going to be a whirlwind: it’s going to be fun but stressful and sometimes dramatic. No matter how difficult it gets, remember to take pride in yourself and the awesome person that you’ve become.
What else should all incoming freshmen do the summer before college? Share in the comments!
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I'm a sophomore at Rutgers University. I love to listen to music and read :)