Congratulations! You’ve just graduated from high school and have been accepted to a university (or several!) You’ve worked hard and should enjoy your last summer at home before going off to college. You may feel like being “lazy” before classes and your busy freshmen year begins; by all means, relax, but there are several things that you should concentrate on over the summer, while you still have time!
1. Get organized.
If you don’t already have an electronic calendar, start one! Research some options, create yours online, and start using it! I recommend Google calendar, linked with a Gmail address, which can be synced to smartphones. Getting organized is the first step in time management, which is one of the key problems that college freshmen face. In just a few short months, no parent will be waking you up, reminding you of that homework, or telling you to get moving before work starts.
You may already be keeping track of expenses and incomes, but if not, try to get on the ball. Managing your own finances will save you lots of grief in college and later in life. Even if you won’t have your own source of income (a job), you will need to know how much to expect from family, how much you’re going to spend from a savings account, or how much you need from a summer job. Calling your parents from college is great, always calling just to ask for money is NOT. Start being responsible!
3. Research options on campus.
When classes start, you are going to be very busy. Take the opportunity now to research some of the social options on the campus you will be attending. Look up the student organizations, the community service clubs, the recreational sports leagues. If possible, put their first meeting or orientation in your new calendar, or like their Facebook page.
I know, I know, this is a ‘boring’ task, but it is what you make of it. Instead of reading the old boring novels that were required in your high school classes, pick up one for your own enjoyment. A bestseller or a book that has been made into a movie is a nice change of pace. If you’re really looking to get ahead, read some of the novel or textbook that will be required in the fall, especially if you’re taking a few reading-heavy classes, such as English, History, or Political Science.
Start the habit of reading a book in your downtime (even over winter break) so that as an adult you will be more likely to continue reading, which not only makes you smarter but makes you more interesting company!
In a few short months, eating whatever and sleeping whenever you want are going to be very tempting. The “freshmen 15” is not mythical though: most freshmen students stop exercise, make too many trips to the dining hall buffets, and snack on unhealthy foods and therefore gain weight. If you don’t have a regular exercise routine now, or if it won’t fit into your new college setting, establish one that will. Check out the campus rec center which is already covered in your paid fees!
This summer is a great opportunity to think about your future and to appreciate your family, friends, and others who have helped you along the way. A few steps of preparation will help make your transition easier and smoother for all involved. Good luck!
Don’t forget! We offer academic and support services for current college students as well as high school students.