It doesn’t matter how many times you hear these words your pulse will rise, your heartbeat will pound out a tune and your smile will widen so much your cheeks will hurt, that’s because you’re heading off to college. Yup. You successfully applied and now you’re about to embrace freedom like you’ve never known it, leaping into the kaleidoscope of new experiences as you indulge your brain in its need to learn and carving out a better future yourself. Come on, it doesn’t get more exciting than that.
But for all the excitement that is swirling just below the surface, there is probably more than a few drops of terrified anticipation. Don’t worry, this is totally normal. You’re about to step as far outside of your comfort zone as you have ever been, so it would be pretty weird if you were as cool as a cucumber.
So, to help make this transition as smooth as possible and help you fend for yourself in the wild savannah of college, I have come up with a list of things you should know about before taking the trip to campus for the first time.
1. Three Healthy Meals
As good as pizza for breakfast, mac and cheese for lunch and KFC for dinner everyday sounds, it is not the kind of diet your body and brain is going to thank you for. That’s why we recommend you spend this summer learning how to cook at least three simple and healthy dishes. Then when you’re at college, try and learn another one every week. Once the basics are down you’re good to go.
2. Managing Money
Life is pretty expensive. You need to accept that fact pretty quickly and then come up with a way to prevent it from overcoming your life. That means making a budget. So work out how much the necessary things will cost you each month, then work out what luxuries you will need to account for and then determine what kind of job you may need to allow for this lifestyle.
3. Learn About Laundry
It is the most overwhelming thing you will come across in your first week away from home. Seriously. It will. That’s because you can’t avoid doing it (unlike cooking and cleaning your room). So ask mum for a lesson and learn what the symbols in the labels of your clothes mean. Trust me. You’ll want to know how a washing machine operates before being faced with one in the wild.
4. Being Responsible
The most important thing you can have at college is fun. But fun can quickly turn into a disaster if you don’t balance it with acting responsibly. Know your limits when it comes to drinking so you don’t ruin a night out.
Have info regarding public centres to get tested should hook up with that cute person you fancy in your psychology class. Know how to manage stress when it comes to exam season.
Know that it’s better to have the number for campus police and not need it than to need it and not have it. You’re on your own at college, so learn how to be responsible.
Being smart about finances is also important. Becoming financially independent is integral to life during and after college as you balance tuition fees with living expenses and social outings. You might also start to look into how to wisely invest like Abigail Adams did about 200 years ago.
5. Never Miss Class
This is your chance to create that future you’ve always dreamed of, land that job you’ve always wanted and been that inspiration to other women that you’ve wanted to be since you were given that book on inspiring women in history for your eighth birthday. That is what makes class so important. It is why you worked your butt off to get to where you’re going, so make class your priority. Everything else can wait.