I have two countdowns on my phone: one for when I turn 18 (which, by the way, is in about 65 days) and one for graduation. Graduation is ticking down at 25 days for me, both exciting me and making me incredibly nervous with each day that goes by.
So, with graduation being just over a month away, I thought I would provide some helpful tips in preparing for college.
• 1. Practice not procrastinating
I remember in the first few weeks of seventh grade when we got a reading assignment to answer questions about “Treasure Island.” And I also remember frantically trying to do that very assignment the morning it was due before my first-period English class.
Already, in the first of the next very important six years of my life, I had fallen into the habit of procrastination — a habit that I have not yet managed to break.
But I have gotten better, and with college on the horizon, it’s important to be as far away from procrastination as possible. There’s this crazy concept of doing homework right when you get it and not waiting until the night before it’s due. An understanding of that concept is essential to succeed in college.
Being in the habit of not procrastinating in high school will only make the transition to college easier.
2. Organize your life
Whether you’re staying at home or moving away after high school, organization is a big part of starting college, not only physical organization, but electronic as well.
Start by going through your closet. You know those shirts you’ve had for years that you’re probably never going to wear, ever? Now is a good time to get rid of them. Along with clothing, do a deep clean of your room and recycle or donate anything you don’t want or need.
It would also be helpful to create a space specifically for schoolwork — an area that you go into and feel ready to do research and homework because it was designated for that purpose.
Another aspect of organization that is often overlooked when preparing for college is email. The first thing to do is create an email that is just your name, and not some obscure username you came up with in the seventh grade. It’s much more professional to have an email like email@example.com than SoccerBug_776@gmail.com, trust me.
If you already have a nice, simple email, then the next step is to conquer the unconquerable and go through a 30-page inbox that is mostly chock-full of junk. Delete the ones you don’t need, and put the ones you do need (or think you might need) into neat folders.
Starting off college with at least a semblance of organization is going to make life much easier in the long run.
3. Try ‘adulting’
Do you know how to do the laundry, wash dishes and manage your money? How about making a meal that’s more than ramen?
These things and more are what it means to “adult” — “to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beefs without blasting social media, etc).” And you might want to try it before you head off to college.
Many times, in the excitement of a new school, new routine and new classes, knowing how to do the simple things gets forgotten about. Before you go your merry way off to college, determined to finally make it on your own, make sure you know how to function in day-to-day life first.
Start by volunteering to make dinner a few times, go grocery shopping on your own and creating a monthly budget for yourself.
4. Find a mentor
Finally, I think one of the best things you can do to prepare for college is to find a mentor and talk to this person. There are a lot of big decisions that come with applying and being accepted into college — which school to go to, what to major in, whether to stay at home or move out, etc.
Having someone to rant to about all of these major life decisions you suddenly have to make at age 17 is a great way to let everything out. Bonus points if this person is able to help you make those decisions and see more objectively what would be best for you and your future. You’re able to get a different perspective and see things in a new light — perhaps a better light than you had before.
College can seem like an enormous leap, but taking it one step at a time makes it a bit easier. In all honesty, it’s about finding things that work for you and getting into your groove. Eventually, if you try hard enough, everything will turn out wonderfully.