Graduation is over, you’re reaffirming to your parents everyday that you’re an adult now, and all you want to do is move in to the dorm. The summer prior to your freshman year of college can seem terribly long, as you’re wrought with anticipation of this new life outside of high school, curfews and younger siblings. The freedom can seem intoxicating, but it will be short-lived if you don’t prepare now.
Use these coming weeks to really prepare yourself for the college experience, especially if you’re planning to move away from home.
1. Drive the Distance. If you’re within driving distance, make at least one practice drive to campus from home, and vice versa. New territory can be hard for anyone to navigate, and if you’re not used to highway or interstate driving, it’s worth taking your college ride for a spin to familiarize yourself with the route.
2. Check-out Campus. While you’re there, familiarize yourself with campus. You likely took a guided campus tour, but this time you should do it on your own. Find your dorm, the cafeteria, the shopping district or mall and decent restaurants.
3. Shop the Sales. Don’t buy the first bedspread, mini fridge and microwave you see. Everyone is vying for your dorm budget, so pit retailers against one another until you gain the most cost savings on all the items you’ll need for your new digs.
4. Work Hard for the Money. Don’t leave home without some extra cash. Pick-up a summer job and start proving your independence to your parents the hard way. It’s also a good time to apply early for jobs on or near campus, as those positions will fill quickly once back to school begins.
5. Scout the Greek System. If you’re considering rushing a fraternity or sorority, it’s better to start doing your homework now to learn more about the different houses. You’ll enjoy the rush experience more if you know a little about each organization first, and which share your values.
6. Take Care of Business. Find out what your health insurance situation will be (and find a doctor), what your finances will look like (your contributions vs. mom and dad), what kind of car insurance you’ll need, and if you’ll need a new bank. If you’re moving into an apartment, plan on getting renter’s insurance and scheduling installation of utilities. Also consider taking a crash course in finance 101 with your parents to help with budgeting.
7. Vehicle Maintenance. Before you end up hundreds or thousands of miles away from dear old dad, get your car into the shop for a full diagnostic and tune-up and take care of even the most minor of repairs now.
8. Health Maintenance. Also, make similar appointments with your health care providers. Get a general check-up with your primary physician, an updated eye exam with the eye doctor, ascertain if you need to use daily contact lenses, a cleaning with the dentist, and visit with any specialists your health requires. Also, discuss an action plan for avoiding the freshman 15 when you get to campus and get a full understanding of any medications you’re taking.
9. Keep In Touch. Be sure to trade contact information like email, phone and mailing address with friends and family before you leave town. For high school friends, this is crucial if you stand any chance of keeping in touch once you leave for your separate colleges.
10. Make Time for Family. It might sound cheesy, but you’ll wish you had if you don’t. Take the time for an extra cookout, shopping trip, movie night or even vacation with your family before August rolls around. Odds are this is the last time you’ll ever live at home, and it’s time you can’t get back once you’ve left.