Back to School
College Beat: Top 10 Things to Do Before College
Written by Christi Given | July 22, 2015
Prior to college, there is some preparing and transitioning that takes place, especially if you are going to live on campus or if you move out of state. There are some things in life that will begin to change—for instance, you will meet new friends, and maybe won’t see some old friends as they go off to college. Here are some inspiring and motivating things to accomplish, experience or do before you venture into the college world.
1. Create amazing summer memories and scrapbook them: You may have a clique or group of close friends who are going away to different schools and who you may not see year-round. Go on a road-trip adventure, lay out at your local neighborhood pool or go to the beach, and make a photo album or scrapbook of your memories. These pictures will last a long time and the memories will be there forever. You will look back on the “pre-college” years one day and can have a laugh or two at those classic childhood-friend memories.
2. Create a contact/KIT list and schedule: Michigan State University recommends keeping a list of those closest to you, and creating a space and time to call, FaceTime or otherwise connect with those from your hometown, family or BFFs who may not be transferring to the university or college of your choice. I will call this a KIT (“keep in touch”) list so you can remember to carve out time for relationships, as you will find yourself getting busy with extra-curricular activities, studying and outside events with your new friends or roomies.
3. Create a summer-into-college music playlist: Create a nostalgic playlist that will remind you of this time and season of your life. These are memories you will cherish forever. Who doesn’t like music? Music makes the world go round and makes everything a little bit better (at least in my view). Make your summer pre-college playlist, and keep it for your new adventure that is awaiting you!
4. Pick the activities, hobbies or extracurricular activities you will embark upon in college: Prior to attending college, it’s a smart idea to do your research and see what your campus offers for outside activities, clubs or other opportunities you can be a part of. Maybe there is an honor society, a club, a sport, an athletic class or something you can be a part of to enhance your experience in college. Not everyone is called to be in a sorority, but you can find your niche by reviewing what is offered at your new school and contacting the point person via email to express your interest.
I love music and worship, and was able to co-lead a chapel service or two at my university as well as meet really awesome people in the process. I also was a part of the Communication department’s Honor Society, which will be in my background experience for life. You never know what doors these kinds of clubs or experiences can lead to! Be open and optimistic! I ended up becoming vice president for our Lambda Pi Eta’s Honor Society, which was a door God opened for me that I am thankful for! Step out, be brave and have fun!
5. Know your major and minor, and WHY you are choosing them: Don’t just go into college blindly without doing your part and doing the potential background research. Remember that in life, it is about experiencing adventure, learning about new things and exploring options in life. We also need to remember that we need to make decisions with conscious purpose. Sometimes young people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing because they’re inexperienced, and sometimes it’s necessary to just be open and see what you like in college. I think over time you will develop a sense of what YOU love to do and are passionate about. Are you in love with politics, education, business, entrepreneurship, music or ministry? DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY and ultimately fulfilled.
God created us with purpose and on purpose. Follow what you enjoy doing and are skilled at doing. There is nothing wrong with studying and getting paid to do something you’re good at. Focus on what you like, what makes you feel alive and happy to wake up in the morning…do that. Study that. THAT is the key to your purpose. Don’t waste your time doing something that makes you miserable. Life is worth enjoying and exploring! Hope this helps someone out there. 🙂
6. Explore your hometown before you move and indulge in it: From USA Today: “Eat at your favorite restaurants. Walk around your favorite parts. Drive down your favorite streets. Shop at your favorite stores. Hike your favorite hills. Bike your favorite trails. Swim your favorite pools. Rock out at your favorite venues. See your favorite local comedians perform. Hang out with your favorite people. It may be Thanksgiving before you can again.” Amen.
7. Go dorm room shopping: This is probably a given to most people, but instead of just throwing some of your stuff in a suitcase, using the same sheets and bedding from home as well as your old desk lamp and so forth, make it fun and buy some new dorm room décor. YOLO (“You only live once”), right? Ask your mom, aunt, grandma if they would be willing to help you pick out some cute bedding and/or help to decorate your new room. I’m SURE they would be honored to come help you and make it a special trip and memory. Of course, dads, uncles, grandpas and parental guardians are welcome, too. Enjoy! Have fun! P.S.: A good idea is to look up dorm rooms online and to get ideas from Pinterest.
8. Have a going-away party: This is a fun, bittersweet and exciting idea (from USA Today‘s article “12 Things You Have to Do Before Going Off to College” by Jon Fortenbury). I agree that going-away parties may seem weird, putting yourself in the center of attention, but maybe do a joint going-away party with your bestie and have your close friends and family celebrate both of you going off to college. This is a big deal especially if you’re going out of state to a university.
9. Refresh your wardrobe: Whether you go on a shopping spree, swap clothes with your BFF or go to a great consignment shop, have some fresh new outfits that will boost your attitude or mood before going off to school. I always feel so much better in an outfit I like and get excited with new supplies, clothes or backpacks, etc.
10. Meet or Skype with your new roomie and set up your living situation: Before you move into the dorm, or if you are moving to a new home near your school, make sure to meet your potential roomie and get to know her PRIOR to moving in. If there are any red flags or if you don’t have much in common or don’t feel comfortable, you can resolve the issue or change roommates before the busy schedules kick in with college. You can call your counselor on campus to discuss this and to get advice.
It’s also wise to do a school tour and to get to know the neighborhood prior to moving in. Make sure all of your classes, books and finances are squared away as well. Work smarter and prepare in advance, as this will make your transition even smoother. Don’t wait until the last minute—just a word of advice in general for college (e.g., projects, homework, group studies).
PI Girls, what do YOU recommend doing prior to going to college? Write your ideas below or your favorite one that you will do!