If you’ve chosen the school, are set on a major, and already have your financial aid all squared away, you might think you’re 100% ready for college. But are you mentally prepared for what is to come? During this last month of summer, review this final off-to-college checklist with a few things you may have overlooked.
#1. Brace yourself for newness.
Whether you’re going to the hometown college or heading across the country, college is a time of change. If you’re leaving home for the first time, it is especially different, with your parents not around to take care of things for you and give you advice, and no set of house rules to follow. But no matter who you are, college is a major life transition. You’re leaving the familiar and broaching the unfamiliar. You’re being exposed to many different types of people and ways of thinking, which changes how you view the world and yourself. Know that things may feel uncomfortable for awhile.
#2. Maintain your support system.
Who are you closest to? Maintain those ties and don’t be afraid to lean on your support system when you need to. The first semester or year of college can be overwhelming in good and bad ways, and you may sometimes need people outside of your college friends and classmates to talk to. Even if you’re eager to be on your own, stay in touch with the people in your life who have your best interests at heart and are there for you when you need support.
#3. Learn to manage your time well.
Poor time management will be your worst enemy in college. Start off on the right foot by getting a handle on your schedule, buying a planner, and USING that planner. Don’t over commit yourself to too many things, but remember that the key to juggling a full course load, social life, and job (if applicable) is being structured and efficient with your time. So, get organized when school begins, and don’t let yourself fall into bad habits, such as piling up papers and never keeping track of upcoming important dates.
#4. Know that you may need help from time to time.
The transition to college may be more difficult than you expect. Before the first day even begins, scope out the services that can help you through—the tutoring center, counseling services, disability services, and more. Every college campus has a wide variety of support services designed to make your college experience great—and give you help when you need it.
#5. Teach yourself life skills you’ll need.
On your own for the first time? If you’ve never been a morning person, now is the time to practice getting up early. If you’re bad at budgeting, laundry, or cooking, don’t wait until adulthood to learn. Don’t let life’s to-dos sneak up on you and cause you stress. And remember that it’s important to take care of yourself at college. Strive for balance in all that you do.
#6. Be open.
College is a place where you will meet and interact with many new people from all walks of life—and form lifelong friendships. It might surprise you who you develop strong connections with. Be willing to get to know all types of people.
Are you going to college soon? What mental prep have you gone through to get ready for this big life change?