Wearing an outfit that classmates haven’t seen before and toting a new backpack full of unsharpened pencils and a fresh box of crayons, the first day of school is one of the most exhilarating days of the year for young children. Those stomach butterflies typically return during the summer before your freshman year of college as the thought of moving away from Mom and Dad and living on your own for the first time approaches. Freshman year can be incredibly exciting, so be sure that you’re prepared!
The following ideas may come in handy during the summer before your freshman year of college:
1. Get in touch with your roommate.
If you’re going to be living on campus, your school will provide you with contact information for your new roommate sometime before the semester starts. It’s a good idea to get in touch with him or her just to have an idea of who you’ll be living with for the next several months, but you’ll also want to work out a few different details: Who should bring a microwave? Who should bring a fridge?
Colleges pair roommates for different reasons. Some schools use automated computer systems while others pair people up based on their answers to a roommate survey. You may wind up meeting your new best friend, and you may wind up wanting to move out after two weeks.
Give your new roommate a call, send them an email, or find them on Facebook. Just be sure to get in touch before you have to move into the dorm.
2. Locate other incoming freshmen.
While it’s almost crucial to reach your new assigned roommate during the summer before your freshman year of college, you should also find other incoming freshmen that will be attending your school in the fall.
This shouldn’t be difficult at all with a little help from social media. See if your new college has a message board on their website or browse profiles on Facebook or Twitter. Find a few people that will be going to your school and introduce yourself online; you’ll feel as if you already know people when you meet up with them face-to-face on campus!
3. Visit your school’s website.
College websites usually post updates regularly, so visit the site often. It’s a good idea to read information about your desired majors and the biographies of professors, too!
4. Go to orientation or take a campus tour.
Depending on your college, various freshman orientations may be held several different times throughout the summer or only once during the week before classes begin. If you’d like to get familiar with your new school before the large group activities start, go to campus on your own and explore. If you want something more formal, you’ll probably be able to arrange a tour through the admissions office, and you’ll feel a lot better when you come back to move in because you’ll know where things are located.
5. Work through your summer reading list.
It’s a good idea to read a few books the summer before your freshman year of college, if only to stay motivated. Some freshman general education courses do have required reading lists, so be sure to take care of any required reading. The College Board provides a few good ideas for summer reading right here.
6. Get a physical.
Visit your regular doctor for a complete routine physical before heading off to school. Be sure to have your doctor write out refill prescriptions for any necessary medications that you take, and attempt to locate a pharmacy near your campus where you’ll be able to pick them up each month.
7. Have everything in place regarding health insurance.
Receiving a complete physical is a good idea, but a busy schedule and lack of sleep is enough to get anyone in run-down condition and you don’t want to get sick as soon as you arrive on campus. Emergencies also happen, so be sure that everything is in order regarding your health insurance if you wind up in the hospital. Many health insurance companies allow dependent students to remain on their parents’ plans while they are in college, it’s a good idea to have your parents check on this to be sure you are not required to take out your own individual policy.
8. Contribute to your nest egg.
Even if you plan on getting a part-time job during school, you’ll want to save up as much money as possible during the summer before your freshman year of college. Textbooks, clothes, food, going out with friends … it all adds up quickly, and you’ll thank yourself later if you sock away most of your summer earnings.
9. Purchase any necessary equipment.
Many colleges require students to own their own computer, and if yours is outdated it may be time to purchase a new one. You’ll also want a cell phone and iPod or MP3 player as well as a small television for your dorm room – unless your roommate volunteered to bring one when you spoke with them, of course!
10. Spend time with family and friends.
Even though the idea of making new friends at your new college is incredibly exciting, you’ll also have to say good-bye to your high school friends. The internet will make it easy to keep in touch while you’re off at school, but in all honesty you may not see them very often, even when you come home on breaks. Spend time with your friends— take a lot of photographs and make some good memories.
Be sure to hang out with your family as well. The idea of “losing their baby” for a few months may be difficult for your parents, particularly if you’re an only child or the first member of your family to go away to college. You should all take time out of your schedules to go to dinner, go to a movie, even hang out at home and talk. You’ll be glad you did when you miss them later!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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