You’re on your way to the next big milestone. No longer will you be living at home or living the same 8am to 3pm schedule. Now you get to choose your major, your classes and live with a hundred other people like you going through the same life changes. It’ll be amazing and terrifying all at once- but more amazing than anything. Don’t wait until your first day of classes to suddenly freak out about all of it. Start your planning this summer to help make the transition go smoothly.
Figure out how you’ll study. Every person has different study habits that work for them. It also depends on the subjects you may be taking. Take this free time to figure out what will work for you. Maybe you need to invest in index cards for flash cards. Or notebooks so you can write and then rewrite your notes. One of my personal favorites is getting a mini dry erase board and markers and then using that to quiz myself. Whatever the case is for you, make sure you know your study plan. You can adjust it once your classes start, but it is definitely helpful to have a starting point.
Buy your school supplies before you go to school. While you may not need as many notebooks or colored pencils, you definitely still need things in order to be successful. A planner will honestly save your life. With that plan, you will also need pencils, pens, highlighters, and probably a laptop for the basics. Depending on how you study, buy accordingly. If flash cards don’t work then don’t waste the money on index cards. I prefer to buy a five subject notebook and keep all five of my classes notes in it. That way I won’t have to stop by my dorm in between classes and have more room for textbooks.
Start talking to your future roommate. Nothing is more awkward than sleeping three feet away from a stranger. Get to know them now and what they plan to get involved in at school. You can meet up or talk over facetime to get a better understanding of who they are. Together you can plan your dorm, look up school clubs, or reach out to other incoming freshman and make more friends.
Get to planning your dorm. Talk with your roommate on who will buy the fridge, microwave, rug, or other useful things depending on what your school allows. Don’t forget the decorations and cleaning supplies. Your dorm decor will help with the transition and make your room feel a little more like home. The cleaning supplies are a necessity. I don’t even understand how so much dirt and dust gathers in one little room, but somehow it does. Cleaning also helps keep the sickness away, and trust me you don’t want to be sick during finals or midterms.
Contact your professors early on before the semester begins. Reach out and email them. All of their emails should be found on your college or university’s faculty page. This is a great way to get ahead in classes and figure out what they’re looking for. Be friendly and professional. Creating that relationship will be extremely helpful and can be a great thing for the next four years. If you’re too shy for that then google your professors to see what other students have to say. This way you can prepare for their teaching style and buy textbooks early on.
College is an amazing chance to figure out who you are. While it may seem big and scary, I assure you that it will be quite the adventure. Prepare now so that way you can have an easier transition and be able to focus on classes as soon as you arrive.
Katelyn LaScola is 19 years old and attends James Madison University. She is double majoring in Writing, rhetoric and technical communication as well as media arts and design. Between running her own blog and studying constantly she makes time for her friends and family as much as possible. She likes to stay busy and will not be seen without her planner in hand. She hopes to help end the stigma around mental health and encourage others to become leaders wherever they may be.