Forgive me for sounding cheesy, but life moves really freaking fast… and it’s only going to get faster. Before you know it, summertime will be here, and for some of you, that means it’s that glistening, wonderful summer between high school and college. It’s a magical time, yes, but along with the carefree fun are a few things you need to do before you leave for school. I know, I know: it’s your last summer to be a completely irresponsible high schooler, so why bother to be productive? If there’s one thing I can tell you, though, pacing out the real stuff you have to do over the course of a few months is way better than locking down an otherwise beautiful, sunny week in August to drag your parents around while you do errands with them and cry-panic that it isn’t easier. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, fellow procrastinators.
And you know what? It doesn’t all have to be boring stuff. Setting yourself up to be a real, functioning adult can be exciting. You never thought it’d be possible to lose your mind in a Bed Bath and Beyond before, but when you’re able to make some real decor decisions about your new dorm room? You’ll suddenly find yourself creating a Pinterest room decor board and following Home Goods and Pottery Barn on Instagram. For what it’s worth, all of your classmates are going through the same thing, so maybe pair up with a friend to make it the errands more bearable. However you do it, just make sure you get these things done. Here are 15 things you have to do the summer before college:
1) Get a job and save money.
I know! Hear me out. College makes you poor. Being poor stresses you out. Future you will thank present-day you for having enough foresight to pad that bank account with some grocery money and going out money. Plus, jobs can be fun! You can make new friends and do new things.
2) Make a financial plan.
Money is probably one of the last things you want to think about when you’re busy counting down the days until you start school. Unfortunately, you have to think about it. Talk to your parents to see if they’re willing to help you out, figure out what you have saved, decide on meal plans, look into financial aid and extra scholarships… etc, etc.
3) Coordinate who’s bringing what with your future roomie.
Don’t just buy things without asking first – you’ll end up with two of a bunch of items and zero of some necessary ones. Figure out who’s bringing the mini-fridge and who’s bringing the microwave. How do you guys feel about sharing plates and glasses? You don’t want to wind up with a thousand floor lamps and zero forks, spoons, and knives.
4) Join classmate groups on social media.
Regardless if you think it’s super cheesy, having a friendly face you recognize when you get to campus is going to be a relief. You’ll also learn who’s living where and
do some valuable internet stalking reach out to your new neighbors before you show up. Connect online before you meet in person and secure yourself a friend before you even arrive.
5) Get rid of some of your stuff.
All of your life is about to get packed in to boxes and you’re going to realize how much stuff you have. You don’t need most of it. Really. Packing is going to be so much easier when you don’t have to sift through a mountain of your belongings and you already know what your essentials are.
6) Start keeping up with current events.
I hate it when I sound like your parents, but you’re about to get asked how you feel about the election, Kobe’s retirement, and, oh, did you hear about Kelly Clarkson’s new baby? If it sounds like a lot to take in and that it’s going to give you a headache in the long run, you’d be right. Thankfully, there are services like theSkimm that deliver everything you need to know in your inbox every morning so you don’t have to hunt down points and counterpoints to be sufficiently woke and well informed.
7) Do something you’ve never done before.
Have an interesting story to tell your new college friends! Even if it’s a basic like learning how to ride a bike or riding a rollercoaster for the first time, there’s bound to be some hilarious mishaps that go down when you attempt to learn as an 18 year old. Get a little adventurous!
8) Learn how to cook.
Unless you’re cool with microwaving everything and bloating from all that sodium in prepackaged meals, then by all means, go ahead and never eat fresh food ever again. Okay, that was harsh, but buying ingredients is infinitely cheaper than buying prepared food and – like I’ve said over and over again – you’re about to go broke for the first time (out of many times in your life – I’m so sorry).
9) Figure out how to do your own laundry.
If you don’t know, have your parents teach you. Laundry is about more than just throwing clothes into the machine. Figure out what you’re doing so you don’t ruin your favorite items.
10) Learn how to do some basic home repairs.
What do the different types of screwdrivers do? How do you unclog a toilet?
11) Adjust your social media privacy settings.
For the sake of landing yourself an internship and your employers not seeing baby’s first keg stand, adjust your privacy settings. Your social media profiles are about to become a tagging fiesta, so lock everything down. It might feel lame to have a locked account, but once something’s on the internet, it’s hard to take down for good and you want to be protected against things your peers may tag you in without your consent.
12) Find a way to stay active that doesn’t feel like exercise.
There’s nothing wrong with gaining weight, but at the same time, you want to make sure you’re staying healthy. You’re going to want to find a way to move your body somehow, even if you hate exercise. I personally hate the gym, so I just started walking everywhere instead of taking public transportation or driving. Find what works for you.
13) Work out a communication plan with your parents.
This is the longest you’ve ever been away from them ever. If you have an overbearing parent, clarify that they don’t need to call you every day, but give them a social media link so when they see you post, they know you aren’t dead. Texting and calling your parents can be a real lifeline, just make sure that neither of you are feeling overwhelmed or are being too needy and demanding.
14) Set up a debit card and checking account.
This is how you are going to get access to your money without having to drive to the bank to withdraw cash from your savings account. A debit card is going to revolutionize your life (if you don’t already have one).
15) Eat all of the food in your parents’ fridge that you didn’t pay for.
IT’S GLORIOUS. You’re about to enter the world of marking your string cheese with your initials so no one else eats it. Enjoy having free reign over a stocked fridge and pantry. All of the snacks forever and ever amen.
Which of these things are you going to do? What did we forget to include? Tell me in the comments!