7 Ways to Make the Most of the Summer Before College


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As the high school chapter of your life closes and you’re waiting for your college adventures to start, your emotions are probably all over the place. One moment you’re freaking out, asking yourself why you wanted to go to school several hours away where you don’t know anyone; and the next you’re super excited for the freedom you’ll have in three short months with no parents or siblings around.

This could be your last summer before internships and summer course work roll around. You want to enjoy the friends you’ve made in high school and the time you have left with your family, all while celebrating and preparing for the next step in your journey. Don’t worry; making the most out of your summer will be easy with these seven tips.

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Work Out and Eat Right

Nearly everyone says it won’t happen to them. In high school, you were a track star or maybe you always packed really healthy lunches with tons of veggies. As much as you try to deny it, the freshman 15 is coming whether you like it or not. Dining halls might boast healthy options, but you might soon find out that the wilted lettuce kind of makes your stomach hurt and the grilled chicken looks questionable at best. Plus, there will be days when you just need pizza and French fries.

Prepare for your culinary future and take steps to eat healthy and get fit now. Summer is the best time for fresh fruit and veggies, so indulge in healthy options while your parents are still footing the bill.  Maybe then you’ll only gain the freshman five.

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Take Pictures of Everything

As much as you might want to deny it now, you’re going to feel at least a little homesick during your first semester. Suddenly you’ll miss the sound of your parents nagging you to get your schoolwork done over dinner and the easy closeness that you’ve with your friends because you’ve known each other since elementary school.

When these moments of sadness briefly interrupt the amazing time you’re having at college, you’ll be able to look back at the millions of photos you took of your best friend being adorable on your coffee date or the one of your dog acting cute and cuddly. Hopefully, home won’t seem so far away and you can head off to your midnight study session in the library with a smile.

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Reinvent Your Look

For the most part, no one is going to know who you are at your new school. They don’t know about the time you spectacularly wiped out in the cafeteria in front of the entire senior class or what clique you were a part of. The easiest way to create a new, authentic you is to mix up your beauty regimen.

Maybe you hardly wore any makeup at all in high school and now you want to try out a bold lip. Perhaps you could chop off 10 inches from your hair because you know it’s going to be impossible to rinse all the shampoo out with the low-pressure showers in your dorm. Now’s the time to try things you were too afraid to do in high school and perhaps find the real you in the process.

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Take a Road Trip

How many great movies have been about a road trip? While it wouldn’t be a good idea to reenact “The Hangover,” a trip across country or maybe just a few states away would be a chance to make forever memories with the friends who have played such an important role in your life. Stick your toes in the sand or hike in a national park. Whatever you choose, it’s the journey with the people you love and your ability to belt out a Taylor Swift chorus in between pit stops that matters.

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Brush up on Basic Life Skills

College is one step closer to the real world, which means you’re going to have to practice your adult skills. Take the time to ask your parents the best way to do laundry, figure out how to use the coffee maker you put at the top of your to-buy list and come up with a list of emergency contact numbers in case you chip a tooth or get a nasty case of mono. If you’re feeling extra motivated, sign up for a few clubs or courses over the summer or spend some time volunteering for a non-profit. Once you get to college, your schedule will be packed with these types of activities. You’ll do much better if you’re already used to the time-juggling act.

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Start Planning Your Dorm Décor

The majority of your free time is going to be spent in your XL-twin bed watching Netflix or at your desk pretending to study. This is where you’ll share secrets with your roommate and hang out with your new college crush. Since this is the place you’re going to be making memories, you want it to look good and be comfy. Scour Pinterest and other websites for suggestions on how to make cinderblock walls a little homier without breaking the bank.

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Make Friends Via Social Media With People at Your College

Look on Facebook for groups or pages that are specific to your grad year and start a conversation with people you think you could be friends with. This will give you a chance to get familiar with some of your new classmates and potentially have made friends before move-in day. Use the page to ask questions you might still need answered and to connect with your roommate, but make sure to avoid oversharing before you even make it on campus.

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Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a blog dedicated to helping readers navigate the job search and work world to find happiness and success. She specializes in career advice but is also a health nut and DIY junkie with a passion for living life to the fullest. You can follow Sarah @SarahLandrum