9 Last-Minute Things to do Before Leaving for College


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You’ve been in school for over a decade, and you’ve finally reached the pinnacle of your academic career: You’re heading to college. Despite the excitement, though, the last few days at home might feel a bit daunting. Saying goodbye is never easy, and neither is packing up your entire life. That’s why we’ve put together a list of nine last-minute things to do before you start life as an undergraduate. You won’t find packing tips or a shopping checklist here — these are the activities that will leave you feeling good and, better yet, ready to take on college.

Plan a BFF(s) Night

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When you head to college, your high school friend group is one of the hardest things to leave behind. Chances are you’ve known some of these people since you were in elementary school. In your last few weeks or days before heading off, plan a BFF blowout. This might be a get-together for you and your very best friend or your group of closest girlfriends. Whether it’s a spa night or old-school game night, you’ll be certain to make a few more memories to tide you over until Thanksgiving or winter holidays when you’re all home again.

Simplify Your Clothing Selection

Dorms aren’t known for being very spacious, which means you probably won’t be able to bring along everything in your closet when you head to school. Make the job a little bit easier by getting rid of the clothes you don’t wear. You can donate what’s still in good shape and toss the rest. Hey, you might even be able to convince your parents to treat you to a few new outfits to spice up your consolidated closet, and there’s nothing better than heading to class in clothes that make you feel confident.

Adopt Healthy Habits

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Many people head off to college thinking that the infamous Freshman 15 won’t strike them. However, it’s a lot easier to succumb to it than you’d think. Before you leave for school, find an exercise regimen that you enjoy following so you can avoid any unwanted unhealthiness. You can even take it one step further by learning how to prepare healthy dorm meals — or how to put together a healthy plate at the dining hall.

Get to Know Your School

You’ve got plenty of free time over the summer, so use it to get familiar with your new school. If it’s nearby, spend a day walking around and getting to know campus. You can find the buildings where you’ll live, where you’ll eat and where you’ll attend classes. The same goes if you’re heading to a faraway school, although you’ll probably have to settle for studying a campus map online. Either way, you’ll feel much more confident walking around in your first few days when you know where you are.

Get to Know Your Roomie

By now, your college has probably sent your roommate’s name and basic contact information to you. Send her an email or find her on Facebook before your first day so you can start getting to know each other ASAP. If you leave for school familiar with your new roommate, you’re sure to feel much more at ease with your new living situation. You might even be able to meet her beforehand if you happen to live close to each other!

Read Up

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We’re not suggesting that you get a head start on reading your new textbooks. Instead, dive into books that will prepare you for the collegiate way of thinking or will inspire you to achieve your dreams. You probably won’t have much time to read for pleasure once you start studying for class, so revel in the opportunity you have this summer.

Learn Survival Skills

Okay, “survival skills” might be a bit intense, but college is the first time you’ll be out on your own. For that reason, you should spend your last few weeks at home learning how to take care of yourself. Take over your own laundry duty and volunteer to prepare your family a simple dinner so you know how to do it when you’re on your own. Tailor your practice list to the tasks and comforts of home that you want to bring with you to university.

Get the Doctor’s (and the Dentist’s) Thumbs Up

If you’re going to school a few hours or a few states away, you won’t have easy access to your childhood doctor and dentist. For that reason, you should get a medical and dental check-up before you leave. Many universities require that you have a physical anyway, which will ensure that you’re in tip-top shape medically. Check in with your dentist to make sure your teeth are healthy, too, as summer is the perfect time to recover from wisdom-teeth removal and other dental procedures. Plus, you may not be back home for your regular cleaning.

Remember It All

Not to get too sentimental, but this is your last summer before college, which means you’re pretty close to full-on adulthood. Here at The Smart Girls Group, we can guarantee you one thing: You’re never going to have a summer like you’re last one before college (even though that’s not always a bad thing!) Take as many pictures as you can to remember this exciting and carefree time in your life. As an added bonus, you can use these pictures to decorate your new dorm room. Then, you can look up at them as you prepare for finals and remember that another summer with your friends is just around the corner.

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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