By Kelsey Mulvey
Your college debut is so close, you can almost taste the dining hall food. After a year of senioritis and Common App-induced stress, you’re finally on your way to the big, bad world of your alma mater . But before you ditch your pre-collegiette title for good, there are a couple things you need to do to prepare. Though your summer can be fun and carefree, you can’t get ready for college in a week! Thankfully, we’re here to give you a month-by-month guide to prepping for freshman year so you won't be cramming in August. What would you do without us?
Purchase Some College Swag
Now that you’ve officially made your decision, when could be a better time to purchase some college apparel? Nothing says school spirit more than a t-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants, baseball hat, car decal, and anything else you can get your hands on! Not only does purchasing your college goodies now satisfy your sudden burst of school pride, you’ll also be beating the crowds come fall!
Join Your Class’s Facebook Page
After you purchased the quintessential college sweatshirt, it’s time to immerse yourself in the college community. One of your future classmates was so eager, he or she probably created a “Class of 2017” Facebook group by now. Show off your enthusiasm by joining the group. After all, aren’t you the least bit curious to see who else is going to your school? Feeling extra bold? Post your name, hometown, and major on the page. You never know, maybe a cute guy (who’s also an Art History major) will like your post. Don’t forget to take a look at our Facebook guidelines before sending that request to Mr. Art History!
Create a Budget
Even though you might have secretly memorized your parents’ credit card numbers, it’s time to start using your own money. For a lot of you, this will be your first time managing your own money. Sounds miserable, right? From the stressed-induced online shopping sprees to the necessary purchases at your convenience store, everything adds up! To avoid traumatic bank statements, establish a money plan before all the spending madness begins! So how do you do it? Let’s start with the bank account. If you don’t have one, head over to your bank and set one up ASAP. Most banks even have college-friendly plans – how thoughtful! Look at your account, factor in the money you’ll make from your summer job and the ever-so-helpful graduation gifts, and think about how much money you want to have at the end of the semester. Whether you give yourself a monthly budget or decide to pick up a part-time job at school, you’ll feel a little bit better about buying that sequined tanktop! Take this money plan a step further by logging everything you spend and earn. By the time you head off to college, you’ll be extra mindful about your money.
Adopt Healthy Habits
It’s okay to be afraid of the "Freshman 15" – nobody wants to be a victim! Instead of succumbing to the world of too many voyages to your local pizzeria and too few trips to the gym, adopt healthy habits before you even step on campus. Some changes are as easy as drinking water instead of soda or walking your dog for an extra ten minutes. As you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you might start to think twice about ordering pizza for the third night in a row.
Sign Up for a Pre-Orientation Program
Though every school is different, most of them have pre-orientation programs. Um, translation? Students who sign up for a pre-orientation program move in a couple days early and partake in some new student bonding activities, like hiking or community service. Seize this opportunity! It’s a great way to meet new people and some regret not signing up for one. "I didn’t go on one and felt kind of left out that some kids were already friends and I knew no one," says Nicole Echeverria, a freshman at Wake Forest University. What if all the pre-orientation groups are full? Remain calm! We promise you there are other ways to make friends in college; however, pre-orientation programs just give you a head start! In lieu of pre-orientation, some schools have orientation programs during the summer, so don’t forget to sign up for those (if you haven’t already)!
Meet Your Roommate
Whether you picked each other or it’s completely random, you should know who your roommate is by now. After you have yourself a nice Facebook stalk, analyze her Twitter feed, and run a casual Google search, message your new roomie and start planning who will bring what to school. Between figuring out who’ll buy the microwave and coordinating bedspreads, get to know your future roomie by asking her about her family, major, and hobbies. If you live close enough to your future roomie, suggest grabbing a cup of coffee before the year starts!
Start Shopping for Your Dorm
Be honest: you’ve been flipping through PBteen and mentally decorating your dorm room since you were sixteen. Now it’s time to turn your interior design dreams into a reality. But why now? Doesn’t it seem a little too early to start shopping for your dorm? Not necessarily! "Don’t wait until August to buy your dorm stuff," says Laura Baugh, a junior and HC Campus Correspondent at Virginia Tech. "All the good things will be picked over!" Also, you might forget something as simple as a laundry hamper if you wait until the last minute. If you start the search now, you’ll have tons of time to find the perfect pieces for your dream dorm. Since you’ve already started to talk to your roomie about decorations, you'll know if you're planning on a specific theme or color scheme. So what exactly should you buy? Though everyone's shopping lists are different, we’ve taken the liberty of starting your shopping list:
- Mattress pad
- Quilt or duvet cover
- Desk lamp
- Handheld vacuum
- Drawer organizer
- Extension chord
- Cereal bowls
- Storage Containers
- Pictures of your friends and family
- Shower caddy
- Alarm clock
- Garbage can
- Laundry hamper
With a variety of stores to visit (Urban Outfitters, the Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target… you get the picture, right?), it’s important to remember that decorating a dorm is a marathon, not a sprint