THE BLOG
07/22/2014 05:47 pm ET Updated Sep 21, 2014

7 Dos and Don'ts for the Summer Before College

In just a few short weeks, you will be living completely on your own in a new place. Between now and then, you should obviously spend lots of time with your family and friends and eat your favorite sandwich as much as you can, but here are a few tips you probably haven't heard to help you get ready for this exciting/terrifying/life-changing/awesome transition.

1. Learn your school's sense of humor.
Most schools have blogs or other online publications that will let you in on your school's most frequently referenced "inside jokes" and other pieces of info that'll help you grasp the personality of your school's community. Your college's blog can also familiarize you with some popular vernacular used around campus. You might figure out some commonly abbreviated names of buildings or events which will help you avoid confusion when you arrive at school and hear people refer to a place by its nickname instead of the name they teach you during orientation.

2. Figure out your favorite microwavable foods.
This is crucial. You'll try to avoid it, but eventually you will be eating most of your meals out of the microwave. Use your summer to figure out which foods taste good out of a microwave (instant oatmeal, EZ mac), and which foods do not. (Microwavable White Castle sliders. Don't try them. I've taken the bullet for you.) You'll be glad to already have a go-to list of easy foods to prepare so that you don't have to spend your time and money on weeks of trial and error.

3. Get in the habit of waking up early.
Nobody wants to hear it, but it's vital to success in college. Whether or not you have a class early in the morning, its a great idea to be productive before lunch. You can get a head start on homework or exercise or just give yourself some waking time alone. Plus, completing tasks in the morning means less work at night, which will give you time to hang out with your friends. Starting this habit over the summer will make it much easier to continue come fall when your plate is filled with tons of other things.

4. Don't overdo it on dorm decorations before you get there.
I know, in the summer before college there is nothing more fun than scouring Pinterest for all the beautiful décor you're going to want for your room. But before you buy those furry bean bag chairs or that embroidered tapestry, you have to actually see the space you are going to have in your room. For now, keep it basic: bedding, lighting, desk accessories, storage. Anything else you can add once you get there.

5. DO come up with lots of fun ideas for decorations once you get to school.
This is where those Pinterest boards come in handy. Looking around the web for cool, easy ideas that will make your room feel more like you is a great idea. Whether it's how to turn your bed into a couch during the day, or a pretty way to hang your pictures above your desk, you'll definitely want to stock up on creative ways to make your room feel more like home.

6. Try not to judge the Facebook group.
Okay, I know that some of the posts in the Facebook group do not exactly reassure you that you've found the most normal group of people on the planet, but allow me to calm your nerves: Most of the ridiculous Facebook posts are written as a joke by students who already go to your school. So if you find yourself worrying that you may be randomly paired with the person who posted that they are nocturnal and have a carnivorous plant collection, relax, because that person most likely does not exist.

7. Take up a new hobby.
We've all heard that college is a time to discover who you are. An athlete discovers they're a painter, a science student develops a passion for literature, and an actor finds they want to devote the next four years to baking the perfect cookie. Even though college hasn't started yet, there's no reason to put off the self-exploration. Use the time between now and college to begin dabbling in hobbies you've never explored but have always been curious about. You may find something that sticks, and already knowing about the new interest before college will make it even easier to get involved once you arrive at school.

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