By Kelsey Mulvey
Being a high schooler is very different from being in college. Believe it or not, some of your current study habits could hinder your life in college. So how do you know if your habits are not college-approved? Check out our top high school habits you should break before you step on campus.
1. Not studying for tests
For many pre-collegiettes, high school exams were a breeze—you barely studied and still made the honor roll. Glancing at your study guide may be working out for you now, but college exams tend to be more difficult. So why not change your studying rituals before you receive your first college syllabus? “You want to start with a strong GPA, so you don’t have to explain bad grades from your first two years when you apply to grad school,” says Roxanna Coldiron, a senior at Hiram College. Let’s not forget that having a low GPA is bad news in general—applying to scholarships, internships and jobs won’t be easy if you’re flunking math…and bio…and sociology.
Most pre-collegiettes don’t love writing outlines and creating flashcards, but we can assure you that all the hard work will pay off. If traditional studying rituals bore you to tears, get creative by taking breaks or rewarding yourself after a night of hard work. Knowing how to prepare for an exam can prevent you from pulling a counterproductive all-nighter or bombing your first test.
2. Eating Junk Food 24/7
Pop-Tarts for breakfast; chips and French onion dip for lunch; pizza for dinner, and of course there’s dessert. Does this sound familiar? Though you may love munching on whatever’s available, greasy and delicious, a collegiette’s first year at school is almost synonymous with the dreaded freshman fifteen. Your love of junk food combined with an unlimited dining plan and somehow having that late night pizza place on speed dial is a disaster waiting to happen. Indulging in your favorite treat is inevitable; however, adopting some healthy habits before you head to college will help you avoid unwanted pounds. We’re not saying you should go gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan (unless you need to for medical reasons)—we all need a cupcake or a juicy burger every now and then. However, we do suggest that you start making healthy choices, which can be as easy as swapping that bag of chips for an apple or drinking water instead of soda (yes, even diet soda). Before you know it, you’ll be craving something delicious and nutritious!
3. Sticking to the “high school uniform”
No, we’re not talking about actual uniforms. Instead of donning an ensemble that reflects their personal styles, many collegiettes sport jeans, a hoodie and comfortable, yet unstylish, boots…everyday. Believe it or not, dressing like a collegiette is very different from dressing like a pre-collegiette. College is the time to discover who you really are, and that includes finding your own style. Though you don’t need to turn into a mini Man Repeller, it’s time to sport some new pieces. Start your personal style search by creating a Pinterest board of looks that you like. Whether you treat yourself to a mini shopping spree or steal your big sister’s clothes (we won’t tell if you don’t), look for items that reflect your Pinterest board. If for some reason the look isn’t flattering, it’s back to the drawing board (literally). Once you take a couple of fashion risks, you’ll be more open to trying new trends. It looks like there’ll be a new fashionista on your campus!
4. Not reading your class’s assigned books
So maybe you didn’t actually read Great Expectations, but the Spark Notes version is good enough, right? Wrong. We hate to burst your bubble, but the amount of reading only intensifies once you’re in college. And we’re almost positive that you won’t get an ‘A’ on that college literature class if you only read the summaries. Instead of watching that new episode of Pretty Little Liars, take some time to actually read the book—you can always watch PLL online later! Plus, you can wow all your new friends with your literary expertise!
5. Relying on your parents to clean up after you
We love our parents for a number of reasons: they’re our number one (and two) fans, they helped us with our math homework when long division was a challenge and they have always been there to…clean up after us. Even though they give you a slew of chores, you know they fold your clothes and clean your dishes when they think you’re not looking. Though having your personal wait staff sounds like a dream come true, your parents won’t be there to wash your dishes or do your laundry once you’re a collegiette. Instead of accidentally shrinking your favorite dress or having some creepy mildew grow in your coffee mug (ew), start cleaning up after yourself now. If you’re a domestic novice, don’t be afraid to ask your parents for some help—it’s also a great way to squeeze in some pre-college bonding time!
6. Being too shy to make new friends
Perhaps you’re not one to make new friends in your biology class or join a new club all by yourself. We know what you’re thinking: why would you need to unleash your inner social butterfly when you already have a solid group of friends? As fabulous as your pre-collegiette friends are, they won’t be there once you step on campus. Think of widening your social circle in high school as practice for when you meet people at college. Branching out can be as easy as striking up conversation with your lab partner. But what are you supposed to talk to your high school’s token jock about (especially if you don’t know the difference between offense and defense)? College! Simply asking your new friend what he or she wants to major in will break the proverbial ice. If you can start conversation with someone you’ve known (but were never friends with) since kindergarten, meeting new people in college a lot easier.