Let me start with congratulations. You did it! You finished your finals, turned in your last papers and projects, and you’re ready to kick your feet up and watch the days roll by. Well, you deserve it.
Now, I don’t want to be a downer, but before you get too comfortable, let’s talk about your college plans. First, to all you new seniors, there’s a lot to consider right now. You get to start deciding where you want to apply to school.
Summer is a great time to start checking out campuses (i.e. dorms, commutes, and just getting a feel for things in general). You’d be amazed at how much it can help to be even a little familiar with a school when you’re running to your next class that first week in August (not that you would ever be late).
Definitely take advantage of your time this summer to physically go and check out schools. You might find a university that seems perfect for you on paper, but actually being there may give you a different impression.
Once you’ve got a few schools in mind, you get to move on to the fun* part (*note: This word is meant to be read sarcastically): applications! I’m gonna give it to you straight: Applications (for just about anything) are a pain in the butt. It’s long, tedious, and mind numbing. So, prepare yourself for the long haul as you dive into the whole process.
A few things to keep in mind while you’re tackling the dreaded entrance essays: Keep an air of professionalism, but don’t try too hard. There’s something to be said about a young, fresh voice. You’re not on the Board of Trustees, so no one’s expecting you to sound like it. Write with respect and perspective. Another thing is to be honest, and don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little. That doesn’t come easily to a lot of us, but your objective is to prove why you belong at the institution, so prove it to them.
A big part in this process is doing your research (If you want evidence as to why that’s so important, you can read about my own haphazard college adventure). Give yourself options, so you can have a little breathing room to make good, carefully thought out decisions.
Some of you have probably been through this whole process already and are sitting back to let the acceptance letters make their way to you (we know you’re great). If that’s the case, then we need to start planning for your first year at college!
If you’re moving into the dorms this fall, there’s usually some anxiety that comes with having someone you have never met before as a roommate. First of all, know that, like spiders, they’re probably just as afraid of you as you are of them. All you have to do is get to know them!
Generally, once things are settled by your school’s housing department, you will be able to see at least the name and current city of residence of your roommate. This is when being a millennial has its definite perks because they probably have a Facebook account. Don’t be afraid to look them up, let them know who you are, and send them a friend request. You can then start up a conversation to get to know them; and, you have a lot of ground to cover: everything from “What kind of music do you like?” to “What are your sleep patterns?” And, yes, it’s strange and a little awkward, but understandable. When you’re sleeping 3 feet away from each other, it’s better to be awkward than annoyed and angry.
You can even use that time to potentially coordinate buying larger appliances. For instance, one of you can get the fridge while the other takes care of the microwave and coffee maker. Having a good relationship and rapport with your roommate from the get-go could be the start of a great year for you.
With your immediate social life in good shape, let’s not forget the real reason you’re there: schoolwork. Once your class schedule is figured out, get organized! Make sure you know where you need to be and when you need to be there. Every semester I was in school, I always took the time to make myself a color-coded schedule in Excel. I understand that may be a little over the top for some people, but it was a huge help to me. Some days there was not enough coffee in the world to get my head on straight, and I needed to know where I was going next.
A big thing that would always throw me for a loop was classroom changes, and these are most definitely subject to happen. It just takes a simple online check to be sure you’re in the right place; no one wants to be the kid that has to get up and leave after the professor introduces him/herself. It’s easy to get turned around in a new place, but it’s just as easy to right yourself.
Well, Germies, you’ve worked hard this year (despite the senioritis, I’m sure), and you now have a well-deserved break. Just make sure you’re ready to start your new adventure this fall, and I know you’ll all be in good standing. Good luck! Now, go take a nap. You earned it.