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A Two-Step Plan: Must Do Before Your Freshman Year

When the excitement and bewilderment of the last year of high school has ebbed, after you and your fellow classmates have all walked across the gymnasium stage to receive your diplomas and the pages of your year book have been adorned with the autographs and well-wishes of your peers, what else is left except the lingering question that hangs in your head like an abandoned clothes hanger in an empty closet:

“What will I do now?”

Perhaps, though, this question does not linger in your mind and you have a plan for the encroaching summer. Maybe, you intend on taking one last vacation with your family. Maybe you plan on attending a summer school program, or perhaps you really haven’t planned much of anything at all, except to retreat to the sanctity of your room or the den to become a perpetual couch potato for the next three months, watching reruns of The Bachelor and Survivor.

However, there is actually a better way to spend the summer break, if you plan on taking it off, before returning to the classroom scene.

A Genius in the Making – A Plethora of Pre-Collegiate Ideas:

How prepared you are to re-enter a classroom once the summer holiday has ended will depend upon how astute you’ve remained while on break. Your freshman year of college should not come as a surprise to either you or your parents and it won’t be if you’ve spent enough time exploring options and staying informed on what is going on with the school you have selected. Probably the best way to ensure you have a fulfilling summer is to sit down either alone or with your parents and devise a summer before college checklist, where upon you write down a series of practical goals to achieve before embarking off to your first semester. Write down all of what you know needs to be done in order to prep for your first year of college, then add some fun items so you won’t end up getting burned out with the “responsible” tasks.

For example, a generalized summer before college checklist might look something like this.

  • Earn own income by working a summer job
  • Attend the orientation of the college I chose
  • Read any assigned books for summer reading
  • Get housing information for your campus
  • Attend a pre-college event or program
  • Do something educational and informative during the summer
  • Take up a new hobby or interest
  • Spend quality time with friends and family

The Checklist (Phase II) – Getting down to the Heart of the Matter

Once you’ve established an outline for the itinerary of your summer plans, then it is time to put those plans into action. From the checklist, you can start forming ideas as to just what you will be doing in more detail. For starters, you could make another list of all of the things or places you’ve been wanting to do or see, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

Try something new over your summer break. If you haven’t been camping or gone hiking or horseback riding, then do so. You could also take up a new hobby such as quilting or computer animation if you’re more of the techie type.

Some fun things to do before college might be going on a road trip with your friends or starting a scrapbook.

If you’re looking for more options on what to do with your summer, the internet is chalked full of extracurricular activities that might inspire the adventurer inside you.

Another fun idea would be to start thinking about what you might need for your new dorm room if you’re staying on campus. Shopping for new supplies and furniture for a room can be exciting, but if you’re stumped on where to begin and like shopping online, there is a really cool site called American Made Dorm & Home that has some really cute bedding and furniture to accommodate all of your college dorm needs.

Back to the Books: When the Time Finally comes to Return to the Classroom

On top of the fun things to do before college starts, there are also other options for using your summer months so that you stay sharp mentally and are prepared when your professor gives you that first pop quiz. Summer before college programs are a great way to stay in shape not only in the mind. Of course, this might mean that you have to create yet another list for such instances, but educating yourself with pre-college programs before you set foot inside a classroom is a good way to stay ahead of the game, and in many instances, you can get college credit for what you accomplish.


  9. Photo credit to Honeybee vintage

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