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College 101

Checklist: Preparing for College
Article Type: Checklist

Congratulations on surviving high school! If you're reading this checklist, you're probably going to college in a few months. Take a look at how you should prepare. 

Get a reliable alarm clock

No, your phone does not count. How many times does it run out of battery just when you need to do something important? You can’t rely on such shoddy technology when you have a midterm at 8 AM. If you miss a test in college, there is no making it up, so make sure you get a clock that will wake you up even if you slip into a coma. Don’t count on your roommates to wake you up, even if they're just about to go to bed as you wake up.

Learn to cook and do your own laundry

This is the real deal people. It is the first time you will be living without your parents, so make sure you absorb every piece of precious knowledge you can from them.

If you aren’t already doing your own laundry, learn now! There’s nothing more embarrassing than having a giant pile of dirty clothes in your closet just because you don’t know how to load a washing machine. Bringing extra coins or finding somewhere you can get spare change is probably also a good idea. Plus, your future roommates won’t have to spend a fortune on Febreeze.

You don’t know how many times a midnight snack is going to come in handy, so at least learn some basic microwave culinary skills. Knowing how to cook can be a great skill to have when your cafeteria or local convenience store isn't open at 2 AM.

Get a homesickness vaccine

Even if you are going to college 15 minutes from home, you will get homesick. It is bound to happen. We're envious of those of you who don't. For whatever inexplicable reason, we actually end up missing the people we love and the place where we grew up. Who would have known? But you can prepare for the eventual feeling of homesickness that will come. Keep photos of your family and friends around. Call them. Video chat or Facetime them. Don’t rely on Facebook and texting for this communication. You might think that this would make you more homesick, but it will actually make you feel like you still have the connection and that's important. After all, you'll hopefully get to catch up with them again during breaks when you go home.

Get social

Even if you are a shy person, college is the best time to meet people. Think about it. There are thousands of other kids who are just like you, coming into a school where they maybe know some people, if any. Take advantage of the first few weeks to meet as many people as you can.

The great thing about college is that there are so many possibilities. You can pursue anything you want. If you are a music buff, there are acapella groups, public radio, bands, and music appreciation groups. If you’re a social butterfly, there are fraternities and sororities. Your reputation starts anew. College can allow you to form great social groups and to have the freedom to choose what those groups are, so don’t waste that opportunity!

Have fun

Despite what your parents are no doubt telling you about being an adult now, the responsibilities that come along with that mantle, there is still a special child-like freedom to being in college. Sure you can get arrested now and go to jail (since you're 18 now) and you should probably start thinking about things like a job and taxes, but there are opportunities you will have in college that you might never have again. Studying full-time, college sports, studying abroad, being young, and countless others. These are not things that you should take for granted and you should maximize your enjoyment of whatever you choose to do. That doesn’t mean you should stop going to classes just because the surf is great everyday and you love sitting out on the waves getting a great tan, but really integrate those moments into your new, responsible life.

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