Before you throw your bags into your parents’ minivan, there are a few things to learn how to do before college officially starts. For many of you, it can feel like the carefree days of senior prom and graduation happened just days ago. But with fall right around the corner, those lazy days of lounging around with your besties will soon be replaced with cramming for college exams. Before you enter the Big Leagues, I’ve rounded up 10 things you need to learn how to do. Once you’ve got ‘em down, those wide-eyed fellow freshman will mistake you for a sophomore or junior!
This is one of the first –and most important– things to learn how to do before college. Not only will doing laundry allow you to have more outfit options in the morning, but it’ll also show everyone (read: parents) how mature you really are. They’ll be super impressed with your ability to take care of yourself and no heavy loads to carry home for you!
2. Basic Cooking
Reality check: as a broke college kid (your books will cost a small fortune), you’re not going to be able to order out every night. Investing in a cookbook and boxes of pasta, rice, and frozen goodies will curb your cravings after spending hours at the library.
3. Go without
Another difficult thing to learn how to do before starting college is skipping unnecessary splurges. For example, if the ‘rents send you a monthly check, don’t spend half of it at your favorite online clothing shop (guilty as charged). You’ll thank me when you have cash to spare for a dinner out with your new pals.
In high school, you probably got used to calling up your bestie to “collaborate” on math assignments. But in college, you’ll be on your own. With that said, never, ever plagiarize (this includes grabbing info from Wikipedia and not citing it). If you’re caught cheating, it will usually earn you an automatic failure, so if the workload is stressing you out, talk to your professor about it. Believe it or not, they’re human –and were once freshmen in college themselves!
5. Cure a Hangover
Almost as soon as college begins, the alcohol will start flowing. And though I don’t recommend drinking before you hit the legal age, chances are, you’re going to fill up that red plastic cup. Since hangovers are only second to finals in the list of things I would like to live without, you’ll want to know how to soothe your aching head. A hangover indicates that your body is dehydrated, so stock up on the Gatorade. Take an aspirin and drink at least two small bottles before class –it’s worked for me every time. Just stay away from the Diet Coke (I’ve made that rather unfortunate mistake).
6. Collect Coupons
One admittedly uncommon thing to learn how to do before starting college is couponing. No, it’s not just for stay at home moms and your grandfather! Clipping coupons and scoring deals will leave you money for small weekend getaways or that new cell phone you’ve been eyeing. Your friends will eat their words once they see what you can buy with all that extra cash.
7. Pull an All-Nighter
All-nighters are tough, but they can be done with the right iTunes playlist and a pot of coffee. Avoid the virtual black hole by turning off your cell and logging out of Facebook and Twitter. On a more positive note, your campus library will probably offer extended hours and classmates tend to form study groups before exams. Think of it as a chance to meet a few new people and it’ll be much more bearable. Just be prepared for napping between classes and studying all night once midterms arrive!
8. Craft a Resume/Cover Letter
A vital thing to learn how to do before starting college is write a compelling and professional cover letter and resume. Before you know it, it’ll be time to apply for part-time jobs and internships and you won’t want to be caught giving employers an e-mail address that starts with “xxbabieGEExx”. On-campus Career Services can help you revamp your resume and prepare you for interviews. You’ll be a working girl in no time!
9. Dress Well
Confession: when I started college, I brought my tracksuits and Ugg boots from high school with me. Though those were just fine for study sessions in the lounge, I didn’t exactly fit in with the put-together looks of the ladies in New York City. It took me two years to breathe new life into my wardrobe when, really, it should’ve taken two weeks. Instead of dropping cash on clothes from your hometown, go shopping once you arrive on campus to get a feel for the collective style of your school.
The last thing to learn how to do before starting college is make compromises. Get some practice in the next time your parents forbid you from going to that late-night movie. Since you can soon be living with a handful of other girls, there will be small spats and even large-scale fights. Finding a middle ground can be tough, but with the right mindset, you’ll make your college experience as amazing as possible!
These are 10 of the top things to learn how to do before starting college. Which tips will you follow? Do you have any to add?